The first book of Traditional Songs for Wind Quartet was as a result of a conversation with a colleague who bemoaned the fact that, although there was a plethora of music arranged for wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon), there was relatively little repertoire for wind quartet (minus the horn). Sensing a niche, I set about compiling the first collection of arrangements. They seemed to go down well so I put together this second set.
“Blow Away the Morning Dew” is famously used by Vaughan Williams in his Folk Song Suite. It originates from Somerset with references as far back as 1609 when it was known as The Baffled Knight. It is given a relatively contemporary treatment here and, whereas it should not be too fast, it should be bouncy and cheeky – after all, it is about peasants merrymaking!
“Early One Morning” has origins back to the 18th century and refers to a maid’s lover leaving to become a sailor. It’s a wistful melody given a simple treatment.
A number of British composers have included “Green Bushes” in their compositions, Percy Grainger and George Butterworth to name but two. It was very popular with the early 19th century broadsiders. Play it with a steady, rustic, 1 in a bar feel (not too fast), with the melody line always pronounced.
“My Bonny Boy” is also used by Vaughan Williams in his Folk Song Suite. Like so many folk songs, it is about unrequited and lost love. The beautifully haunting melody should be played with much expression and some rubato.
Some sources say that “Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl” (or “For Tonight We’ll Merry, Merry Be”) can be traced back to as early as the 16th century. For obvious reasons it was a popular song in the inns and ale houses of 17th and 18th century England and if you give plenty of energy and life to your performance, I’m sure your audiences will also merry, merry be!