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
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
The suite was originally written for band and later transcribed for orchestra,
a welcome change from the common practice of writing for orchestra first.