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: The Pilgrim's Progress / Hickox, Et Al
Release Date: 05/19/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9625   Number of Discs: 2
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Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss / Hickox, Bbc National
Release Date: 11/25/2003   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5020   Number of Discs: 2
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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 26-50 of 122 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Jack Mitchener Plays Christmas Organ Music
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 936 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marcel Dupré,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant  ... 
    Performer:  Jack Mitchener
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  • 27.
    English Music For Strings / Sir John Barbirolli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85187 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Allegri String Quartet,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 28.
    Owain Arwel Hughes Conducts Much Loved Music / Halle Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62008 Release Date: 01/04/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Bell,  Roger Rostron,  Pamela Coburn,  John Dickinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra Chorus
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  • 29.
    Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst / Cooke, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28740 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius,  Anonymous  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Cooke
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  • 30.
    Essential Strings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94919 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Luigi Boccherini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Maxim Vengerov,  Vag Papian,  Georges Armand,  Jean-Patrice Brosse
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi,  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
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  • 31.
    Early One Morning - Folksongs & Spirituals / Higginbottom, Choir Of New College
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4675459 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Nicholas Fuggle,  Eamonn Dougan,  Philip Cave,  Roderick Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 32.
    Vaughan Williams
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3107 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Tina Louise Cayouette,  Mariane Patenaude
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  • 33.
    Best Children's Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17626 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 648500 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 35.
    Best of British - The Nation's Favourite Classical Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 31600 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Robert Cohen,  Paul Beniston,  Mair Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Simon Rattle,  Norman Del Mar,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi of England
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  • 36.
    Vaughan Williams: Tallis Fantasia; Greensleeves; The Lark Ascending
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27910 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Sarah Chang,  Christopher Balmer,  Ian Partridge,  David Willison  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Vernon Handley,  Bernard Haitink,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Early Music Group
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  • 37.
    Holst: The Planets; Vaughan Williams / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38060 Release Date: 03/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Sir John Barbirolli - The Great EMI Recordings - 40th Anniversary
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57767 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giacomo Puccini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  André Navarra
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Music Mosaic, Vol. 1
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637584812 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Aguirre,  Allyson Pérez,  Alfredo Luzón,  Aaron Whitehurst  ... 
    Conductor:  Jorge Aguirre
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  • 40.
    Christmas In The Grand Tradition / Conte, Philadelphia Brass
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49264 Release Date: 10/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaston-Marie Déthier,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Traditional,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Richard Conte
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Brass Ensemble
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  • 41.
    Best Wedding 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64262 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Christopher van Kampen,  Susan Tomes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Reginald Kilbey,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Vienna String Sextet Members,  Ensemble Berlin  ... 
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  • 42.
    Andre Previn - The Great Recordings - The LSO Years 1971-1980
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 67969 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Samuel Barber,  Carl Orff,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  André Previn,  Sheila Armstrong,  Thomas Allen,  Gerald English  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  St. Clement Danes Grammar School Boys Choir,  London Symphony Chorus
    CD: $68.99
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  • 43.
    Flute Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280202 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Albert Roussel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jacques Ibert,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Grandt,  Irena Grafenauer,  William Bennett,  Timothy Hutchins  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Benjamin Britten,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grumiaux Trio,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 44.
    Homage (Cd & Dvd) / James Ehnes
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4038 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Félicien César David,  Arthur Benjamin,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  James Ehnes,  Eduard Laurel
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  • 45.
    Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On Greensleeves, The Lark Ascending, Symphony No 2 & 5, Etc
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80738 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    CD: $11.99
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  • 46.
    Eternal Vaughan Williams
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572080 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Thomas Fitches,  David Greed
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones,  James Judd,  Kees Bakels,  Noel Edison
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  English Northern Philharmonia,  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 47.
    Vaughan Williams - The Collector's Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 06636 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Henry Walford Davies
    Performer:  Norma Burrowes,  Ian Partridge,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Raimund Herincx  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Meredith Davies,  Sir Charles Groves,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 48.
    The Best Of Vaughan Williams
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556835 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  David Greed,  Christopher Maltmann,  Christopher Maltman,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones,  Kees Bakels,  James Judd,  Paul Daniel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  English Northern Philharmonia  ... 
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  • 49.
    Beautiful Wedding - Prelude - Mozart, Handel, Pachelbel, Etc
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80716 Release Date: 05/20/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Christoph Pezel,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis,  Robert McDuffie,  William Tritt,  Allan Vogel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Erich Kunzel,  Martin Pearlman,  Keith Clark  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Empire Brass,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 50.
    Elgar: Introduction And Allegro, Etc; Vaughan Williams / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419191 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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