Vagabonds is a recital based around characters whom are vagrants in some way. It is centred around Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel to poetry by Robert Louis Stephenson and Edward Elgar’s Organ Grinder Songs from the incidental music for the play The Starlight Express by Algernon Blackwood.
There has always been a mystique surrounding The Vagabond, most likely borne out of ancient folklore of old Anglo-Saxon tales of a Wanderer, the fallen god Odin, who restlessly roams the Earth. Indeed, he has taken many guises in literature and music: Wagner’s Das Ring der Nieblungen, Schubert’s Winterreise and the stories regarding Don Quixote to name a few. Vaughan Williams’ songs to Stephenson’s poetry bring to life a character more like that of Schubert and Müller’s Winterreise: indeed, Songs of Travel has been referred to often as the “English Winterreise“. On the other hand, Elgar’s and Blackwood’s character is more magical: a street vendor and wandering Organ Grinder (itself a reference to the end of Winterreise’s final song, Der Leiermann) who is the legendary Sandman, a mystical spirit who brings dreams to children, in disguise.
Together, these two cycles bring forth the best of English song writing, ranging from the deep and moving to the exquisitely charming. Not to be missed.
Extract of a 2012 recording of the first of Elgar’s Organ Grinder Songs with the Cantamus Orchestra, Conducted by Barry Collett
A sample copy of the programme notes for Vagabonds is available here.
For more information or to book this recital, please get in touch.