Folk Songs of the Four Seasons
World premiere recording.
Also the world premiere recording of an arrangement of In Windsor Forest
for women’s voices by Guthrie Foote.
This cantata for Women’s Voices brought together two vital elements in Vaughan Williams’ musical character: his strong support for amateur music making and his life-long love for English folksongs and folk-carols. The work was commissioned by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes for their first Singing Festival in 1950. It was the first time the National Federation had commissioned a work for a special occasion and Vaughan Williams was their preferred choice of composer.
The performance of the cantata is excellent, but then one would expect nothing less from the veteran David Willcocks, 90 in December, but on this evidence still an energetic figure on the rostrum.
International Record Review
A world premiere recording of works by Vaughan Williams is surely at this date something of a world event.
Of the five Albion discs issued to date the most ambitious and exciting is this latest. The CD redresses a longstanding lacuna in the RVW recorded music catalogue. This recording is by a venerable doyen among the British choral traditions: Sir David Willcocks. Be assured, the roster for the ‘Ensemble’ takes it to full orchestra strength. This is not some cut–down chamber grouping and the listening experience bears this out very convincingly. RVW writes with light in his pen and light shines through these cleverly laid out and lovingly performed movements.
TRACK LISTING AND ARTISTS
Folk Songs of the Four Seasons (world première recording)
 Prologue (Full chorus with semi-chorus descant) 3’03
 Early in the Spring (For three voices, unaccompanied) 3’11
 The Lark in the Morning (For two voices) 2’14
 May Song (Full chorus with semi-chorus) 1’44
 Summer is a-coming in and The Cuckoo (Full chorus) 1’13
 The Sprig of Thyme (Full chorus) 2’42
 The Sheep Shearing (For two voices, unaccompanied) 2’24
 The Green Meadow (Unison, all voices) 3’38
 John Barleycorn (Full chorus with semi-chorus) 3’02
 The Unquiet Grave (For three voices, unaccompanied) 2’19
 An Acre of Land (Unison, all voices) 2’54
 Children’s Christmas Song (In two-part harmony) 1’56
 Wassail Song (Unison, with descant) 3’29
 In Bethlehem City (For three voices, unaccompanied) 2’07
 God Bless the Master (Unison, with descant) 3’07
In Windsor Forest (world première recording of this arrangement
for women’s voices by Guthrie Foote)
 The Conspiracy (Sigh no more, ladies) 2’02
 Falstaff and the Fairies (Round about in a fair ring-a) 2’52
 Wedding Chorus (See the Chariot at hand) 2’55
 Epilogue (Whether men do laugh or weep) 2’36
Total time 62’18
The Choir of Clare College Cambridge (Director of Music ~ Timothy Brown)
The Dmitri Ensemble (Director ~ Graham Ross; Leader ~ Alexandra Reid)
Sir David Willcocks