"Do you realize," a friend told composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, "that none of your best-sellers are your own?"
He was referring to the Fantasia on Greensleeves, the English Folk Songs Suite, and the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. And while it's a clever remark that the composer found very funny, the truth is, all three works are very much his own.
In fact, I would argue that Vaughan Williams' particular form of greatness is not in saying things that have never been said before--but in presenting familiar or forgotten things in a way that makes them seem fresh and relevant.
In this hour, an exploration of two of Vaughan Williams' best-loved works, and the folk songs that inspired them.
|Title||Label & No.||UPC|
|Ralph Vaughan Williams [for the Fantasia on Greensleeves]||EMI Eminence CD-EMX 2179||0077776411422|
|Under the Greenwood Tree [for vocal of "Greensleeves"]||Naxos 8.553442||0730099444224|
|Vaughan Williams: The Collector's Edition, disc 10 [for the English Folk Songs Suite]||EMI 2066362||5099920663629|
|Heather Wood: Fast Folk (Vol. 3, No. 9), Songs of Tradition [for "Lovely Joan," whose tune is used as a secondary theme in the Fantasia on Greensleeves]||iTunes download]|
|US Navy Sea Chanters: Homeward Bound [for "Seventeen Come Sunday"]||Coker & McCree (iTunes download)|
|Anne Briggs: A Collection [for "My Bonny Boy"]||Topic Records TSCD504||714822050425|
|Alan Lomax: Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland, Vol. 2 [for "Blow Away the Morning Dew," sung by Emily Bishop]||Rounder Records 1776||011661177628|
|The Gordons: Time Will Tell Our Story [for "John Barleycorn"]||Blueberry Hill BBH 122||683884021226|
|Luke Kelly: Working Class Hero [for "High Germany"]||Celtic Airs Records CACD0203||5391513560354|
|HeartSounds: Behind the Green Bushes [for "Green Bushes"]||HeartSounds 610 388 7523||0634479013638|
|Martin Simpson: The Bramble Briar [for song, "Dives and Lazarus"]||Topic Records TSCD513||714822051323|
|Bournemouth Symphony: English String Music [for Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus]||Naxos 8.550823||0730099582322|