Music for a Great Garden Garden themes from our musical heritage An album of fragrant music from an age of elegance and refinement. Titles include 'Greensleeves', 'Where the bee sucks', 'Summer is icumen in' and 'Roses in bloom', in a delightful evocation of a great English garden. To misquote a famous line in poetry: a great garden is a joy forever. We, perhaps, do not always appreciate the imagination, ingenuity, planning and construction that went into some of our most famous gardens. If we make a comparison, in musical terms, then a magnificent garden can be compared to a symphony in that they both grow out of a germinal theme and that theme is carried through and developed throughout, resulting finally in a glorious finale or conclusion. We shall explore the life of a man who became our most famous landscape designer gardener and whose legacy is visible throughout England. Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was born in Kirkdale, Northumberland in 1715. He was educated at Cambo School before serving as gardener's boy in the service of Sir William Lorraine. He moved to Buckinghamshire in 1739 and was employed by Lord Cobham at Stowe in 1741. This gave him the opportunity of working with William Kent, one of the founders of the new English style of Landscape Gardening, and John Vanbrugh. Lancelot and Kent became close friends, and he married Kent's daughter. At Stowe, Lancelot was responsible for implementing William Kent's designs, but it seems clear that Lord Cobham also allowed him to take on work for his aristocratic friends while he was still employed at Stowe. Cobham died in 1749 and Lancelot left Stowe to set up his own gardening practice. He became much sought after by the aristocracy and it is estimated that he was responsible for some 170 gardens surrounding the finest houses and estates in Britain. These include Blenheim Palace, Broadlands, Chatsworth, Syon Park, Longleat, Audley End House and Gardens, Harewood House, Castle Ashby Gardens and Moor Park in Hertfordshire. In fact, so numerous are his designs, and so widespread his influence, that it is almost harder to find a prominent country house that did not have a garden designed by him. Lancelot Brown soon acquired the nickname 'Capability' from his habit of telling clients that their gardens had 'great capabilities', something which he proved repeatedly. He has been criticised, with some justification, for destroying the works of previous generations of gardeners to create his own landscapes. His was the grand vision and he preferred to remove the past and create his own gardens. Through him, the English landscape garden became a place of wide, undulating lawns with curving bands and clusters of trees, which gave the impression of a romantic natural vista. He would feature such points of interest as bridges, monuments and even classical temples. It was all scrupulously contrived to convey a sense of natural beauty. In 1764, he was appointed Master Gardener at Hampton Court. His popularity reached its peak at the time of his death in 1783 and it then fell into a decline. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, his reputation was all but forgotten but, a century later, he had been rediscovered as the genius of English garden design. His legacy remains for us today and for future generations to enjoy and appreciate: all from a man who described himself as a 'place-maker' rather than a 'landscape gardener'. Sara Stowe, Sarah Hill, Matthew Spring, Martin Souter, The Oxford Girls' Choir, Elinor Bennett.