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Old Friends Reunited in Choral Classics Concert at Chelmsford Cathedral

Sixty years after their deaths in 1958, friends Martin Shaw, the first President of Friends of Cathedral Music, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, will be celebrated at a ‘Choral Classics’ on Saturday 23rd June at Chelmsford Cathedral. Two anthems by Hubert Parry, who was the men’s tutor at the Royal College of Music, will also feature.

James Davy, Master of the Choristers at Chelmsford Cathedral, said “It is a marvelous opportunity to bring together these three English composers. Martin Shaw was Advisor of Music to the whole Diocese of Chelmsford, so holds a special place in our hearts. We often sing hymn tunes and smaller works by Martin Shaw, and it’s good to have the opportunity to explore more of his choral music which is rather unjustly neglected.”

Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw became life-long friends when students at the Royal College of Music; they went on to work as music editors for the popular Anglican hymn books The English Hymnal and Songs of Praise, as well as The Oxford Book of Carols.  Shaw’s own Advent carol, Hills of the North Rejoice!  will feature in the concert, together with the popular anthem With a Voice of Singing.  Much of Shaw’s choral music has yet to be recorded, so it will be especially exciting to hear God’s Grandeur, commissioned in 1948 by his admirer Benjamin Britten for the first Aldeburgh Festival.

Martin Shaw, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears at the first Aldeburgh Festival

Martin Shaw, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Canon Briggs at Worcester in 1935.