The website for Dr Martin Shaw OBE FRCM (1875 –1958)

" ...cursed be the congregations, choirmasters and organists who do not listen to Martin!"

Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1955



black and white photo o Martin Shaw looking into the distance superimposed on a field of yellow flowers

Discover the intriguing life and music of Dr Martin Shaw, possibly the most prolific composer of his day. One of a bohemian set of Chelsea artists and actors at the dawn of the 20th Century, he was Director of Music for the tragic Isadora Duncan, influenced the emergent 'Englishness' of music at the time; composed for people from all walks of life: for a choir of 400 singers to professional soloists to small children; was admired by his fellow composers and, at the end of his life, the young Benjamin Britten, who asked him to compose a piece for the first Aldeburgh Festival.


  • Appreciations by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Erik Routley and Shaw's daughter Elizabeth Montgomery Campbell
  • Republication of 'Up to Now' and Shaw's handbook on 'The Principles of English Church Music Composition'
  • 100 letters to and from Martin Shaw. Correspondents include Ralph Vaughan Williams, T S Eliot, Benjamin Britten, Edward Gordon Craig, Maude Royden and many others.
  • A full and complete Catalogue of Works with three Indexes

Newly Available from Cramer Music:

Water Folk – A Song Sequence for Baritone, String Quartet and Piano

Composed for the Three Choirs Festival, Worcester, 1932. Words by Heinrich Heine (1797-
1856) it has three movements: (I) The Stranger, (II) The Meeting,(III) Poseidon (30 mins approx)

Written for the Three Choirs Festival, it had its first performance that year in Worcester. Elgar took a great interest in the piece, writing to Shaw to let him know it had arrived safely from the publishers. Elgar also paid for Shaw to stay at his club in Worcester for the duration of the Festival.

Peter Maxwell of Cramer Music says: "Playing the first movement back of Water Folk “The Stranger” [I saw] that it was like a Britten style or certainly that kind of instrumental combination. Britten was obviously influenced by Martin Shaw! ...I can certainly see this coupled in with a Britten and/or V.W. concert."

Songs from The Airmen: Songs originally published with Cramer on the CD are available to singers as archive copies from Cramer published Shaw's songs from 1923 onwards.



The following three works have been re-orchestrated, and are now available on request:

Sursum Corda, available from Music Sales, was composed in 1933 with words written specially by Laurence Binyon. (15 mins)

Easter, a play for singers: is also available through Music Sales. Inspired by the medieval mystery plays, the play was written in 1929 with words by John Masefield. Set outside Christ's tomb in the early hours of Easter morning it has solo parts for twelve singers ,together with a double choir of angels. (30 mins)

The Changing Year is now available from Stainer and Bell. A secular cantata, written for the Festival of Britain in 1951, it was first performed at Colchester. As with Shaw's oratorio The Redeemer, the words are chosen from the canon of English verse by Shaw's wife, Joan Cobbold. (45 mins).


Recording made in 1975 by the Broadheath Singers with the Winsor Sinfonia, conducted by Robert Tucker. Full recording available on request.