An album of less well-known works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, performed by Mark Bebbington and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is due to be released by Resonus Classics on 9 December 2022.

This will be British pianist Mark Bebbington’s third recording for Resonus Classics and will include an almost totally neglected orchestral work, the Fantasia (Quasi Variazione) on the Old 104th, for solo piano, choir and orchestra. Bebbington is joined by the City of London Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor, Hilary Davan Wetton.

“It’s a fascinating work, full of musical and philosophical contradictions”, said Bebbington; “The choir and orchestra proclaim the spiritual certainties of the 104th Psalm text, but the piano in three massive solo cadenzas, speaks a language of uncertainty and ambivalence with piano writing that draws on Busoni and late Beethoven – but it is essentially entirely unto itself in its startling originality.”

Coupled with the 104th Fantasia are Vaughan Williams’s early Piano Quintet of 1904 and the Romance for viola and piano, (the viola being the composer’s favourite instrument), and the evergreen The Lark Ascending in its original 1914 version for violin and piano.

The recording marks the first in 50 years of the 104th Fantasia and the only recording of the Piano Quintet and Romance during RVW150, the international celebration of the composer and his music in this his 150th anniversary year.

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