This spring sees the launch of a new record label devoted exclusively to English music – EM Records – whose debut album includes two major world-première recordings.

The Violin Sonatas by Arthur Bliss and Henry Walford Davies have languished in manuscript form for over 100 years. They were both given their première concert performances by Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard at the 2010 English Music Festival in Oxfordshire, and were given a rapturous reception by an enthralled Festival audience. EM Records presents these two passionate and heartfelt Sonatas alongside the opulent and darkly turbulent Violin Sonata by York Bowen.

The new record company has been set up in association with the English Music Festival (

The company’s Managing Director, Em Marshall (also founder of the English Music Festival), describes the mission of EM Records as “fulfilling the EMF’s goal of celebrating and preserving neglected works by British composers, especially those from the early years of the twentieth century – the ‘golden renaissance’ of English music.”

She says the company “will release a mixture of live recordings from the Festival together with studio recordings, giving listeners the chance to experience the fullest possible range of the EMF’s work. In keeping with the unique spirit of the Festival each disc released by EM Records will contain at least one world première recording. We want to ensure that no English works worthy of hearing are ever again left unavailable to listeners.”

EM Records is a ground-breaking enterprise, presenting repertoire that, though previously unrecorded, is vital, vivid and powerful; and, through its commitment to this endeavour, complements the pioneering work of a leading and internationally-acclaimed Festival.

Plans are already underway for future releases. These include the World Première recording of Gustav Holst’s The Coming of Christ (which received its first contemporary performance in the 2010 EMF) performed by the City of London Choir under Hilary Davan Wetton; and a recording of Roger Quilter’s piano music, performed by David Owen Norris. Also forthcoming is a live recording, to be made at the 2011 Festival, of part-songs by Rawsthorne, Haydn Wood, Robin Milford, Finzi and Holst, performed by the Syred Consort under their conductor, Ben Palmer.


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