This is the recorded equivalent of those huge, well-worn books of 'Music All the Whole World Loves' with which many of us were raised. Although it comprises popular music, or folksongs, from the 13th to the present century, it has no pretense to musicological scholarship or to classically virtuosic presentation. Several of the arrangements are by Edward Higginbottom, director of these collegiate choristers, and others are by classical composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger. The material ranges from the most famous of Medieval English rounds, "Sumer is icumen in" (presented here with only a fragment of the original text), to later English and Celtic tunes and a couple of American spirituals.
The Choir is generally posh and the arrangements sometimes unnecessarily likewise, in that the original folk flavor gets masked. On the other hand, some of the harmonic possibilities of such simple, lovely airs as "The Minstrel Boy" and "Steal Away" could use more expansive exploration. The disc may prove particularly valuable to younger students first familiarizing themselves with the vocal treasures of the Western World.