"Star of the County Down" is an old Irish ballad set near Banbridge in County Down, in Northern Ireland. The words are by Cathal McGarvey (1866–1927) from Ramelton, County Donegal. The tune, a pentatonic melody, is similar to that of several other works, including the almost identical English tune "Kingsfold", well known from several popular hymns, such as "Led By the Spirit". The folk tune was the basis for Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus.It is commonly played both as a reel and a waltz. Some Irish sessions play both, "3x waltz time, followed by 3x march time in a set."
The melody is also that of "Dives and Lazarus" -- an English folksong Child ballad 56 in Francis James Childs' authoritative 19th-century collection. Some YouTube versions below: (1) the waltz; (2) two clips of "Dives and Lazarus," one by English guitarist Martin Simpson and one by Maddy Prior, formerly of Steeleye Span; (3), the hymn setting by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams to the text "I heard the voice of Jesus say ..."; and (4) Williams' instrumental theme and variations on "Dives and Lazarus."
Karen and Cort play Star of the County Down Swannanoa. Uploaded by Poodlepups on Aug 17, 2008. Karen and Cort "Dangerman" perform at the Swannanoa open mike during dulcimer week.
Dives and Lazarus - Martin Simpson
Maddy Prior - Dives and Lazarus
I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say. Uploaded by jamjar30002000 on May 21, 2010. Part of an afternoon of worship at Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Georgetown, SC. www.pgwinyah.org
Vaughan Williams "Dives and Lazarus" - Stokowski conducts. Vaughan Williams's Five Variants of "Dives and Lazarus" for Strings and Harp ... This performance also comes from New York, given by the CBS Radio Orchestra on 7 February 1954 under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. He was a fellow student of Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music in the 1890s and a long-time champion of the composer's music.