A Norfolk Rhapsody

Ralph Vaughan Williams in King's Lynn

Authors Jill Bennett and Elizabeth James retrace the steps of Ralph Vaughan Williams, find out more about the people he met, and see how his music was infused with the melodies and ideas he heard in the yards, the workhouse and the pubs of old King’s Lynn.

A Norfolk Rhapsody
Ralph Vaughan Williams in King's Lynn

£19.95

In stock

Description

In early 1905, thirteen months into his enthusiastic collecting of folk songs, Ralph Vaughan Williams (RVW) came to West Norfolk expressly to hear the community’s traditional songs and note them down from the singers. He was uniquely well qualified to do it both by training, temperament and character. What he heard excited and inspired him.

Through his work, we can still hear the songs of a lost fishing community and their contemporaries. With their songs he created great music which speaks to audiences across the world. Musicologists tend to skim over the week that Vaughan Williams spent in King’s Lynn. But it was a week he never forgot and recalled clearly when he returned to the town nearly half a century later. He said he ‘reaped a rich harvest’ when he came to Lynn.

In this book, authors, Jill Bennett and Elizabeth James retrace his steps, find out more about the people he met, and explore how his music was infused with the melodies and ideas he heard in the yards, the workhouse and the pubs of old King’s Lynn.  It reveals the true extent of the rich, and rapidly vanishing, heritage that Ralph Vaughan Williams uncovered.

A Norfolk Rhapsody is a large format (216x281mm) book of 252 pages, with chapters covering all the singers RVW met in King’s Lynn.  The songs are all detailed with full lyrics and melody in music notation.  The book is illustrated with both contemporary and modern photographs, plus original full colour artwork by Anne Roberts.

Jill Bennett is a BBC radio journalist.  One of the founder producers of BBC Radio Norfolk she covers West Norfolk for the station. She has been involved with folk music all her life.  Her father, barge skipper Bob Roberts, was well known as a singer and broadcaster.  She has always been interested in RVW.  He visited her grandfather, a schoolmaster in Dorset before the First World War and would apparently stay to ‘take tea’.  Jill plays the fiddle for the King’s Morris in King’s Lynn and has also played for Kemp’s Men of Norwich.

Elizabeth James is a Leeds University graduate who also holds an MA in Local and Regional History from the University of East Anglia.  She was parish administrator at King’s Lynn Minster before retirement, but also a former curator of th Lynn Museum, with a lifelong interest in traditional music.  Her published papers include a study of the Lynn folksong The Captain’s Apprentice for The Folk Song Journal (1999).

Contents

  • A Composer in the Making
  • The Compleat Collector
  • First Stop The Fens: Two days in the Tilneys
  • King’s Lynn: The unexpected treasure house of song
  • A Good Week’s Work
  • James ‘Duggie’ Carter
  • Joe Anderson
  • John Bayley
  • Mr. Harper
  • The Women Singers
  • Mr Smith and Mr Donger
  • King’s Lynn Union Workhouse
  • The Day Trip to Sheringham
  • The legacy of his Visit
  • The North End of Lynn Today

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