Three Dorset Songs

From Wind Repertory Project
Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (arr. Douglas Stotter)

General Info

Year: 1902-1903 / 2003
Duration: c. 6:40
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Voice and piano
Publisher: Daehn Publications, through C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $76.00   |   Score Only (print) - $8.00


1. Blackamwore by the Stour
2. The Winter's Willow – 3:20
3. Boy Johnny


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


In parts:

  • Alto Saxophone I, final note in the suite: Should be D.

Program Notes

Blackamwore by the Stour (also known as Blackamwore Maidens), The Winter's Willow, and Boy Johnny, for voice and piano, were composed between 1902 and 1903. All saw first publication in The Vocalist magazine during that time and were widely performed. Blackamwore by the Stour was published in May 1902 and received its premiere at the Hooten Roberts Musical Union on September 4, 1902. Boy Johnny, written for the 1902 Commemoration Week observances at Oxford, was published in September 1902. The Winter's Willow was the last of these songs. I was published in November 1903.

Blackamwore by the Stour and The Winter's Willow both use text from William Barnes (1801-1886), who was successively clerk, teacher and clergyman, and a close friend of author Thomas Hardy. Vaughan Williams's musical settings to Barnes' poems, sometimes in dialect, are gloriously fresh in their invention. The text of Boy Johnny comes from the work of Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). A devout Anglican, her poetic themes turned from unrequited love to the renunciation of earthly love. Each of the songs has a folk-like quality. Indeed, The Times of London describe Blackamwore as the "cleverest imitation of a genuine folk song."

Three Dorset Songs was premiered by the Indiana University Symphonic Band, Douglas Stotter, conductor, on November 19, 2002.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: III
  • Maryland: III
  • Michigan: Senior High C
  • South Carolina: III


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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  • Perusal score
  • Vaughan Williams, R.; Stotter, D. (2003). Three Dorset Songs [score]. Daehn Publications: New Glarus, Wisc.