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
A Vaughan Williams Hymnal / Marlow, Trinity College Choir
Release Date: 08/12/1997   Label: Conifer  
Catalog: 51249   Number of Discs: 1
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Husa, Copland, Vaughan Williams, Hindemith / Eastman Wind Ensemble
Release Date: 05/11/1989   Label: Cbs Masterworks  
Catalog: 44916   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Violin Concertos;  Vaughan Williams / Hahn, Et Al
Release Date: 09/28/2004   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 000302602   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Violin Concerto;  Vaughan Williams / Hahn, Et Al
Release Date: 11/09/2004   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 000312136   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 26-50 of 147 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On Greensleeves; Oboe Concerto; The Lark Ascending; Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis
    Label: Collins Classics   Catalog: 4 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Julia Girdwood
    Conductor:  Robert Haydon Clark
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of London
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    Instrumental Music For Christmas
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 9.00104 Release Date: 12/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Katherine K. Davis,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Traditional,  James Pierpont  ... 
    Performer:  Gloria Whitney,  Nancy Baun,  John Eaken
    Conductor:  Peter Breiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Eaken Piano Trio
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 48029 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    Holst: The Planets; Vaughan Williams / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38060 Release Date: 03/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Sir John Barbirolli - The Great EMI Recordings - 40th Anniversary
    Label: Emi 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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    Vaughan Williams: Wasps, Lark Ascending / Seaman
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28360 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Jonathan Carney
    Conductor:  Christopher Seaman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    Zen Classics - Mozart, Debussy, Etc / L. Maazel, P. Jarvi, N. Dessay, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 34865 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Barbara Hendricks,  Augustin Dumay,  Steven Isserlis  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Andrew Parrott,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen,  Taverner Players,  French National Radio Orchestra  ... 
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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
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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  ... 
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  • 48.
    Original Jacket Collection - Eugene Ormandy
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 727987 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Anshel Brusilow,  Isaac Stern,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    The Essential Vaughan Williams / Willcocks, Boult, Bean, Barbirolli, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 07992 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Robin Doveton,  Nigel Perrin,  John Eaton,  David Van Asch  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Philip Ledger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Choir,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  The Wallace Collection  ... 
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Ralph Vaughan Williams


WORKS
Symphony No. 5 in D: I. Preludio (Moderato - Allegro - Tempo I)
Symphony No. 5 in D: II. Scherzo (Presto misterioso)
Symphony No. 5 in D: III. Romanza (Lento)
Symphony No. 5 in D: IV. Passacaglia (Moderato - Allegro - Tempo primo - Tempo del Preludio)
I. Song for all Seas, all Ships
II. On the Beach at Night, alone
III. Scherzo: The Waves
IV. The Explorers: Grave e molto adagio
I. Lento - Allegro risoluto
II. Lento
III. Scherzo [Nocturne]: Allegro vivace - Andantino
IV. Andante con moto - Maestoso alla marcia [quasi lento] - Allegro - Andantino ma sostenuto - Tempo primo - Allegro - Lento - Epilogue: Andante sostenuto - Lento