Vaughan Williams for Band: A Repertoire List

I don’t know whether I like it, but it is what I meant.—Ralph Vaughan Williams

Vaughan Williams has always been a favourite among band conductors as he was one of the first composers of the twentieth century to write for the concert band (military band) as a serious medium for aesthetic music (the English Folk Song Suite was composed in 1923 for band and later arranged for orchestra). Since then, various original works and transcriptions of Vaughan Williams’ have become standards in the band repertoire, most notably:

  • Flourish for Wind Band (1939)
  • Linden Lea (1901)
  • English Folk Song Suite (1923)
  • Sea Songs (1923)
  • Toccata Marziale (1924)
Non-Exhaustive
The following list is by no means exhaustive. New arrangements are being written all the time and there are smaller, boutique publishers popping up around the world. It is very difficult to keep up with every new arrangement on the market.
Subjective
Any discussion of repertoire is always going to be subjective. What appeals to one won’t necessarily appeal to another.
Curated
All the lists of repertoire I recommend are curated. There are no pop songs, show tunes or film scores. There are also (generally) no medleys, even if they are of works by Beethoven or Bach. Although the arranger’s intention is to present more than one work to the students as an educational aim, medleys fail the composer by changing the impression his work was supposed to have, often turning three aesthetic compositions into an entertainment spectacle (medleys also often have stupid titles.)

Any arrangement that changes the style intended by the composer is also left out. Arrangements that have the words ‘Rock’ or ‘Boogie’ in the title should be burned.

Tips for conductors

As with playing any transcription, playing Vaughan Williams is not only an opportunity for the students, but also an opportunity for the conductor to better their practice. Always listen to the works in their original form and watch videos of the great conductors, both band and orchestral.

A personal favourite

Of all the works of Vaughan Williams that I have both performed and conducted, one stands out as my personal favourite: Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus (1939) arr. Stephen Gregson. It is one of those works that I can listen to over and over again and never tire of.

Level 1

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
Linden Leaarr. WagnerAlfred/Belwin2:21

Level 2

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
Linden Leaarr. StoutBoosey & Hawkes3:00
Sussex Carolarr. Anne McGintyQueenwood2:27
Solemn Procession (From the Fourth Movement of A London Symphony)arr. WagnerAlfred/Belwin3:36

Level 3

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
Golden Vanityarr. WagnerAlfred/Belwin4:51
Rhosymedrearr. Walter BeelerGalaxy Music3:46
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallisarr. Jay BocookHal Leonard3:51
Flourish for Wind BandRalph Vaughan WilliamsOxford University Press2:00
The Lowlands of Scotland (Alister McAlpines Lament)arr. DaehnDaehn Publications2:57
Folk Songs from the Eastern Countiesarr. WagnerAlfred/Belwin3:29
Three Studies in English Folk Songarr. HarbisonAlfred4:54
Sine Nominearr. BullockAlfred
Silent Noonarr. HuckebyCL Barnhouse4:13
I got me Flowersarr. Jos van de BraakBaton Music
Well Met My Own True Lovearr. Larry DaehnDaehn Publications4:01
Three Dorset Songsarr. Douglas StotterDaehn Publications
I Vow to Thee My CountryGustav Holst, setting by Ralph Vaughan WilliamsG. Schirmer
Sine Nominearr. J CacavasAlfred

Level 4

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
Sea SongsRalph Vaughan WilliamsBoosey & Hawkes4:00
Sea Songsarr. LongfieldBoosey & Hawkes4:16
Fantasia on Greensleevesarr. WagnerAlfred/Belwin5:02
March Past of the Kitchen Utensilsarr. Paul ErwinMusic By Paul Erwin3:20
Flourish for Glorious Johnarr. BoydLudwig-Masters Publications
Overture to the WaspsRens van LeeuwenBaton Music
FantasiaJos van de BraakBaton Music
49th Parallel-Preludearr. L OsmonG&M Brand
Sine Nominearr. Alfred ReedAlfred
The Running Setarr. DaehnDaehn Publications6:04

Level 5

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
English Folk Song SuiteRalph Vaughan WilliamsBoosey & Hawkes12:00
Five English Folk Songsarr. Evan FeldmanTierolff-Muziekcentrale BV
Variations for Wind Bandarr. Donald HunsbergerBoosey & Hawkes13:40
Norfolk RhapsodyOxford University Press
Five Variants of Dives and Lazarusarr. GregsonOxford University Press10:20

Level 6

TitleArrangerPublisherDurationRecording
Toccata Marzialeed. BattistiBoosey & Hawkes
Toccata MarzialeRalph Vaughan WilliamsBoosey & Hawkes4:45
Overture to the Waspsarr. Frank M. HudsonTRN Music9:58

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