Ralph Vaughan Williams: Folk Songs of the Four Seasons/In Windsor Forest (Albion Records Audio CD)

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Catalogue No: ALBCD 010
Shop Product Code: 242970S
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Folk Songs of the Four Seasons/In Windsor Forest (Albion Records Audio CD)

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Choir of Clare College
Cambridge & Dmitri Ensemble
Sir David Willcocks, conductor

Both the Folk Songs of the Four Seasons and this arrangement of In Windsor Forest are world premiere recordings. The Folk Songs of the Four Seasons is a substantial work by Vaughan Williams, over 40 minutes long, for women’s chorus and orchestra. It is the most significant of his works never to have been recorded in any format.

The Folk Songs of the Four Seasons was commissioned by the Women’s Institute and first performed in 1950. The work has a Prologue and four sections: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

The coupling is the rare arrangement for women’s voices, by Guthrie Foote and Vaughan Williams, of the Cantata In Windsor Forest based on choruses from the opera Sir John in Love.

This new Albion recording is issued to mark the 90th birthday of Sir David Willcocks on 30 December, 2009. Sir David is world famous for his recordings for EMI and for his work at King’s College, Cambridge and the Bach Choir. For Sir David to record another major Vaughan Williams disc at the age of almost 90 is remarkable in itself and will ensure national and international interest in this recording.

Contents and Reviews


Folk Songs of the Four Seasons (world premiere recording): 1) Prologue (full chorus with semi-chorus descant) 2) Spring Early in the Spring (for three voices, unaccompanied) The Lark in the Morning (for two voices) May Song (full chorus with semi-chorus) 3) Summer Summer is a-coming in and The Cuckoo (full chorus) The Sprig of Thyme (full chorus) The Sheep Shearing (for two voices, unaccompanied) The Green Meadow (unison, all voices) 4) Autumn John Barleycorn (full chorus with semi-chorus) The Unquiet Grave (for three voices, unaccompanied) An Acre of Land (unison, all voices) 5) Winter Children’s Christmas Song (in two-part harmony) Wassail Song (unison, with descant) In Bethlehem City (for three voices, unaccompanied) God Bless the Master (unison, with descant) In Windsor Forest: (world premiere of this arrangement for women’s voices by Guthrie Foote): The Conspiracy (Sigh no more, ladies) 1) Falstaff and the Fairies (Round about in a fair ring-a) 2) Wedding Chorus (See the Chariot at hand) 3) Epilogue (Whether men do laugh or weep)