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Cat. No. CHAN 9775 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9775 - Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody
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Available From: 21 October 1999
The two main tunes in the Norfolk Rhapsody were collected from two Norfolk fishermen in 1905 – the first, ‘The Captain’s Apprentice’ and the second, ‘On Board the Ninety-Eight’. The economical length of the piece and the undoubted effectiveness of its scoring have ensured its survival.

In the Fen Country was Vaughan Williams’s first work for orchestra and follows his experiences collecting folksongs in East Anglia in 1904. The scoring is imaginative and makes use of a third flute, cor anglais and bass clarinet in addition to the standard forces.

Vaughan Williams first harmonised the haunting tune written by Tallis when he restored it to the English hymnal in 1906. The Tallis Fantasia came into being as the result of a commission for the Three Choirs Festival in 1910. Full of subtle dynamic gradations, the work is scored for two string orchestras (one smaller) and string quartet, and most of the antiphonal writing is dependent for its effect on carefully balance tonal weight.

Commissioned by the British Council to represent English Music at the 1939 World’s Fair in America, Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus was first performed in the USA under Sir Adrian Boult. Although the Five Variants appeared thirty years after the Tallis Fantasia, it is clearly from the same brooding yet luminous pen and inspired by Vaughan Williams’s great affection for this protean tune.

Vaughan Williams’s opera Sir John in Love is the original of the Fantasia on the traditional melody of ‘Greensleeves’; although probably the most familiar item of music to be associated with his name, it was arranged in its present form by Ralph Greaves for strings, harp and flutes, and first heard in 1934.

Vaughan Williams wrote The Lark Ascending in 1914, but revised it in 1926. It is described as a ‘Romance for Violin and Orchestra’. The work begins magically on a ninth chord as the soloist’s essays phrases that are like birdsong. The melody seems capable of infinite extension and suggest the detachment of an observer high above land.

Bryden Thomson is a thoroughly persuasive guide in all this repertoire
ThePenguin Guide

Michael Davis… gives one of the most fluent and rapturous performances…

These performances are richly recorded with sparkling clarity and conductor Thomson leads with a sure and experienced hand.


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