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Vaughan Williams
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams, (born October 12, 1872, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England—died August 26, 1958, London, England), English composer in the first half of the 20th century, founder of the nationalist movement in English music.

Vaughan Williams studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and in London at the Royal College of Music under two major figures of the late 19th-century renaissance of English music, Sir Charles Stanford and Sir Hubert Parry. In 1897–98 he studied in Berlin under the noted composer Max Bruch and in 1909 in Paris under Maurice Ravel. About 1903 he began to collect folk songs, and in 1904–06 he was musical editor of The English Hymnal, for which he wrote his celebrated “Sine Nomine” (“For All the Saints”). After artillery service in World War I, he became professor of composition at the Royal College of Music.

His studies of English folk song and his interest in English music of the Tudor period fertilized his talent, enabling him to incorporate modal elements (i.e., based on folk song and medieval scales) and rhythmic freedom into a musical style at once highly personal and deeply English.

Vaughan Williams’s compositions include orchestral, stage, chamber, and vocal works. His three Norfolk Rhapsodies (numbers 2 and 3 later withdrawn), notably the first in E minor (first performed, 1906), were the first works to show his assimilation of folk song contours into a distinctive melodic and harmonic style. His nine symphonies cover a vast expressive range. Especially popular are the second, A London Symphony (1914; rewritten 1915; rev. 1918, 1920, 1934), and the seventh, Sinfonia Antartica (1953), an adaptation of his music for the film Scott of the Antarctic (1949). Other orchestral works include the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910); concerti for piano (later arranged for two pianos and orchestra), oboe, and tuba; and the Romance for harmonica and orchestra (1952).


Of his stage works, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1951) and Job (1931), a masque for dancing, reflect his serious, mystical side. Hugh the Drover (1924), a ballad opera, stems from his folk song interest. Riders to the Sea (1937) is a poignant setting of John Millington Synge’s play.

He wrote many songs of great beauty, including On Wenlock Edge (1909), set to poems of A.E. Housman and consisting of a cycle for tenor, string quartet, and piano (later arranged for tenor and orchestra) and Five Mystical Songs (1911), set to poems of George Herbert. Particularly notable among his choral works are the Mass in G Minor, the cantatas Toward the Unknown Region (1907) and Dona Nobis Pacem (1936; Grant Us Peace), and the oratorio Sancta Civitas (1926; The Holy City). He also wrote many part-songs, as well as hymn and folk song settings.

Vaughan Williams broke the ties with continental Europe that for two centuries through George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, and lesser German composers had made Britain virtually a musical province of Germany. Although his predecessors in the English musical renascence, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Hubert Parry, and Sir Charles Stanford, remained within the Continental tradition, Vaughan Williams, like such nationalist composers as the Russian Modest Mussorgsky, the Czech Bedřich Smetana, and the Spanish Manuel de Falla, turned to folk song as a wellspring of native musical style.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams: "A London Symphony"
 
Vaughan Williams's great paean to the city of London, written shortly before the outbreak of the Great War of 1914-18.

1st movment: Lento - Allegro risoluto 00:00
2nd movement: Lento: 14:00
3rd movement: Scherzo 24:43
4th movement Andante con moto - Maestoso all marcia 32:28

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
R. Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony
 
1st movement: Begins at 00:00
2nd movement: Begins at 20:55
3rd movement: Begins at 33:00
4th movement: Begins at 40:57
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 3, 'Pastoral'
 
Roger Norrington conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams - Symphony No 4 in F minor - Sargent
 
Symphony No 4 in F minor

00:00 Allegro
07:43 Andante moderato
17:13 Scherzo. Allegro molto
22:30 Finale con epilogo fugato. Allegro molto

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Malcolm Sargent, conductor

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 - Chicago Symphony / Slatkin
 
Few great American orchestras have recorded the Vaughan Williams's symphonies but luckily there are a number of 'live' performances taken off the radio. Here is a 1988 broadcast of No. 5 by the wonderful Chicago Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. His complete set of Vaughan Williams's symphonies was recorded in England, like all the other RVW cycles at the time, rather than in America. Had he recorded it in Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., it would have been rather more interesting!

1st mvt.: 00:15
2nd mvt.: 11:50
3rd mvt,: 17:28
4th mvt.: 30:50

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 6 in E minor - BBC Proms 2012 (Andrew Manze)
 
First heard in 1948, the symphony's violence and dissonance came as a huge shock after the serenity of Symphony No 5.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra - Andrew Manze conductors at the Royal Albert Hall - London - BBC PROMS 2012.
Presenter: Petroc Trelawny
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 8
 
1. Fantasia 0:00
2. Scherzo 11:00
3. Cavatina 14:48
4. Toccata 24:01
RVW's Eighth Symphony in D minor was written between 1953 and 1955, when the composer was in his early eighties. It is dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli, who gave the first performance. The symphony is the shortest of all the nine symphonies and, perhaps, the most varied in mood. It is remarkably inventive, especially in the composer's experiments in sonority. Not only does he use a much-expanded percussion section, but the two central movements use only the wind section and string section respectively.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 9 in E minor
 
RVW's last symphonic utterance, composed in 1956-7 and first performed a few weeks before his death at the age of 85. At one time, VW intended it to be a symphony about Salisbury and the surrounding countryside and there were also to be references to Thomas Hardy's tragic novel 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'. This idea was abandoned but many traces of the original idea survive in the finished work. My video makes reference to the city of Salisbury and the Wessex countryside, and there are also allusions to 'Tess'. Those who know the novel may spot Tess herself, Stonehenge, the scene of the novel's climax, a prison-like building and a gruesome symbol of poor Tess's tragic fate. This EMI recording is by Vernon Handley with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Piano Concerto in C major
 
RVW began his Piano Concerto in 1926 but did not complete it until 1931. It is dedicated to Harriet Cohen (pictured in this video), who gave the first performance in February 1933, with Adrian Boult conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Queen's Hall in London. The concerto is in three movements which play without a break. In this performance on the NAXOS label, Ashley Wass is the soloist, with James Judd conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams, Suite for Viola and Orchestra.
 
The Suite for Viola and Orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams is a work in eight movements for solo viola and orchestra completed in 1934. The Suite is dedicated to violist Lionel Tertis, who premiered the work on November 12, 1934 at the Queen's Hall in London under the baton of Malcolm Sargent.

Anne Burns(viola)/Anchorage Symphony Orchestra/Randall Fleischer.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams: Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra (Thomson, London Symphony Orchestra)
 
Intrada • 2:58. Burlesca ostinata • 6:11. Sarabande • 9:35. Scherzo • 12:03. March & reprise
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody No 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody No 2
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams's Second Norfolk Rhapsody in the world premier recording by the late Richard Hickox with the LSO. This is the second of VW's three Norfolk Rhapsodies; sadly the third of the set is lost. VW originally envisaged that the three pieces could be played together to form a Norfolk Symphony but seems to have abandoned this idea. Oddly, though he withdrew Number 2 and seems to have destroyed Number 3, the first Norfolk Rhapsody is still usually known as 'Number 1'. The folk-songs used in this piece were collected in the county of Norfolk, many from the fisher-folk of King's Lynn and the inmates of the town's Workhouse.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Oboe Concerto in A minor
 
This concerto was written in 1944, for the oboist Leon Goossens and was first performed in Liverpool that year, the scheduled London premier having been cancelled due to German bombing. This performance is by Robin Canter, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd. Referring to the closing bars of the third movement, the Vaughan Williams scholar, Dr Michael Kennedy, said of this work: "Very little of VW's music is nostalgic, but here he seems to be yearning for some lost and precious thing. Characteristically, he has put what are some of his most intimate longings into a work which has generally been overlooked. For a few bars the veil is torn aside." Most listeners will be able to identify the bars Dr Kennedy is referring to.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams
 
'The Lark Ascending', inspired by a poem of the same name by George Meredith, was begun shortly before the outbreak of the First World War but not completed until Vaughan Williams returned from active service in France. This performance is by Nicola Benedetti with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
 
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
for Double Stringed Orchestra

David Nolan, Leader
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Bryden Thomson

 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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