The theme today is orchestral (mainly) arrangements of British folk tunes. However we have taken the liberty of stretching the definition of “Folk” a little on this occasion to include the work of Messrs Lennon & McCartney — mainly as an excuse, it must be said, to include the marvellous Beatles Concerto, composed by John Rutter and performed by Rostal and Schaefer on piano with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Ron Goodwin. We’ve also included some rather amusing baroque arrangements of Beatles tunes, by Peter Breiner and Joshua Rifkin.
Apart from these, you’ll hear some old favourites like Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite, pieces by Holst and the Fantasia on English Sea Songs, but also less well-known pieces like Philip Lane’s suite of Cotswold Dances and the delightful arrangements of Playford tunes by Ernest Tomlinson. There are two arrangements of Oranges And Lemons used to open the BBC Light Programme in the 1940s.
And talking of the BBC, there are some magnificent medleys of folk tunes too, such as Max Saunders’ Fantasy on National Airs, which opened the BBC Television Service in the 1950s and combines tunes from all the nations of the UK; the Radio 4 UK Theme and many more — and some regional medleys from the ITV stations too, such as Wilkinson’s Three Rivers Fantasy based on tunes from the Tyne-Tees region.