Rhosymedre (tr. Johnston)

From Wind Repertory Project
Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (trans. Matt Johnston)

Subtitle: Or "Lovely." From Three Preludes Founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes

General Info

Year: 1920 / 2011
Duration: c. 3:55
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: ALRY Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $20.00


Full Score
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet (or Basset Horn or Clarinet IV)
B-flat Bass Clarinet (or Contrabass Clarinet, Contralto Clarinet, or String Bass)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In 1920 Ralph Vaughan Williams composed three preludes for organ based on Welsh hymn tunes, a set that quickly established itself in the organ repertoire. Of the three, Rhosymedre, sometimes known as "Lovely," has become the most popular. The hymn tune used in this prelude was written by a 19th century Welsh composer, J.D. Edwards, and is a very simple melody made up almost entirely of scale tones and upbeat skips of a fourth. Yet, around this modest tune Vaughan Williams has constructed a piece of grand proportions, with a broad arc that soars with the gradual rise of the tune itself.

The hymn tune in long values is surrounded by a moving bass line and a treble obbligato in faster notes often characterized by descending sixths. Vaughan Williams has joined together hymn tune, bass, and obbligato in such a way as to create an exceedingly fresh and ingratiating tonal language, which seems all the more remarkable when one discovers from the score that there is scarcely an accidental in the entire piece.

- Program Note by Walter Beeler

The use of English folk songs and hymn tunes is prevalent in the music of Vaughan Williams and Holst during the early part of the twentieth century. While Rhosymedre is not an original work for band, it reflects the composer’s interest in English folk songs and their use in his early compositions. The work of the Folk Song Society proved important to both Vaughan Williams and Holst, as well as Grainger. All of these incorporated and preserved the heritage of English folk music in their works for band, including Vaughan William’s English Folk Song Suite, Holst’s First Suite in E-flat and Second Suite in F, and Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy.

- Program Note from Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Vol. 2


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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