A generous-minded leader; a superb military strategist; or an opportunistic villain: all these interpretatons – and more – may be brought to bear on Richard III, one of the most controversial monarchs in history.


The English Music Festival has recently commissioned four new works from some of the UK’s foremost composers which use as their inspiration the life and historical perspectives of Richard III. We plan to produce a DVD of performances of these works, which will be shot in in the Church of St Mary and St Alkeda in Middleham – the church at which Richard III himself worshipped during his periods of residence at Middleham Castle. The film will also incorporate extended materials, including interviews with the composers and footage of the church and town with its Richard III associations.


We have been very fortunate in the backing of a donor who has pledged to match the funds we raise through the generosity of supporters and subscribers. Please can you help us to make this happen by donating to the campaign?


To pledge your support, please visit the DISC SUBSCRIPTIONS page of this website. Alternatively, please send a cheque, made payable to The English Music Festival, to Em Marshall-Luck, Director, EM Records, Suite M 0222, 265–269 Kingston Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 3NW. Please write ‘Richard III DVD’ on the back of the cheque.


Join us on Friday 2 September for the launch of one of the most exciting and important discs we have yet made: ‘Now Comes Beauty’, a double-disc set incorporating new commissions from The English Music Festival. Featuring works by Richard Blackford, Paul Carr, Matthew Curtis, Philip Lane, Paul Lewis, David Owen Norris, John Pickard and Christopher Wright, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland and Owain Arwel Hughes and with soloists Rupert Marshall-Luck, David Owen Norris and Roderick Williams, this new recording presents the scintillating and the thought-provoking alongside the lyrical and the atmospheric.


The launch event will be held in the Recital Room at Schott’s in central London and will include a panel discussion featuring composers and artists. Tickets, which cost £15.00 (to include refreshments), are available from the EVENTS TICKETS page, on the door, or by sending a cheque for the correct amount and made payable to ‘EMF Endeavours’ to: Em Marshall-Luck, Suite M 0222, 265–269 Kingston Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 3NW.


EM Records is delighted to announce the release of another recording from the Bridge Quartet, who appear alongside the internationally acclaimed pianist Michael Dussek and the tenor Charles Daniels.


This CD commemorates and celebrates the talents of a golden generation of English lyricists through the voices of the greatest song-writer composers of the era. The lives of two of these, George Butterworth and Ivor Gurney, remain inextricably linked to the catastrophic 1914-18 conflict played out over the fields of Flanders. The poignancy of their songs comprise an intimate journal, encapsulating moods of innocence and naivety, transience and despair epitomised by the poetry of Housman and Gurney’s 1919 song cycle ‘Ludlow and Teme’.


The Bridge Quartet also introduces two World Première recordings. Butterworth’s miniaturist Suite for String Quartet (1910) is a eulogy to the ‘untouchable England’ before the First World War, but also a perfectly expressed prophetic warning from a young man extinguished in his prime. Gurney’s epic nine-minute Adagio (1925) is a moving threnody from a survivor trying bravely to express in music the pain of living on with the consequences of what he encountered.


Audio samples and a full track listing are available here; and the disc may be purchased directly from EM Records by visiting our PURCHASE page.


In recent months we have recorded three more discs which are planned for issue later this year. In March we visited a tiny and isolated but beautiful church in the Yorkshire Dales for a solo-violin disc with fiendishly virtuosic music by Elgar, Tovey and Albert Sammons; and the following month we set down on disc the complete music for violin and piano by Hubert Parry, which we recorded at Potton Hall. This was a thrilling project, not least because the manuscripts of several previously unknown works by Parry turned up in the Bodleian just days before our recording. Thankfully, we were able to transcribe them in time and include them on the recording – which, it now appears, will be a triple disc set.


Last month we returned to Watford Colosseum to record Cowen’s Symphony no.5 and the magnificent Concerto for Violin and Cello by Percy Sherwood with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Andrews, and with violinist Rupert Marshall-Luck and cellist Joseph Spooner. The Sherwood is a big-boned, substantial, intense, passionate and romantic work, bursting with energy and vigour, which dates from the early years of the twentieth century. It was given its première performance at the 2016 English Music Festival, at which it was clear both from the highly virtuosic performance, and the reception with which the work was accorded (including a spontaneous round of applause at the end of the first movement), that its erstwhile neglect has been wholly unjustified, and that we have discovered a truly romantic masterpiece.


Our next recording takes place in September at which we will be recording the spectacular and moving pieces that the English Music Festival commissioned for performance at our Yorkshire Autumn Festival last year from the composers Paul Carr, Paul Lewis, Richard Pantcheff, Lionel Sainsbury and Francis Pott. Each of these works uses as its inspiration the life and historical perspectives of Richard III; so it is especially fitting that the recording will be made in the church that Richard III himself attended during his periods of residence at Middleham Castle.
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.