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

"...not widely known as a composer of secular music, his work needs to be brought into the oratorio arena, where he belongs,"

Paul Brough, conductor.

Martin Shaw with Vaughan Williams and singers


Martin Shaw

If you have ever sung Morning has Broken, Rocking, or All things Bright and Beautiful, you will have sung the work of Martin Shaw. But these hymn arrangements cloud his early career in the theatre and his longer choral works, which deserve to be widely known.

We are raising funds for a recording with the BBC Singers together with the English Chamber Orchestra to record three of Shaw's longer works:

Sursum Corda, composed in 1933 with words written specially by Laurence Binyon.

Easter, a play for singers, inspired by the medieval mystery plays, the play was written in 1929 with words by John Masefield. It has solo parts for twelve singers together with a double choir of angels.

The Changing Year, a secular cantata, written for the Festival of Britain in 1951. As with Shaw's oratorio, the words are chosen from the canon of English verse by Shaw's wife, Joan Cobbold.


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

Listen to song clips from The Airmen

played by Iain Burnside

Shaw's song Venizel remembers the start of World War 1 at the Battle of the Aisne. The battle ended in a stalemate after a terrible loss of life, resulting in the start of trench warfare. The song is named after a rural village on the banks of the river Aisne, and is taken from a poem written by WA Short, a serving officer. It looks back at the time before the battle had started, when soldiers were camping peacefully in the woods prior to the advance which cost so many lives.