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Program Notes

English Folk Song Suite

(1924)

Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer

English Folk Song Suite is considered a cornerstone composition for band, and remains one of the most frequently performed band works by the composer. Vaughan Williams devoted his life to folk song research and publication, and was considered England’s leading composer after the death of Sir Edward Elgar in 1934. This suite was written in 1924 for “military band” (a full complement of winds, brass and percussion, as opposed to a brass band), and features the composer’s distinctive style employing modal harmonies and rhythms derived from elements found in traditional folk songs of Norfolk and Somerset. The suite was originally written for band and later transcribed for orchestra, a welcome change from the common practice of writing for orchestra first.

JRO

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