This cantata features sixteen highly-varied folk song settings, bound together in seasonal groupings to take the listener on an engaging journey through the year from Spring to Winter. The prologue implores us to 'sing and be merry', and many of the songs facilitate this with their charmingly light-hearted melodies and imaginative orchestral accompaniment. There are also darker moments, such as the haunting and heart-rending setting of 'The Unquiet Grave' in
'Autumn'. An orchestral suite (arranged by Roy Douglas) is available on hire, and several of the individual movements are available on sale.
Vaughan Williams has come to be regarded as one of the finest British composers of the 20th century. He has a particularly wide-ranging catalogue of works, including choral works, symphonies, concerti, and opera. His searching and visionary imagination, combined with a flexibility in writing for all levels of music-making, has meant that his music is as popular today as it ever has been.
PROLOGUE: TO THE PLOUGHBOY; SPRING; SUMMER; AUTUMN; WINTER