By Matthew Raley
Each year, I have the privilege of performing with many excellent student musicians at Chico State. Michael Beale, a fine tenor who graduated last spring, is one of them. We performed the song cycle Along the Field by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) at Michael's senior recital a year ago. The cycle contains eight poems by A. E. Housman.
Vaughan Williams is famous for his lush string writing and folk melodies. While Along the Field shows the folk influence, it is unusual for Vaughan Williams and for art song literature in general. The piece calls for voice and violin only. Its harmonies are spare to the point of austerity.
Here are mp3 tracks of the last three songs from our performance. I hope you enjoy them!