Ralph Vaughan Williams


Born: Oct 12, 1872; England   Died: Aug 26, 1958; England   Period: 20th Century
Ralph Vaughan Williams left a varied oeuvre that includes orchestral works, songs, operas, and various choral compositions. While primarily drawing on the rich tradition of English folksong and hymnody, Vaughan Williams produced well-loved works that fit into larger European traditions and gained worldwide popularity.
Vaughan Williams, who lost his father early in life, was cared for by his mother. Related, through his mother, to both
Read more Charles Darwin and the Wedgwoods of pottery fame, he grew up without financial worries. He studied history and music at Trinity College, Cambridge, and finished up at the Royal College of Music, where he worked with Parry, Wood, and Stanford. In 1897, the year he married Adeline Fisher, Vaughan Williams traveled to Berlin to study with Max Bruch, also seeking Maurice Ravel as a teacher several years later, despite the fact that the French composer was three years his junior. In 1903, he started collecting English folksongs; certain characteristics of English folk music, particularly its modal tonalities, in many ways informed his approach to composition. Vaughan Williams further developed his style while working as editor of the English Hymnal, which was completed in 1906. His work on the English Hymnal went beyond editing, for he contributed several new hymn tunes, most notably the Sine nomine, the tune for the hymn For All the Saints. The composer's interest in and knowledge of traditional English music is reflected in his song cycle On Wenlock Edge (1909), based on selections from A.E. Housman's immensely popular volume of poetry A Shropshire Lad. In his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, composed in 1910, Vaughan Williams introduced antiphonal effects within the context of modal tonality, juxtaposing consonant, but unrelated, triads. Composed in 1914, his Symphony No. 2, "A London Symphony" brings to life, with great charm, the sounds of London from dawn to dusk. That year, Vaughan Williams also wrote his pastoral The Lark Ascending, for violin and orchestra. When World War I broke out, the 41-year-old composer enlisted as an orderly in the medical corps, becoming famous for organizing choral singing and other entertainment in the trenches. He was commissioned from the ranks, ending his war service as an artillery officer. The war interrupted the composer's work but did not, it seems, disrupt the inner continuity of his creative development. The Symphony No. 3 ("Pastoral"), composed in 1922, conjures up a familiar world, effectively incorporating folksong motives into sonorities created by sequential chords. While critics detected pessimistic moods and themes in the later symphonies, ascribing a shift to a darker vision to the composer's alleged general pessimism about the world, Vaughan Williams refused to attach any programmatic content to these works. However, the composer created a convincing musical description of a desolate world in his Symphony No. 7 "Sinfonia Antarctica" (1952), which was inspired by the request to write the music for the film Scott of the Antarctic. In addition to his symphonies, Vaughan Williams composed highly acclaimed religious music, as well as works inspired by English spiritual literature, culminating in his 1951 opera The Pilgrim's Progress, based on the spiritual classic by John Bunyan. An artist of extraordinary creative energy, Vaughan Williams continued composing with undiminished powers until his death at 87. Read less
Vaughan Williams, Mathias / Bebbington, Ulster Orchestra
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 246   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Complete EMI Recordings / Boult
Release Date: 03/26/2013   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 35672   Number of Discs: 13
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Elgar: Enigma Variations; Vaughan Williams: The Wasps; Greensleeves
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 1292   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos 4 & 8 / Haitink
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 82   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: The First Nowell; Bach: Cantata 63; Mendelssohn: Vom Himmel Hoch
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 50   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 101-110 of 110 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    The Spirit Of England / William Boughton, English So, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5210 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Warlock  ... 
    Performer:  Adrian Partington,  Robert Johnston,  Sylvia Knussen,  James Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  English Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 102.
    Classics For All Seasons - Winter
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80330 Release Date: 11/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Francis Poulenc,  Howard Blake,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Barry Gordon,  Michael Murray,  Angel Romero,  John O'Conor  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Robert Shaw,  Martin Pearlman,  Leonard Slatkin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Festival Singers,  Boston Baroque  ... 
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  • 103.
    Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 8, Etc / Thomson, London So
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8828 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Berlitz Passport - The Music Of The British Isles
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47280 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  David Nadien,  Edward Carroll
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Richard P. Condie,  Richard Kapp  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 105.
    A Christmas Festival With Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 6428 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Raymond Scott,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  John Frederic Coots,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Performer:  Al Hirt,  Leo Litwin,  Alfred Krips
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Arthur Fiedler Orchestra,  Arthur Fiedler Chorus
    CD: $8.99
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  • 106.
    Barber Adagio And Other Romantic Favorites For Strings
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 38484 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  David Nadien
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 107.
    Pachelbel: Kanon; Et Al / Slatkin, Saint Louis So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80080 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Pachelbel,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Twentieth Century Classics / Marriner, Academy Of St Martin
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420155 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Karita Mattila
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 109.
    Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On A Theme By Tallis / Marriner
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414595 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Skaila Kanga,  Kenneth Heath,  Trevor Connah  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 110.
    Panorama - The Sound Of England
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469274 Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Daniel Barenboim,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Norman Del Mar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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