George Sainton Kaye Butterworth was born in London on July 12, 1885, to a well-to-do family. After a meeting with Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams he concentrated more or less full time on collecting folk songs. He joined the Durham Light Infantry as a Lieutenant on the outbreak of World War I. He was killed by a sniper during the Battle of the Somme.
Butterworth collected almost 300 folk songs. One of the best examples of his brilliant treatment of folk songs is the idyll BANKS OF GREEN WILLOW (1913). He captured the bucolic nature fo the English countryside, from the opening unaccompanied folk tunes to the more poignant and intense final strains of the piece.
In November and December of 1939, Percy Grainger arranged THE IMMOVABLE DO for wind band. The notes from his original chorus score (written from 1933 to 1939 and dedicated to his "merry wife" Ella) were assigned to the various families of instruments of the wind band. The arrangement may also be played by clarinet or saxophone choir (from which my own arrangement is taken).
One morning Grainger was practicing one of his harmoniums, when the mechanism of the high C broke, so the instrument played the tone continuously. Grainger, being inventive as always, improvised around the drone, creating a new piece.
The two wordless partsongs TO BE SUNG OF A SUMMER NIGHT ON THE WATER, products of Frederick Delius' ripest maturity, are well known in their later arrangement by Eric Fenby, entitled TWO AQUARELLES FOR STRING ORCHESTRA. The compositions succeed equally well on recorders. Delius' vocal phrasing and dynamics have been retained, creating a new selection for Recorder Orchestra.
Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958, was considered the outstanding composer of his generation in England. His interest in folk music developed during his time as the organist in Lambeth. Elements of English music of the Tudor period interested him and are apparent in many of his compositions. The ENGLISH FOLK SONG for military band was an outstanding addition to the library of wind instruments. It is well suited to our instrumentation in the Los Angeles Recorder Orchestra.