EM Records is delighted to announce the release of “La Belle Dame” World Première recordings of turn-of-the-century English Romanticism.


In the decades either side of the death of Queen Victoria, British composers were delighting their audiences whilst also searching for their voices in a world where Romanticism was opening out into the ever-greater harmonic and dramatic possibilities that the twentieth century would bring. This disc brings together some of the most vibrant works of those decades, incredibly all in World Première recordings, with Roderick Williams giving voice to a tradition of large-scale vocal scenes with orchestra that has, sadly, all but disappeared. Passionate and radiant and haunting works by Gustav Holst, Frederick Delius, and Cyril Scott are complemented by the urbane wit of Roger Quilter’s setting of “The Faithless Shepherdess” and the stormy turbluence of Havergal Brian’s “Legend”, performed in a new orchestration by Rupert Marshall-Luck. This is a recording that promises to enchant.


“La Belle Dame” (EMR CD085) is now available for purchase by following this link. For more details, including audio extracts, please visit this page.


The masque ‘The Vision of Dame Christian’ was composed in 1909 for the girls of St Paul’s Girls’ School (SPGS), of which the composer Gustav Holst was Director of Music; the words were written by the High Mistress at the time, Miss Gray. Dame Christian was the mother of John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and founder of St Paul’s School. The masque tells of Dame Christian’s vision for the future of her son’s school and the subsequent founding of the Girls’ School. Holst referred to this masque as “the Masque of St Paul’s Girls’ School” and mentioned that "I value this very highly… it contains my best tune — a solemn march.”


The piece has never been recorded, and we consider that, given the inseparable links with SPGS, it should be recorded at the school and should feature the girls themselves. EM Records therefore proposes to make a recording of this work that fulfils these stipulations and with the current Director of Music of SPGS as the conductor. To maintain the very highest artistic standards, we will also be engaging the London Mozart Players. As well as ‘The Vision of Dame Christian’, the disc will include other works strongly associated with SPGS: ‘St Paul’s Suite’, ‘Brook Green Suite’, the ‘Gavotte’ (which Holst withdrew from the ‘Brook Green Suite’), ‘Seven Choruses from the Alcestis of Euripides’ and ‘The Playground Song’.


The costs of making such a recording, however, will be very high, given the engagement of the London Mozart Players, and in order for the production values to meet EM Records’s high standards. We anticipate costs of £18,000 and we urgently need help to enable us to meet these. We are therefore inviting individuals to subscribe to the disc, and we would be hugely grateful to anyone who can help us in this way. Please visit this page for more details, including a list of benefits.


We are currently working on a new website for EM Records which we expect to be available later this year (2024). The site will have a responsive design — meaning that it will be easier to use on mobile devices — and will also feature a cleaner layout, improved typography, and a more streamlined purchasing process, including the facility to add a disc to the shopping cart directly from its ‘Details’ page. Naturally, a complete overhaul to the website such as this represents will take time to complete; but, in the meantime, please be assured that the current site will remain in service until the new one is ready.


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Beautifully shaped by Benjamin Frith... Beguiling sounds, graced by the tawny richness and unexaggerated line of Richard Jenkinson’s cello playing... The sense of purpose and sureness of line of Ian Venables’ music is pure oxygen.
Exquisitely rewarding... Ravishing accounts.
This is music of great beauty and integrity and the performances fully do it justice. It would be criminal to let it pass you by.


The Bridge Quartet approach these pieces with a sympathetic and insightful warmth, and confirm their ambassadorial credentials for British chamber music. A lovely, radiant disc.
EMR CD025 | Gramophone
Duncan Honeybourne’s playing is astonishingly affectionate, yet never saccharine... Honeybourne plays with suave confidence.
Rupert Marshall-Luck is an ideal interpreter: generously but not effusively lyrical; agile and athletic... The warm, folk-song like slow movement is at times almost painfully beautiful, with a shimmering pastoral central section... Marshall-Luck is, again, indefatigable and keenly picks up on the work’s melancholic strain.  Finely recorded and with comprehensive booklet notes, this is a must for fans of 20th-century English repertoire.