7th Jun 2014
A Celebration of English Melody
  • 7th June 2014 8:00 PM
  • Vaughan Williams
  • St Michael & All Angels Church, Oxford


Music by Vaughan Williams, his friends Holst & Finzi and his teachers Parry, Stanford & Wood.

Duncan Saunderson conductor
Julian Littlewoodpiano and organ

Stephen Burrows, countertenor
James Potter, countertenor
Alex Clissold-Jones, tenor

Full programme

Folksong and music from The Golden Age of English music that so inspired Vaughan Williams.

Summertown Choral Society’s third commission: music by Andrew Gant including an original composition, a folk song setting and a variation on a theme by Thomas Tallis.

Vaughan Williams collected over 800 folk songs; he enjoyed “the ever present chance of picking up some rare old ballad or an exquisitely beautiful melody, worthy, within its smaller compass, of a place beside the finest compositions of the greatest composers”. He rediscovered Elizabethan and Tudor music, commenting that “They produced poetry and music that has never been surpassed”. His circle included Gustav Holst, “the greatest influence on my music” and Hubert Parry whose “Blest Pair of Sirens” he described as “the finest musical work that has come out of these Islands”. “For people have come to find a special message in our music which that of other nations, however skilled and imaginative, cannot give them” (RVW).


Wood: Full fathom five
Vaughan Williams: Bushes and Briars
Finzi: I praise the tender flower
Vaughan Williams: Dives and Lazarus
Linden Lea
The Turtle Dove
Stanford: Ballade, op. 170 (piano)

God grant with grace (“Tallis’ Canon”)

Anon.: There is no rose (14th c.)
Vaughan Williams: The sky above the roof
Bushes and Briars
This is the truth
Tallis: Ordina (Veni Creator)
Vaughan Williams: The old hundredth
O clap your hands
Weekles: Hark all ye lovely saints
Holst: There was a tree
My sweetheart’s like Venus
Howells: Master Tallis’ testament (organ)
Tallis: Why fumth in flight
Gant: RVW Suite:
i. Prelude on a theme of Thomas Tallis
ii. In the windless stillness
iii. The fall of the leaf
iv. The ploughboy’s dream
Parry: Blest pair of sirens
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