The imaginative Toccata is a stunning piece of writing, full of a boldness and vibrancy that belied the age of the composer when he wrote it (he was 84). Phillip Littlemore’s arrangement remains true to the original, capturing the colour of the percussion writing.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony in D minor (his eighth) was composed in 1956, when he was in his 84th year. It is noticeably different from its predecessors in its diminutive scale and comparatively short length. However, the symphony is scored for an unusually large percussion ensemble including vibraphone, xylophone, tubular bells, glockenspiel, tuned gongs and celeste. In the Toccata, the fourth and final movement, Vaughan Williams uses the enlarged percussion forces extensively. The eighth symphony is in some ways a highly imaginative work, perhaps even an experimental one. This brass band transcription tries to remain as true to the original percussion writing as possible, but with the omission of the tuned gongs and celeste—for obvious practical performance reasons!