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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
Vaughan Williams: Piano Quintet, Quintet in D... / London Soloists
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 573191   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: The First Nowell, Etc / Hickox, Et Al
Release Date: 10/03/2006   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10385   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Hodie; Fantasia On Christmas Carols
Release Date: 11/20/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570439   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Sacred Choral Music / Timothy Brown, Choir Of Clare College
Release Date: 02/23/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572465   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Ten Blake Songs, On Wenlock Edge; Warlock: The Curlew / Mark Padmore
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807566   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Browse 51-75 of 147 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    The Vaughan Williams Experience / Various
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4696593 Release Date: 04/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Masters Of Classical Music Vol 6 / Vassil Kazandjeiv, Sofia So
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 248 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Johann Pachelbel,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Conductor:  Vassil Kazandjiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 55.
    40 Most Beautiful Spring Classics - Vivaldi, Glazunov, Copland, Etc / Masur, Koopman, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 447100 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Marieke Blankestijn,  Sumi Jo,  Barbara Bonney,  Viktoria Postnikova  ... 
    Conductor:  James Conlon,  Kurt Masur,  Zubin Mehta,  Hugh Wolff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    Clair De Lune - Romantic Classical Showpieces / Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 35039 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rudolf Sieczynski,  Johannes Brahms,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 57.
    Best Romantic Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15490 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Lucio Quarantotto,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Byzantine,  Amy Nuttall,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Sharon Isbin  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kershaw,  Seiji Ozawa,  Lawrence Foster,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    Christmas Break - A Relaxing Classical Mix
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80687 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harold Edwin Darke,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis,  Michael Chertock,  Laurie Monahan
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Leonard Slatkin,  Craig Jessop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chamber Singers,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir  ... 
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  • 59.
    40 Most Beautiful Classical Anthems
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 284732 Release Date: 08/21/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Aram Khachaturian,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
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  • 60.
    Musical Christmas Tree - Morton Gould
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7931 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Traditional,  Katherine K. Davis,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Conductor:  Morton Gould
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Morton Gould Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 61.
    Radiance - Down Time - Classical Music For Quiet Moments
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17649 Release Date: 06/05/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
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  • 62.
    The Ultimate Most Relaxing Classical Music In The Universe
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17637 Release Date: 02/27/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Charles Gounod,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Konstantin Lifschitz,  Susanna Mildonian,  Maxence Larrieu,  Jean-Jacques Kantorow  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Manze,  Antoni Ros Marbà,  Sir Charles Groves,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Stravaganza Cologne,  Netherlands Chamber Orchestra,  Zurich Baroque Strings  ... 
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  • 63.
    British Orchestral Collection / Various
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8502502 Release Date: 11/15/2006   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Bruce Montgomery,  Michael Hurd,  Haydn Wood  ... 
    Performer:  Roderick Williams,  Iain Burnside,  Graham Johnson,  John Metcalfe  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  David Lloyd-Jones,  Michael Tippett,  Adrian Leaper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Duke String Quartet,  Royal Ballet Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 64.
    Ultimate Classical - Chill Out
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766202 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Cooper,  Radu Lupu,  Ilana Vered,  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann,  Stanley Black,  Raymond Agoult,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra of London  ... 
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  • 65.
    An Introduction to Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 2028 Release Date: 09/19/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael Davis
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson,  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Bedtime Beats - The Secret To Sleep
    Label: Rhino Records   Catalog: 77617 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Erik Satie,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Isbin,  Elisabeth Leonskaja,  Nikolai Lugansky,  Jean-François Heisser  ... 
    Conductor:  Howard Griffiths,  Yutaka Sado,  Armin Jordan,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Relaxing Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000666502 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Gabriel Fauré,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Carlos Bonell,  Jorge Bolet,  Andrés Segovia,  Julian Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Enrique Jorda,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Symphony of the Air  ... 
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  • 68.
    Best Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70853 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Alexander Borodin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Henriette Puig-Roget,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart,  Polish Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 69.
    Classical Lounge
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17609 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Susanna Mildonian,  Maxence Larrieu,  John Holloway,  Hans Otto  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Emmanuel Krivine,  Sir Charles Groves,  Vassil Kazandjiev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 70.
    Bear Essentials - Great British Orchestral Classics
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 2428 Release Date: 09/20/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Sir William Walton,  Malcolm Arnold,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Ralph Kirshbaum,  Michael Davis
    Conductor:  Rumon Gamba,  Jan Latham-Koenig,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 71.
    Radiance - Favorite Holiday Classics
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17558 Release Date: 09/20/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Charles Gounod,  Emil Waldteufel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
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  • 72.
    Greatest Hits - Vaughan Williams
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000491802 Release Date: 08/09/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Kenneth Heath,  Trevor Connah,  Stephen Shingles
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 73.
    Breathe - The Relaxing Strings
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80635 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Thomas Canning,  Arvo Pärt  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Edmund-Davies,  Barry Griffiths,  Frances Tietov
    Conductor:  Rudolf Werthen,  Leonard Slatkin,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  André Previn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Fiamminghi,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 74.
    Weekend Classics - Weekend Favourites
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000448502 Release Date: 06/14/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Pietro Mascagni,  Erik Satie,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Christer Thorvaldsson,  Barbara Bonney,  Leo Winland,  Pavel Gililov  ... 
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi,  Seiji Ozawa,  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 75.
    Radiance - Music For The Perfect Weekend
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17482 Release Date: 03/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
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