This is wonderful. Everything about the performances of these glorious but mostly little-known pieces is authoritative, placing them in the best possible light, and the recordings are vintage 70s, very clean, clear and sonorous. The music itself is quite beautiful. 'The Banks of Green Willow' and 'A Shropshire Lad' are quite well known, and Boult's association with these pieces went back many, many years - Butterworth was a friend, I imagine ; he was the dedicatee of Vaughan Williams' Second ('London') Symphony and died in the Great War. In fact, the first performance of 'The Banks of Green Willow' was given in 1914 by Boult, in what was his first public conducting engagement with a professional orchestra. These pieces are indescribably beautiful here, and the strong control of structure in these essentially rhapsodic works gives them a strength they do not always have. Howells was a friend too, one of many years (he and Boult died within a day of each other in 1983), and all of his short pieces here have character - hauntingly lyrical in 'Elegy', where the persuasive soloist is Herbert Downes, jaunty and lively in 'Merry Eye' and the 'Scherzo in Arden', dignified and purposeful in 'Procession'. The Hadley piece, written for Vaughan Williams' 70th. birthday, is delightfully airy ; Peter Warlock's 'Old Song' I find less to my taste, but it is interesting. All in all, this beautifully crafted music which is often very English finds memorable expression here, and the CD is a fine tribute to these good composers and the conductor who championed them.