Vaughan Williams Norfolk Rhapsody Program Notes
The Rhapsody evokes Norfolk County in Northern England, and its seaside town, Norwich. Vaughan Williams was one of the first to collect and publish English folk songs, and quotes two in this piece. The first is a sad ballad, The Captain’s Apprentice, introduced by solo viola and expanding, with lush harmonies, into the rest of the orchestra. The second, Bold Young Sailor, is a bustling duple-meter song. Not only is the piece at times beautiful, and at other times exuberant, it’s also ingenious, with the two melodies overlaid by virtue of their related tempos. Vaughan Williams, who studied with both Max Bruch and Maurice Ravel, wrote a large number of works, including nine symphonies, operas, ballets, chamber works and concertos. Perennial favorites in America include The Lark Ascending, the Oboe and Tuba concertos, and the Fantasy on Greensleeves.