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

"A remarkable man who is insufficently recognized these days"

Sir Michael Holroyd

Martin Shaw seated in a deckchair by the seaside



Martin Shaw

A composer of several hundred works, Martin Shaw was a leading pioneer for the revival of English music during the early part of the 20th Century. This work laid the foundation for the world-wide success of English and American music we know today.

Shaw's musical ambitions were to bring good music to a wide audience rather than compose works for a musical elite. However, he also composed many songs for professional singers. The discovery of these songs in the UK combined with the recent aquisition of his archive by the British Library means his reputation is ripe for reappraisal.


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.

For more information on Venizel there are two printable articles:

Listen to more song clips below

played by Iain Burnside

song clips taken from The Airmen
out now with Delphian Music