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VARIOUS ARTISTS / ALAN HELSDON - Vaughan Williams In Norfolk Vol.2

VARIOUS ARTISTS / ALAN HELSDON - Vaughan Williams In Norfolk Vol.2
Musical Traditions MTCD255

This CD-ROM is a follow-up to Vaughan Williams In Norfolk (MTCD253) which covers RVW’s Norfolk collecting in 1905-6. Volume 2 covers the collecting trips of, and between, 1908 and 1911.

Described as a “digital book with embedded midi files”, it has to be opened and explored on a computer rather than a CD player. The CD-ROM autoplays and one is immediately thrown into a well-designed and easily navigated website – the permanent header menu offers: Content, Introduction, Singers and songs, Itineraries (of RVW), Sources, Songs in JFSS (i.e. published in the Journal of the Folk Song Society), Photos, Index and Thanks.

The volume is a superb demonstration of an exemplary approach to song, singer, context and cross-reference of the material as well as of the collector himself. All the 93 songs are given with text, as stave and as a midi file (a very tinny piano sound derived from the stave, but adequate). The author, Alan Helsdon, himself says, almost apologetically, “it is a very specialised market”. It is, but this CD-ROM demonstrates, for the enthusiastic student of folk song or the serious researcher, that it is as comprehensive an approach as one could wish for. And nobody does it better than Musical Traditions. Here are familiar songs and more obscure songs – a delightful collection in which to go rummaging around and finding gems. For everyone within the “specialised market”, or simply looking for material, this, along with many other Musical Traditions offerings, is highly recommended.

Tom Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.