Vaughan Williams - Folk Songs Vol.3: Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties  | Albion Records ALBCD044

Vaughan Williams - Folk Songs Vol.3: Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties


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Label: Albion Records

Cat No: ALBCD044

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 24th September 2021



Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties is the third in a series of four albums recording all 81 of the folk songs in English that Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged for voice and piano or violin. 57 of the 81 songs have not previously been recorded in these arrangements.

This third album has 21 tracks including 14 world premieres. The principal collection (15 tracks) comprises folk songs collected by Vaughan Williams himself from ‘The Eastern Counties’ – primarily Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire – and published by him in these arrangements in 1908. These are thus the earliest works in the series. Additionally, there are Twelve Traditional Country Dances arranged for Maud Karpeles in 1931 and songs from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs and from The Motherland Song Book.

Robert Moore wrote of Volumes 1 and 2 in The American Record Guide: “These wonderful performances are everything I can imagine VW would have hoped for. When the project is completed, it will stand as one of the finest testaments to his life. The program notes ... give valuable background information about the songs and the process of recording them. Texts are included though the singers’ diction is so clear that they are hardly needed.”

Praised by Opera for her “dramatic wit and vocal control”, British soprano Mary Bevan is internationally renowned in baroque, classical and contemporary repertoire, and appears regularly with leading conductors, orchestras and ensembles around the world.

Opera singer Nicky Spence is one of Scotland’s proudest sons and his unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty of his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the classical music profession.

Roderick Williams is one of this country’s most sought-after baritones and is constantly in demand, encompassing a repertoire from the baroque to world premieres. In 2016 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the Year award.

A multiple-prize winning and critically acclaimed conductor and accompanist, William Vann is equally at home on the podium or at the piano and is the founder and Artistic Director of the London English Song Festival.

“Once the new collection is completed, it will be one of the finest monuments Vaughan Williams could have wanted, and a real jewel in the crown of the RVW Society. To describe what Albion is doing here as important would be the cultural understatement of the year.” – Simon Heffer, Saturday Telegraph

“Soloists Roderick Williams, Nicky Spence and Mary Bevan are all persuasive, while the composer’s instrumental elaborations (William Vann, piano) have a beauty and interest all their own...this first trip to Vaughan Williams’s folk song workshop is an absolute tonic and delight.” – Geoff Brown, The Times (4 stars)

“I need merely add that William Vann’s stylish pianism is a delight throughout. John Francis’s knowledgeable booklet notes, too, are a tremendous asset. No need to tarry; this is something of a treat.” – Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone

“A superb second instalment of the complete folk song settings of Vaughan Williams” – James Altena, Fanfare (5 stars)

“The variety of texts and sheer beauty of the melodies make this a set to savour and the hilarity of the ‘Farmyard Song’ makes a fitting finale to a delightful disc.”
– Steven Halls, Elgar Society Journal.


Bushes and Briars, the first song he collected (in a Darby and Joan Club in Essex in December 1903), here superbly sung by our finest living baritone, Roderick Williams.  Simon Heffer
The Daily Telegraph
The first two volumes in this four-disc series of Vaughan Williams’s folk song arrangements have been widely praised, and Volume 3 is of the same admirable standard.
BBC Music Magazine

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