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
On Christmas Night / Hyde, Williams, Choir of Magdalen College
Release Date: 10/28/2016   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 9022   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Complete Symphonies / Thomson, London So
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9087   Number of Discs: 5
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The Film Music Of Ralph Vaughan Williams Vol 1 / Gamba
Release Date: 10/08/2002   Label: Chandos Movies  
Catalog: 10007   Number of Discs: 1
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Film Music Of Ralph Vaughan Williams / Gamba, BBC Philharmonic
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Chandos Movies  
Catalog: 10529-3   Number of Discs: 3
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Vaughan Williams: Hodie, Fantasia On Christmas Carols
Release Date: 08/05/2009   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 69872   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 101-121 of 121 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    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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  • 102.
    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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  • 103.
    For Weddings / Kevin Bowyer
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7712 Release Date: 04/02/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  John Stanley,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Bowyer
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  • 104.
    Vaughan Williams: Over Hill, Over Dale / Stephen Layton
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 66777 Release Date: 11/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael George,  Ian Bostridge
    Conductor:  Stephen Layton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
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  • 105.
    Romance - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68459 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Michie Koyama,  Ayako Shinozaki,  Marie-Claire Jamet,  Riri Shimada
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Eugene Ormandy,  John Georgiadis,  Richard Kapp  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 106.
    Oxford Book Of Wedding Music / Jeremy D. Filsell
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7107 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Andrew Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Jeremy Filsell
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  • 107.
    Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 62664 Release Date: 07/19/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  George Gershwin,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Pasquale Cardillo,  Earl Wild,  Leonard Pennario,  Géza Anda  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Fritz Reiner,  Richard Kapp,  Géza Anda  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 108.
    Meditations For A Quiet Night - Delius, Barber, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7007 Release Date: 05/02/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Charles Hubert Parry,  Aaron Copland,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  English Symphony Orchestra
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  • 109.
    Orchestral Favourites Vol Iii / Boughton, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7013 Release Date: 05/02/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Thomas Waddington,  Susan Lynn,  Audrey Douglas,  Helen Roberts  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Ceremonial Music For Trumpet And Organ / Smedvig, Murray
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80341 Release Date: 04/27/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Battist Martini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Alan Hovhaness,  Jacques de Saint-Luc  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Murray,  Rolf Smedvig,  Jeffrey Curnow,  Martin Hackleman  ... 
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  • 111.
    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
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  • 112.
    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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  • 113.
    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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  • 114.
    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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  • 115.
    Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works / Boult, London Symphony
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64022 Release Date: 10/11/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Hugh Bean
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Vocal Ensemble,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 116.
    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
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  • 117.
    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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  • 118.
    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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  • 119.
    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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  • 120.
    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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  • 121.
    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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