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

Vaughan Williams: Wasps, Lark Ascending / Seaman
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28360   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst / Cooke, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/13/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28740   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis; Purcell, Dvorak / Stokowski
Release Date: 10/26/2010   Label: Newton Classics  
Catalog: 8802025   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Armstrong, Haitink
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 72   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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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 101-125 of 162 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Stokowski - Classic 1947-1949 Columbia Recordings Vol 1
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 533 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 102.
    Christmas Adagios - Holiday Classics To Touch Your Heart
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63972 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Michael Praetorius,  Arcangelo Corelli,  John Henry Hopkins Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Krips,  James Galway,  John De Lancie,  Emily Mitchell  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Robert Salter,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  James Galway  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Canadian Brass,  Guildhall String Ensemble  ... 
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  • 103.
    Vaughan Williams: Partita, Concerto For Oboe, Etc / Handley
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64114 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Jonathan Small
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Boston Pops Adagios - Romantic Escapes For The Dreamer In You
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63946 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Newton Wayland,  Leo Litwin,  Samuel Lipman,  Martin Hoherman
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 105.
    The #1 Classical Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470933 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nigel Kennedy,  Carlos Bonell  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Willi Boskovsky,  Julius Rudel,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 106.
    Elgar: Enigma Variations, Etc;  Vaughan Williams: Fantasias
    Label: Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 74880 Release Date: 05/07/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Mair Jones,  Colin Chambers,  David Bell
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 107.
    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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  • 108.
    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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  • 109.
    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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  • 110.
    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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  • 111.
    Vaughan Williams: Symphonies & Other Orchestral Works / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73924 Release Date: 11/07/2000   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Vitya Vronsky,  Victor Babin,  Hugh Bean,  Marie Hayward  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 112.
    The Flight Of The Bumblebee - Spring Music
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 469692 Release Date: 09/13/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Ottorino Respighi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Oleg Maisenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 113.
    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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  • 114.
    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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  • 115.
    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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  • 116.
    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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  • 117.
    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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  • 118.
    Classical Rockies - London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Platinum Disc   Catalog: 1257 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Claude Debussy,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 119.
    The Little Record Of Calm - Favorite Adagios
    Label: Fine Tune   Catalog: 4412 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Edvard Grieg,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Lucy Parham,  Peter Degenhardt,  Michael Dauth,  Catherine Cournot  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Gibson,  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Symphony Orchestra
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  • 120.
    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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  • 121.
    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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  • 122.
    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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  • 123.
    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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  • 124.
    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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  • 125.
    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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