Ralph Vaughan Williams

Linden Lea, song for voice & orchestra ("In Linden Lea"; "A Dorset Song")

    Description by Chris Morrison

    Linden Lea is the most popular of Vaughan Williams' songs, and probably the one piece of music that made him the most money over the course of his life. He wrote it in 1901 while he was working on his Doctor of Music degree at Cambridge, to a text (in Dorsetshire dialect) by the cleric and poet William Barnes (1800-1886). Vaughan Williams had lately become involved with a new journal on songs and singing called The Vocalist; appropriately, its first edition, which appeared in April 1902, featured an article by Vaughan Williams called "A School of English Music" along with the sheet music for Linden Lea.

    Among his friends at Cambridge were the brothers Nicholas and Ivor Gatty, both musicians, who came from the quiet Yorkshire village of Hooton Roberts. Vaughan Williams often visited the Gatty brothers there, and it was there that Linden Lea received its first performance on September 4, 1902. Within a few years the song had become enormously well known, so much so that Vaughan Williams could refer in a 1925 letter to "such sins of my youth as Linden Lea, which becomes every year more horribly popular." Over a dozen arrangements exist of the song, which begins with the poet reminiscing about the sights and sounds of Linden Lea, particularly the apple tree which "do lean down low." The mood becomes temporarily agitated as the poet reflects on the money making possibilities in "dark-room'd towns." But, in contemplation of the return trip home, the song ends softly and reflectively.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Saydisc CDSDL 448
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Alto ALN 1963
    2016 Albion ALBCD 027
    2016 Albion ALBCD 029
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290873638
    2014 Opus Arte OACD 9027BD
    2013 Champs Hill Records CHRCD 071
    2013 Opus Arte OACD 9014 D
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099990377
    2012 Warner Music
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Alto 1931
    2012 Signum Classics SIGCD 314
    2011 Decca
    2011 Harmonia Mundi HMC 902093
    2011 Apex / Erato 2564675459
    2011 Challenge Classics CC72501
    2011 Delphian DCD 34097
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099902900124
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099909471
    2010 Dal Segno 055
    2010 Albion ALB 002
    2010 Albion ALB 006
    2010 Park PRKCD 111
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099968636
    2008 Naxos 8556835
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920799
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920663
    2007 Gia 681
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon
    2006 Pulse PDSCD 643
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 3759422
    2006 EMI Classics 46443
    2006 Warner Classics 4696593
    2005 Glencoe McGraw-Hill / McGraw Hill Glencoe 61127
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000421602
    2005 Naxos 8557643
    2004 St. Olaf Records stolafmanitou3
    2004 Friday Music 1026
    2003 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41172
    2003 Griffin 4040
    2003 Meridian Records 84158
    2002 Virgin Classics 562059
    2002 Upbeat Classics 143
    2002 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243575069
    2001 CBC Records PSCD2024
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67428
    2001 Bandleader / Emblem CHM 8001
    2001 GMN (Global Music Network) 110
    2000 Castle Music Ltd. 517/5
    2000 Virgin 45400
    2000 Platinum Entertainment 526
    1999 Pearl GEMMCD 9243
    1999 Chandos 2409
    1998 Symposium 1165
    1998 BELART 4500202
    1998 Dutton Vocalion 7031
    1998 BELART 4616082
    1996 Vanguard Classics 8105
    1995 Koch 7168
    1995 Windham Hill Records 11177
    1994 Universal Distribution 4500202
    1994 Saga Records EC3353-2
    1994 Saydisc 333
    1992 Nimbus Records 5033
    1992 Chandos 8475
    1992 London 433085
    1991 Decca 430 093-2DWO
    Skylark Music 9602
    Saga Records 9044
    Virgin 59581
    Angel Records 56830B
    EMI Music Distribution 67110
    Saga Classics 3339
    Unicorn-Kanchana 9113