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Ralph Vaughan Williams

Information on Works for Wind Band


English Folk Song Suite

A military band classic – and this is the version to get, rather than Gordon Jacob's arrangement for full orchestra. Full of great tunes, tellingly set, it pioneered (along with Holst's two Suites for Military Band) serious composition for symphonic wind ensemble in this century. Serious does not mean solemn, however. Vaughan Williams is one of the few composers who turns out heavy and "light" with equal ease while remaining recognizably himself. Treat yourself to a very good time indeed. The classic recording comes from band legend Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. The later recording with Denis Wicks and the London Wind Orchestra lacks Fennell's bouncy vim.

Recommended Recordings:
London Wind Orchestra; Denis Wicks. AS&V CDQS6021
Eastman Wind Ensemble; Frederick Fennell. Mercury (LP) SRI 75011

Toccata Marziale

This revolutionary piece for band treats that ensemble as a vehicle for expressing musical modernism so advanced that it sounds like American works written fifteen to twenty years later. The classic recording has the Eastman Wind Ensemble led by the legendary Frederick Fennell. Denis Wick and the London Wind Orchestra pale in comparison.

Recommended Recordings:
Eastman Wind Ensemble; Frederick Fennell. Mercury (LP) SRI 75011
London Wind Orchestra; Denis Wicks. AS&V CDQS6021.

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