What is English music? The freshness of a spring morning, or the chaotic bustle of Edwardian London? Michael Seal travels from the cherry blossom of John Foulds’ April England to the glittering streets of Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony – complete with buskers, fog and the chimes of Big Ben. And Lise Berthaud finds the dark heart of Walton’s smouldering Viola Concerto. 

It’s all about colour, it’s all about melody – and it’s all about heritage too: Vaughan Williams himself conducted his London Symphony with the fledgling City of Birmingham Orchestra, back in 1920, and the CBSO was one of the first orchestras to rediscover the vibrant, irresistibly English music of the pre-war composer John Foulds.