This is a folk song of Scottish origin of which there are innumerable versions. The modern lyrics ‘the Water is Wide’ was named by Cecil Sharp in 1906 from multiple other sources in Southern England, following English lyrics with a different story.
Benjamin Britten used the melody and verses of The Water is Wide for his version in 1948 which doesn’t have the O Waly Waly verse yet is still called O Waly Waly.
The modern version of the song was sung by Pete Seeger in the folk revival. It has also been recorded by Sarah Brightman, Janet Baker, Sir Thomas Allen whose masterclass at the RCS I attended last week, and Kathleen Ferrier to name just a few.
Here is a performance that I recorded back in August 2013 whilst performing at a recital in Lytham St Annes accompanied by Russell Lomas.
I have really enjoyed publishing these posts on the songs from my album and if you want to check them out again you can find them by selecting Canzoni D’Amore on the menu bar. I do hope that you have enjoyed reading about them.