Welcome

Welcome to the Betty Roe Society web site; dedicated to the works of English composer, Betty Roe MBE. 

All in the Golden Afternoon : Songs by Betty Roe

All in the Golden Afternoon CoverBetty Roe MBE is one of Britain's finest composers of English Song.  She has composed over 200 songs but the majority, particularly those composed since 1990, remain unrecorded.  The Betty Roe Society wishes to address this by making a professional, world premiere recording of 12 significant works.

You can help this project by making a donation to the Betty Roe Society to cover the cost of the recording.  In exchange, you will receive;

  • donations over £20: A CD copy of the recording
  • donations over £80: The CD plus an exclusive printed volume containing the sheet music of all 12 works
  • donations over £200: The CD and sheet music plus an invitation to the launch party with the opportunity to meet the artists and hear some of the music performed live

For more information please see our Kickstarter page;

Kickstarter: All in the Golden Afternoon

or contact;

CDProject [at] bettyroesociety [dot] org [dot] uk

(replacing the words in square brackets with the usual email symbols).

The Team

The Society has secured the services of some of the UK's best musicians including;

  • Stephen Varcoe (baritone) the Society's President
  • Sarah Leonard (soprano)
  • Robin Tritschler (tenor) A BBC new generation artist
  • Madeleine Mitchell (violin) who recently premiered David Matthews' Romance
  • Lowri Blake ('cello)
  • Nigel Foster (piano) Director of the London Song Festival and one of the most sought after accompanists

The sessions will be recorded and edited by Simon Bishop, one of the UK's finest sound engineers.

The Songs

The audio extracts have been computer generated but should show you the variety and melodic nature of Betty Roe's compositions.

Title

Notes

Audio Sample

All in the Golden Afternoon

A setting of Lewis Caroll for soprano, flute, ‘cello and piano.  The text is a prologue to Alice in Wonderland and describes the lazy boat ride that lead to the creation of the book.

 

To Live Merrily

Words by Robert Herrick set for two sopranos, flute, viola and piano

 

In a Garden

Words by Swinburne set for high voice and piano.  This delightful song was written in 1999 for the birth of the composer's great grandson.

 

Autumn’s Legacy

Words by Lewis Foreman, set for high voice and piano.  A man in autumn casts his mind back to Spring.

 

The Fair Singer

Words by Andrew Marvell set for tenor and piano.  An ardent love song.

  

Magnificat (for Grace)

Words from the Book of Common Prayer set for mezzo-soprano and piano.  Roe takes a dramatic approach to the text giving us Mary's response to the annunciation.

  

Three Hardy Conversations

Words by Thomas Hardy set as duets for mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano.  We meet three sets of characters; a wife with a drunken husband, a farmer planning his funeral and an old maid.  Roe's music highlights both the humour and pathos of the texts.

  

Three Songs for Graham

Words by Marian Lines set for baritone and piano.  The music ranges from an expansive landscape for the dream house, though the practical musings on gardening and the weather to a jolly number about the benefits of owning a scooter.

 

Two Garden Songs

Words by Matthew Arnold and anonymous set for soprano, violin and piano.  Roe's music evokes the rustling trees of Kensington Gardens.  In The Critic the music underlines the comeuppance of an opinionated seedling.

 

The Silver Hound

Words by Ursula Vaughan Williams set for tenor, horn and piano.  This will form the most substantial work on the disc.  Roe's music creates an integrated sound world for the "seven ages" text with the horn adding stirring and melancholy notes.

 

The Life that I Have

Words from the film Carve her Name with Pride set for medium voice, flute and piano.

 

Three Celtic Songs

Settings of words by Irish poets for medium voice, recorder and piano.  The music creates a gentle lullaby, a boisterous teenager and a Fiddler of Dooney whose tune is heard fading into the distance.