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for SATB choir and congregation, with brass quintet and opt. timpani and opt. organ This hymn, also known by the name King's Weston, was composed by Vaughan Williams for the 1925 hymn book Songs of Praise. It features and appealing melody and makes a rousing addition to any service.
for soprano solo, SATB chorus, and orchestra Published in 1929, Benedicite is a substantial setting of texts from the 'Song of the Three Holy Children' (part of the Apocrypha) and John Austin's hymn text 'Hark, my soul, how everything'. Forceful and dynamic passages with thick choral-orchestral textures are juxtaposed against more solemn passages, often with a gentle soprano solo floating over the choral texture. Scores and parts for both the full orchestra accompaniment and strings and piano accompaniment are available on hire.
This cantata features sixteen highly-varied folk song settings, bound together in seasonal groupings to take the listener on an engaging journey through the year from Spring to Winter. The prologue implores us to 'sing and be merry', and many of the songs facilitate this with their charmingly light-hearted melodies and imaginative orchestral accompaniment. There are also darker moments, such as the haunting and heart-rending setting of 'The Unquiet Grave' in 'Autumn'. An orchestral suite (arranged by Roy Douglas) is available on hire, and several of the individual movements are available on sale.
for SATB and organ, or SATB and brass, percussion, and organ, or SATB and strings and organ Vaughan Williams composed this simple anthem for a pageant in aid of the church of Abinger in 1934. The homophonic texture and inclusion of the first verse of O God our help in ages past at the end of the piece make it an accessible and inclusive work and a rousing addition to any service, concert, or community occasion. Vaughan Williams's string orchestra accompaniment is available on hire, and Jerry Brubaker's brass, organ, and percussion arrangement is available on sale.
for soprano and baritone soloists, SATB, and orchestra Drawing upon the Bible, sections from the Mass, and poems by Walt Whitman, this is a powerful musical evocation of the destruction and death brought about through war and violence, with an overarching message of peace and reconciliation. It was composed in 1936, a time when war was threatening to engulf Europe once again, and the title, which translates as 'Give us peace', is as relevant now as it was when the work was premiered in 1936. Featuring some of the composer's most potent music (both serene and violent), it makes an affecting plea. Materials for the full orchestral version and an accompaniment for strings and piano are available on hire.
This four movement work for flute, discovered among Vaughan Williams's manuscripts after his death, seems to have been composed in 1913 for the French flautist Louis Fleury. It shows the composer beginning to experiment with the bitonality that would flavour his later works. The flute part is by turn expressive and virtuosic, making it an excellent showcase for more advanced flautists, especially those looking for British repertoire. Scores and parts for the string orchestra accompaniment are available on hire.
Vaughan Williams's hauntingly beautiful The Lark Ascending is one of his most enduringly popular works. A serene romance, the work takes its title from a poem by George Meredith. The violin's magical evocation of the lark's 'chirrup, whistle, slur and shake', as it soars above delicate orchestral textures, demonstates the composer's mastery of the pastoral idiom.
This album contains the best of Vaughan Williams' own short pieces for organ, together with a selection of his popular compositions arranged by others.
This set of three brief vocalises for soprano and clarinet comprises a Prelude, Scherzo, and Quasi menuetto. The Prelude is otherworldly, with flowing phrases and chromatic melodic lines. The Scherzo contrasts in its playfulness, while the Quasi menuetto makes an attractive ending to the set. They were composed during the final year of the composer's life in 1958, not long after the composition of the Ten Blake Songs for voice and oboe.
These songs for tenor or soprano and oboe were composed for the film The Vision of William Blake, in which all except the second and third songs of the set were used alongside music from Job to form the soundtrack. The settings richly conjure the moods and sentiments of Blake's poems, the first nine of which are from Songs of Innocence and of Experience, with the final song setting words from his poem Auguries of Experience. The oboe part may alternatively be played on the violin or on B-flat clarinet, though the composer stated that oboe was preferable.
for SATB and organ/brass, percussion, and organ/string orchestra Vaughan Williams composed this simple anthem for a pageant in aid of the church of Abinger in 1934. The homophonic texture and inclusion of the first verse of O God our help in ages past at the end of the piece make it an accessible and inclusive work and a rousing addition to any service, concert, or community occasion. As an alternative to this brass accompaniment, a string orchestra accompaniment is available on hire.
for SSA and piano This setting, which opens the Autumn section of the Vaughan Williams's cantata Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, uses a combination of pomp and wit to convey the gathering of the harvest. The character of John Barleycorn personifies the crop barley, and the song is a tongue-in-cheek telling of the indignities that he suffers at the hands of his farmers. Full and reduced orchestral accompaniments for the complete cantata are available on hire.
for contralto (mezzo-soprano) solo, female chorus, and flute and piano (or orchestra) This is an unusual setting of the well-known text. After an ethereal opening, a contralto/mezzo-soprano soloist sings the Magnificat text while the female chorus interpolates with other texts in praise of the Virgin Mary. The rhapsodic lines of the soloist contrast with the more reflective tone of the chorus, while a prominent solo flute part evokes the otherworldly in a manner reminiscent of Debussy. This setting is not for liturgical use. This version is accompanied by solo flute and piano. Orchestral material is available on hire.
for TTBB unaccompanied This masterfully crafted set of carols features a mixture of popular carols such as God rest ye merry gentlemen and lesser-known but equally enjoyable carols such as the Mummers' Carol. The arrangements were made during the Second World War at the request of the British Council for performance by H.M. Forces in Iceland.
This publication is part of a three-volume collection that comprises the bulk of the solo songs that Vaughan Williams published with Oxford University Press. They span the whole of his long life, ranging from the early 'How can the Tree but Wither?' (composed around 1896) to the Four Last Songs (from 1954-8, his final years). Many of the composer's most popular songs are included, notably 'Greensleeves', 'The Woodcutter's Song' (Seven Songs from 'The Pilgrim's Progress', no. 6), 'The New Ghost', and 'The Water Mill' (Four Poems by Fredegond Shove, nos. 3 and 4).