RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Serenade in A Minor, Bucolic Suite, Dark Pastoral for Cello and Orchestra (compl. and orch. David Matthews [b.1943]), Folk Songs of the Four Seasons.
Catalogue Number: 09O002
Reference: CDLX 7289
Description: The 1898 Serenade is V-W's first orchestral work, a 26-minute, five-movement work which the composer withdrew in 1908 (but whose manuscript resides at Yale, allowing James Sinclair to give a 1986 performance with the New England Chamber Orchestra). The nine-minute Romance, added to the score in 1901, is the most striking, showing how far V-W had advanced in such a short period of time. The 19-minute four-movement Bucolic Suite comes from that time also (1900, rev. 1901) and has a Dvorakian spirit in many parts. Folk-song is evident in both works although not exploited in the manner to come only a few years later with In the Fen Country and the first Norfolk Rhapsody. The major mature work is the 11-minute remnant of a cello concerto intended for Casals which V-W worked on in 1942-43. David Matthews completed and orchestrated the slow movement as Dark Pastoral in 2009 and you'll immediately think of The Lark Ascending. The Folk Songs are an orchestrated version of an extended choral work for massed women's voices written in 1949. Roy Douglas, who created fair copies from chaotic manuscripts of many of V-W's later works, took nine of the original 17 and produced this 14-minute suite in 1952. Guy Johnston (cello), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martin Yates.