Two Folk Pieces

 

This pair of pieces is for solo harp. Both pieces are based on folk songs which have some connection with Wiltshire. 'Salisbury Plain' is based on the folk song of the same name, found in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, edited by Vaughn-Williams and A.L.Lloyd. It is a song that is found all over the country (Vaughn-Williams collected it in Sussex for example), but its title of course provides a link with the locality. 'Maisry' on the other hand is based on the song 'Lady Maisry', which was collected in the workhouse of the Wiltshire town of Tisbury in the early part of the 20th century, and so its connection with Wiltshire, and the location of its premiere, is much closer.

 

'Maisry' was premiered by Sioned Williams at the Ashley Wood Festival, Tisbury on 30th June 2012. 'Salisbury Plain' has yet to be performed.

 

 

Introduction to 'Maisry'

The rose and the briar grew side by side
Till they could grow no higher
They met at the top in a true lovers knot
And the rose clung around the sweet briar

 

I have based this piece on a version of the folk tune 'Lady Maisry' collected from the Tisbury Union (workhouse) in Wiltshire in the early years of the twentieth century. The first section is an altered retrograde with the melody backwards, fragments of this forming a slow and introspective second section. In the third section there is a gradual introduction of the original melody, intertwined by variations of the reversal. In total, the piece has a much grander form, even with a coda, and so can best be thought of as a miniature.

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© 2018 Michael Stimpson