Vaughan Williams: Ten Blake Songs

This page lists all recordings of Ten Blake Songs, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) on CD, SACD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

For voice and oboe.

Infant Joy; A Poison Tree; The Piper; London (oboe tacet); The Lamb; The Shepherd (oboe tacet); Ah! Sunflower; Cruelty has a human heart; The Divine Image (oboe tacet); Eternity. Eight of these songs were used for the film. The Vision of William Blake, produced in commemoration of the bicentenary of Blake's birth in 1957.

Dedication: To Wilfred Brown and Janet Craxton.

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Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & Ten Blake Songs

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge & Ten Blake Songs


The End

Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais)

Britten Sinfonia (members), Jacqueline Shave

Vaughan Williams:

On Wenlock Edge

Britten Sinfonia (members), Huw Watkins (piano)

Ten Blake Songs

Nicholas Daniel (oboe)


The Curlew

Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais)

Britten Sinfonia (members), Jacqueline Shave

Mark Padmore (tenor)

Fresh from his triumph in the Glyndebourne 'Billy Budd', star tenor Mark Padmore is joined by members of Britten Sinfonia in 3 quintessentially British song-cycles: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 'On Wenlock Edge', with pianist Huw Watkins; 'Ten Blake Songs' with oboist Nicholas Daniel; and Peter Warlock’s best-known work, 'The Curlew'. 'The End' by Jonathan Dove (a co-commission by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall) receives its world première recording here.

British composer Jonathan Dove (b. 1959) made the following remarks on the genesis of his new work, 'The End' (2012), with support from the 'Tenner for a Tenor' campaign.

"When I heard Mark Strand read his poem ‘The End’ to a small gathering of artists in Italy a few years ago, I was moved – and also felt immediately that it was a poem that could be sung. I hoped that one day I might have the chance to set it to music. I did not know exactly what the music would sound like, but I imagined a solo voice with several instruments.

Britten Sinfonia gave me the opportunity to make this wish come true, by inviting me to write something for Mark Padmore to sing, with instrumentation to match Warlock’s 'The Curlew'. String quartet with two solo wind instruments seemed the perfect combination to suggest the gentle rocking motion of the ship slipping into darkness, and perhaps hear birds suspended in flight."

“This is a reflective, beautifully delivered recital of English song much concerned with death, its nature well suited to this tenor’s mellifluously lyrical, emotionally intense music-making.” Sunday Times, 29th September 2013

“This is an extremely fine disc. Mark Padmore’s singing is technically beyond reproach and his eloquence is telling in all four works on the programme. At every turn he finds superb partners in the members of Britten Sinfonia...this new release is one of the finest discs of English song to have come my way in a long time.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2013

“Dove's musical nightscape shifts slowly and slightly...The same vocal simplicity and white timbre that chafes so tellingly at the smugness of Blake's Innocence poems (aided there by exquisite solo oboe) also works well here for Padmore, never blurring the clarity of the composer's melodic architecture.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Edge, rather than lyrical elegance, is Mark Padmore's expressive strength, combined with his superb diction...I've never heard [the Blake Songs] come across so convincingly...Lavish praise too for the wonderful playing of the Britten Sinfonia...I shall be coming back to this.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

“Many of Blake’s finest, most condensed verse utterances are here, Innocence and Experience nestling side by side: darkness is ever-present, as we move for instance from the Sunflower- and then to the comforting ‘Divine Image’. Ten Blake Songs is a bleak masterpiece and Padmore and Daniel are exceptional… This fine release earns plaudits on every front” International Record Review, November 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Solo Vocal

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Harmonia Mundi - HMU807566


Normally: $14.00

Special: $11.20

(also available to download from $11.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Vaughan Williams: Songs

Vaughan Williams: Songs

Vaughan Williams:

Merciless Beauty

Searching for Lambs

Ten Blake Songs

Along the Field

On Wenlock Edge

The Lawyer

“The programme here has an identity of its own and as such is without competitors. Its 'theme' is to collect those of Vaughan Williams's songs which have something other than piano accompaniment.
On Wenlock Edge (1909) is for voice, piano and string quartet, Merciless Beauty (1921) with string trio, Along the Field (1927) and TwoEnglish Folksongs (published 1935 but of earlier date) voice and violin, and the Blake songs (1957) with oboe. Eligible for inclusion might have been Four Hymns (1914) with piano and viola, and perhaps The Willow Whistle (1939) for voice and pipe. The Three Vocalises of 1958, with clarinet, are specifically for soprano, but show the composer's continuing taste for such combinations right into the last year of his life. John Mark Ainsley sings with the sense of a civilised personal utterance, refined and restrained, yet capable of full-bodied tone and a ringing forte when needed: the cry 'O noisy bells, be dumb' is as emotional as an operatic climax and all the more effective for the exceptional frankness of its release. These are highly demanding pieces, the voice unremittingly exposed. He brings to them a fine poise, in breathing, phrasing, expression and the even emission of quite beautiful tone. He has also the considerable advantage of exceptional players to work with.
Individually admirable, they combine in OnWenlock Edge to give an unusually imaginative performance.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Building a Library

First Choice - March 2001

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - CDA67168


Normally: $15.25

Special: $11.89

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Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto

Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto

Vaughan Williams:

Oboe Concerto in A minor

Ten Blake Songs

Andreas Weller (tenor)

Household Music

Version for oboe & string trio

Emily Körner (violin), Paul Pesthy (viola), Ansgar Schneider (cello)

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Lajos Lencses (oboe)

Budapest Strings, Béla Báinfalvi

The oboe concerto has mercurial moods and long sinuous melodic lines. The Ten Blake Songs were composed for a 1958 documentary film, The Vision of William Blake. The Tallis Fantasia is one of Vaughan Williams’ most celebrated compositions and was written in 1910 for the Three Choirs Festival. The composer revised it in 1913 and 1919.

Capriccio - C5035



(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Vaughan Williams & Warlock

Vaughan Williams & Warlock

Vaughan Williams:

Four Hymns

Merciless Beauty

The Water Mill

The New Ghost

Ten Blake Songs

On Wenlock Edge


Capriol Suite

Neville Dilkes


The Curlew

Bethlehem Down

I saw a fair maiden


Where riches is everlastingly

The Shrouding of the Duchess of Malfi

The Lady's Birthday

Pretty Ring Time

Autumn Twilight

Captain Stratton's Fancy

“Classic 1970s recordings by the Partridge siblings, and such luminaries as Janet Craxton. On Wenlock Edge - chamber version - still sounds excellent, while the Warlock disc is distinctly special.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2010 *****

Warner Classics British Composers - 9689392

Download only from $12.00

Available now to download.

Vaughan Williams: Ten Blake Songs, etc.


Full Moon

Ridout, A:

Three Sonnets of Cecil Day Lewis


Elegy on the Death of Cock Robin

Vaughan Williams:

Ten Blake Songs

Linden Lea


My Own Country


James Bowman (counter-tenor), Paul Goodwin (oboe d'amore), Tina Grunberg (violin)

Downshire Players of London, Peter Ash

Meridian - CDE84158



Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.

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