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Ralph Vaughan Williams

Biography

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
Flowers Of The Field /  Williams, Irons, Wetton, London  Mozart Players
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573426   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Choral Works / Best, Corydon Singers
Release Date: 06/10/2008   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 44321   Number of Discs: 4
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Vaughan Williams: Five Tudor Portraits, Five Mystical Songs
Release Date: 06/08/1999   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55004   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Riders To The Sea / Walker, Thomson
Release Date: 08/26/2008   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4390   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Toward The Unknown Region, Etc / Best
Release Date: 02/01/1994   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 66655   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 101-125 of 149 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Holst: The Planets;  Vaughan Williams: Fantasias / Slatkin
    Label: Rca 24/96 Sound Dimension   Catalog: 68018 Release Date: 10/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New London Children's Choir
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  • 102.
    For Your Life - For A Rainy Day
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470237 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Edvard Grieg,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Raymond Leppard,  Joshua Bell,  Iona Brown,  Carmel Kaine  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Sir Georg Solti,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 103.
    Eloquence - Day Dreams - Music For Romantic Moments Vol 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469670 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Gioachino Rossini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Narciso Yepes,  Mischa Maisky,  Patrick Gallois,  Fabrice Pierre  ... 
    Conductor:  Luis Garcia-Navarro,  Thomas Füri,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Neeme Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Camerata Bern,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 104.
    Westminster - Holst: The Planets; Vaughan-Williams / Boult
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471240 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus
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  • 105.
    Royal Strings / Charles Rosekrans, Royal PO
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80562 Release Date: 05/22/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Jackson,  Clio Gould
    Conductor:  Charles Rosekranz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 106.
    British Composers - Hickox Conducts Vaughan Williams
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73986 Release Date: 08/01/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Stephen Roberts,  Roger Winfield,  Bradley Creswick
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia of England,  Northern Sinfonia Chorus
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  • 107.
    Night Air - The Relaxing Side Of Classical Music
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80558 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Ottorino Respighi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Frances Tietov
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 108.
    String Serenades - Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 61763 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Josef Suk,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Chase,  Alexander Balanescu,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Douglas Cummings  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 109.
    Elgar: Serenade, Etc;  Vaughan Williams / Barbirolli, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67264 Release Date: 03/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Sinfonia of London,  Allegri String Quartet
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  • 110.
    Best Of The Millennium - Top 40 Classical Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463240 Release Date: 02/08/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé,  Cheryl Studer,  Mischa Maisky,  Yuli Reyentovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Norman Del Mar,  Daniel Barenboim,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 111.
    Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody No 1, Etc /Thomson, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9775 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael Davis
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 112.
    Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss, Sea Songs, Etc
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 2409 Release Date: 05/18/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Stephen Varcoe,  Janet Hilton,  Keith Swallow,  Frederick Riddle  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Vernon Handley,  Brian Kay,  George Hurst  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 113.
    Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works / Marriner, Boult, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 460357 Release Date: 05/11/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Tommy Reilly,  Celia Nicklin
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Queen's Hall Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 114.
    Forever England - Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Et Al
    Label: Imp Carlton Classics   Catalog: 6702799 Release Date: 03/23/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  William Byrd,  John Rutter,  Cecil Armstrong Gibbs  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Preston,  Ruth Watson Henderson,  Gillian Howard,  Paul Houle  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Ashworth Bartle,  Willfried Boettcher,  James Judd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Children's Chorus,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 115.
    A Portrait Of Vaughan Williams
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1754 Release Date: 02/23/1999   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iain Simcock,  Audrey Douglas,  Thomas Waddington,  Susan Lynn  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington,  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Christ Church Cathedral Choir,  English String Orchestra,  Medici String Quartet
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  • 116.
    Suite Enfantine / Israelievitch, Sebastian
    Label: Fleur De Son   Catalog: 57936 Release Date: 12/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude René G. Pascal,  Arvo Pärt,  Antonio Bazzini,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Israelievitch,  Stephanie Sebastian
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  • 117.
    Carol Of The Bells - Carols For Handbells And Organ
    Label: Platinum Entertainment   Catalog: 1805 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  John Henry Hopkins Jr.,  Johann Pachelbel,  Traditional  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  First Baptist Bells
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  • 118.
    Home For The Holidays / Eaken Piano Trio
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554099 Release Date: 09/08/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Pietro Yon,  Mel Torme,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Nancy Baun,  Gloria Whitney,  John Eaken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eaken Piano Trio
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  • 119.
    The Complete Wedding Album - There Is Love
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80490 Release Date: 04/28/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Richard Wagner,  Samuel Barber,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Angel Romero,  Joseph Silverstein,  Larry Cooperman,  Michael Chertock  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Erich Kunzel,  Leonard Slatkin,  Keith Clark  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
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  • 120.
    Fantasia On Greensleeves, Etc / Neville Marriner, Asmf
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 452707 Release Date: 08/26/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Frederick Delius,  George Butterworth,  Peter Warlock  ... 
    Performer:  Raymond Keenlyside,  Kenneth Essex,  Hugh Maguire,  Kenneth Heath  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 121.
    Boston Tea Party / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 68793 Release Date: 05/20/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Balfe,  Richard Adler,  Will Hudson,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 122.
    Vaughan Williams, Delius / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 62645 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Rafael Druian
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Louis Lane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Sinfonietta
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  • 123.
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454172 Release Date: 09/06/1996  
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Della Jones
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra,  Royal Choral Society Choir
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  • 124.
    Nocturne / Leonard Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62617 Release Date: 06/11/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Aaron Copland,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 125.
    Musical Colors / Wayne Hedrick, Hye-yun Chung Bennett
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11063 Release Date: 05/21/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Lauber,  Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marin Marais  ... 
    Performer:  Wayne Hedrick,  Hye-Yun Chung Bennett
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