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sheet music

Library Conference 2022

‘Once more to the mouths of the people’: Ralph Vaughan Williams and Folk Song

Conference of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, English Folk Dance and Song Society

12–13 November 2022

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The VWML’s conference considers Ralph Vaughan Williams in his 150th anniversary year, examining his relationship with folk song.

Papers have been invited on such topics as Vaughan Williams the folk song collector; his motivations and philosophy; his relationship with his fellow collectors, composers and folklorists; his use of folk material in his original compositions; his folk song arrangements, and his use of folk tunes in the church.

There will be live music in addition to the papers.

Reproduction of manuscript by Vaughan Williams: sheet music for 'The green rushes grow' with notes

In person
Whole weekend: £60 (concessions £40)
One day only: £35 (concessions £20)

Whole weekend: £25 (concessions £15)
One day only: £13 (concessions £8)

Lunch is included in the ticket price for in-person delegates.

Online delegates will receive an email with a Zoom link in the week before the conference.

Full PDF programme 

Organising Committee for VWML

Tiffany Hore, Library and Archives Director
Malcolm Barr-Hamilton, Archivist
Elaine Bradtke, Cataloguer
Alex Burton, Librarian
Martin Nail, Indexer
Nick Wall, Librarian

Programme Committee

The VWML staff (as above)
Julian Onderdonk (West Chester University of Pennsylvania)
Martin Graebe (Independent scholar)
Katie Howson (Independent scholar)

Saturday 12 November

Tea and coffee, registration 


Session 1: Individual songs (Chair: Steve Roud)
Georgina Boyes – Down in Yon Forest
Malcolm Barr-Hamilton – All things were quite silent

Tea and coffee

Session 2: Recital by Gwilym Bowen (Tenor), Johnny Herford (Baritone) and William Vann (Piano), introduced by John Francis (Albion Records). 

From the Eastern Counties

Bushes and Briars (Essex) 
As I walked out (Essex)
The Captain’s Apprentice (Norfolk)
On Board a Ninety-Eight (Norfolk)
Spanish Ladies (Norfolk)

From Sussex

The Jolly Ploughboy
Lovely Joan
The Pretty Ploughboy
Rolling in the Dew
The Turtle Dove

From abroad

The Rich Old Lady (Southern Appalachian Mountains)
Der Morgenstern
L’Amour de Moy
The Bloody Gardener (Newfoundland)
The Cuckoo (Newfoundland)
The folk song influence in Vaughan Williams’s own songs
Whither must I wander? (Songs of Travel)
The Sky Above the Roof
It was a lover
Dirge for Fidele
Linden Lea

12.45–1.45 Lunch

Session 3 – People and places (Chair: Alex Burton)
Caroline Davison – The composer, his wife, the neighbour, and an aunt: how personal relationships shaped Vaughan Williams’s role as a folk song collector
Irene Shettle – The Carter and the Collectors: early stages in collecting in the Leith Hill and Wotton areas of Surrey, links to the Broadwood family and a brief examination of the life
and songs of Henry Garman
Paul and Liz Davenport – Vaughan Williams in Rotherham: an appraisal of a song collecting expedition

Tea and coffee

Session 4 – Music for the people (Chair: Nick Wall)
Parker Gordon – Vaughan Williams’s Music for Pageants: Not Quite the Concert Hall or Church
Katie Palmer Heathman – ‘The most exalted moments of a church-goer’s week’: improving church music with folk songs in The English Hymnal
Julian Onderdonk – Vaughan Williams and the folk song copyright controversy revisited

Sunday 13 November

Tea and coffee, registration

10.00 welcome

Session 5 - National and international (Chair: Tiffany Hore)
Don Niles – Vaughan Williams as Founding President of the International Folk Music Council
Jiří Čevela – Comparison of Folk Song Collecting Methods and Approaches of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Leoš Janáček
Matt J. Simons – Who wants the English composer?’: Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Nation

Tea and coffee

Session 6 – Less familiar sources (Chair: Martin Nail)
Martin Graebe – A Legacy of Song – Vaughan Williams in the West, 1902
Rhian Davies – Beyond Rhosymedre: Rediscovering Vaughan Williams’ Welsh folksong arrangements

1.15–2.15 Lunch

Session 7 – Not folksong! (Chair: Malcolm Barr-Hamilton)
Sean Goddard and Chris Jewell – ‘I know nothing about Folk-Dance’: The Vaughan Williams folk dance recordings of 1930.
Another paper TBC

Tea and coffee

Session 8 – Panel discussion: Once more to the mouths of the people?
Chaired by Tiffany Hore, with Julian OnderdonkSteve Roud and John Francis

4.45 Thanks and goodbye

Manuscript and photograph reproduced courtesy of Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust 

Promoted by EFDSS

Logo: RVW 150

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