Britten began arranging folksongs for his wartime recitals with Pears. The first volume was published in 1943 and all of the seven settings in it are dedicated to friends he and Pears had made in America. Down by the Salley Gardens is dedicated to Clytie Hine Mundy, Pears’s singing teacher in the United States. It is an Irish folksong, with words by W B Yeats. Britten’s setting is simple and understated, with the subtlest of harmonic touches conveying the folly of youth with touching pathos.
from notes by John Evans © 1986