Thursday, 7 January 2016

folk london comment re folk song arrangements

I bought the December/January issue of Folk London at the South Bank last week and was surprised to something from me in it which I'd forgotten about.

I'm on the editor, Peter Crabb-Wyke,'s mailing list as I'm the contact for Morris Folk Club, in relation to our listing in the magazine and on the website.

In his copy reminder email in October he wrote:
'Below is a rough draft of an idea for part of my next editorial. I would love to have some comments to print on this topic either for or against:
'While listening to Kathrine Tickell being interviewed on radio 3’s Private Passions in October I was struck by her choice of Percy Grainger’s arrangement of Shepherd’s Hey. It is fashionable to decry the orchestral arrangements of folk tunes from the early twentieth century but, apart from the instrumentation, I really couldn’t see any difference to some of the fanciful arrangements that the latest generation of young folk musicians are turning out.'

I replied, and he printed my reply (along with the other two replies he'd got). I said:
're your editorial thought, I'd say that we would be wise to embrace the reality that our favourite contemporary versions of old songs will in future years both sound dated & be unappreciated and also come back into fashion & be appreciated, often both at the same time. There's no such thing as bad arrangements, just arrangements one likes and arrangements one doesn't like. The songs and tunes will carry on, regardless.'

I had in mind, though I didn't spell it out, contemporary versions from previous decades which have gone out of and sometimes come back into fashion/acceptability.