A new orchestration of a piece for violin and piano by Ralph Vaughan Williams from David Matthews premiered on 19th March. Romance and Pastorale, a 7-minute piece for soloist and modest orchestral forces, will be performed by Alexander Sitkovesky and the Britten Sinfonia as part of the Investec International Music Festival in Surrey – near where Vaughan Williams grew up.

Matthews has worked extensively on Vaughan Williams’ music. Dark Pastoral from 2010 realised a fragment from an unfinished slow movement of a cello concerto by Vaughan Williams, premiered by Stephen Isserlis at the BBC Proms; in 2016 he also brought Norfolk March to life, taking as his starting point a programme note and four folk melodies. His own Symphony No.6 quotes the music of Vaughan Williams directly.

In Romance and Pastorale Matthews was inspired by Vaughan Williams’ approach in The Lark Ascending, completed nine years prior. Like The Lark Ascending, these two short pieces were likely composed before the First World War and tinged with the same melancholy and nostalgia that linger in much of Vaughan Williams’ music from this period. David Matthews has a considerable reputation as an orchestrator, especially for ingenious realisations of Gustav Mahler and Benjamin Britten.

David Matthews writes in the score of this new orchestration: “the work is dedicated to Dorothy Longman, the violinist wife of Bobby Longman, Vaughan Williams’ neighbour at his mother’s house, Leith Hill Place, both of them becoming close friends of the composer. Michael Kennedy writes that Dorothy, then Fletcher, “was introduced to her future husband in about 1912 by Vaughan Williams when she played in outdoor performances of plays based on folk-songs at the composer’s family home”.”

View the score online here.