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RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872 -1958)
The twentieth century revival of English music owes much to Ralph Vaughan Williams. He embraced the new interest in English folk song, producing arrangements of folk songs as well as assimilating the idiom into his own compositions. He also wrote many essays on music which are plain-spoken but far from narrow. Throughout his long life he gave support to a variety of musical ventures, from popular forms of music and folk to 'serious' secular and religious music.
The guitar arrangements for the Four English Folk Songs are from piano pieces, and are typical of the genre in the way they gently and evenly convey their harmonic progress. The dorian mode of the first two pieces is a characteristic minor scale flavour. The third, ‘The Lark in the Morning’, is the most difficult but, introduced exquisitely by the lark’s singing, is well worth persevering with. Note the semiquavers in this piece - it is not a triplet feel.