Ralph Vaughan Williams/ SAMPLE FROM RECENT Vienna Modern Masters-CDs






















Ralph Vaughan Williams

was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music and film scores. Though born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, Vaughan Williams never took it for granted and worked all his life for the democratic and egalitarian ideals in which he believed. When Vaughan Williams discovered English folk songs and carols, they were fast becoming extinct owing to the oral tradition through which they existed being undermined by the increase of literacy and printed music in rural areas. He travelled the countryside, transcribing and preserving many, himself. Later he incorporated some songs and melodies into his own music, being fascinated by the beauty of the music and its anonymous history in the working lives of ordinary people. His efforts did much to raise appreciation of traditional English folk song and melody. Ravel, with whom he studied in Paris, described Vaughan Williams as the only one of his pupils who did not write music like Ravel. He is a central figure in British music because of his long career as teacher, lecturer and friend to so many younger composers and conductors. His writings on music remain thought-provoking, particularly his oft-repeated call for all persons to make their own music, however simple, as long as it is truly their own. Vanghan Williams was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.

On Wenlock Edge was composed in 1908-09 soon after Vaughan Williams had completed a period of study with Ravel. The piece was scored for tenor. piano and string quartet. The first performance of the original version took place on November 15, 1909 at the Aeolian Hall, London. Geographically, Wenlock Edge is a limestone escarpment near Much Wettlock, in Shropshire, England and it said to be haunted by several historical and intitmous ghosts. The texts of the six songs used in On Wenlock Edge are taken from A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad, a collection of 63 poems originally entitled The Poems of Terence Hearsay, the central character in the volume. These six poems deal with the untimely death of the young man and his initial confusion. denial and ultimate acceptance of it. Drawn to the people and places from his life, he tries to speak to the living from across the divide.

Robert Wagner, a native of New Orleans, made his professional debut with The New Orleans Opera Company during his studies at Loyola University, singing supporting roles for three seasons with such artists as Renato Capecchi, Diana Soviero, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Carlo Bergonzi, Christina Deutekom, Victor Braun and Siegfred Jerusalem. After studying for a double major in Jazz Studies on string bass and classical voice, he was then awarded full scholarships to The Curtis Institute of Music and to The Juilliard School in New York City. Upon receiving his Masters Degree from Curtis, he was invited to sing for Pope John Paul II, at the Vatican in Rome, and was also given the opportunity to work with Mstro. Carlo Bergonzi. He then attended The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Later in New York City, he made his debut with The New York Choral Arts Society and was also invited to sing for the Kennedy family. After this, he appeared along with artists of The New York Metropolitan Opera in an all-Verdi Concert at The International Verdi Festival in Busseto, Italy. While living in New York City he worked with many important soloists including Jerome Hines and James King. He then made his debut in Tosca with The New Jersey State Opera before moving to Europe to live, study and perform. He has since appeared with The Vienna State Opera, The Vienna Volksoper as well as The Neuer Oper Wien. He has also made his Paris debut at The Opera Bastille in Die Meistersinger. Since living in Vienna, Mr. Wagner has regularly appeared with The Seefestspiele in Moerbisch and with The Salzburger Festspiele. The Austrian composer Johanna Doderer chose him for her opera Strom in which he sang the leading role of Bote. He is also on the newly released recording of the opera Hamlet composed by Nancy Van de Vate, on the Vienna Modern Masters label. This new solo recording entitled “Love Beyond Death” appeared on the same label in 2012.