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: Complete Concertos / Thompson, London So
Release Date: 02/01/1994   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9262   Number of Discs: 2
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Vaughan Williams: Donna Nobis Pacem, Etc / Bryden Thomson
Release Date: 09/30/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8590   Number of Discs: 1
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An Introduction to Ralph Vaughan Williams
Release Date: 09/19/2006   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 2028   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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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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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 26-50 of 69 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    English Landscapes / Elder, Halle Orchestra
    Label: Hallé   Catalog: 7512 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Mark Elder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    Classical Ecstasy - Classics For A New Age
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 23041 Release Date: 02/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Johann Pachelbel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Paul Nicholson,  Richard Stoltzman,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Robert Salter,  Alexander Schneider,  Renato Cellini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  Guildhall String Ensemble,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    Vaughan Williams, Delius, Walton / Barenboim, English Co
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419748 Release Date: 01/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Neil Black
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending; Tavener / Benedetti, Litton
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001083002 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Nicola Benedetti
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Altered States - Sierra, Etc / Corporon, North Texas Wind
    Label: Gia   Catalog: 685 Release Date: 04/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roberto Sierra,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Milburn, Dwayne, Capt.,  Frank Ticheli  ... 
    Performer:  Mary Karen Clardy
    Conductor:  Eugene Migliaro Corporon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Texas University Wind Ensemble
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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    Label: Aguava   Catalog: 5637199386 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Cary Boyce
    Performer:  Corey Cerovsek,  Susan [Soprano Vocal] Swaney
    Conductor:  Gerald Sousa
    CD: $24.99
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  • 37.
    Kdfc - Islands Of Sanity 3 - 100% Natural
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557917 Release Date: 11/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Ferde Grofé,  Frederick Delius,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Peter Donohoe,  Idil Biret,  Jénö Jandó  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  William T. Stromberg,  David Lloyd-Jones,  Mike Dixon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Elgar: Violin Concerto;  Vaughan Williams / Hahn, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000312136 Release Date: 11/09/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Elgar: Violin Concertos;  Vaughan Williams / Hahn, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000302602 Release Date: 09/28/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Janine Jansen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000200902 Release Date: 03/09/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Aram Khachaturian,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Janine Jansen
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Heavenly Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000149602 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  Peter White,  Miklós Perényi,  Julian Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Agoult,  Sir Georg Solti,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Valery Gergiev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 44.
    The Four Seasons - A Musical Calendar Of Favorite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469376 Release Date: 01/13/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Karl Goldmark,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Shlomo Mintz  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Arthur Fiedler,  Neeme Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 45.
    Classics - Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 2, Etc / Previn
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80138 Release Date: 08/27/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Barry Griffiths
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    Byways Of British Music / Hickox, Thomson, Et Al
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6611 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Arthur Bliss,  William Alwyn,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Davis,  Phillip Joll,  David Haslam,  Rachel Masters  ... 
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson,  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Northern Sinfonia,  City of London Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 49.
    An Equal Music - Music Featured In The Novel By Vikram Seth
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 466945 Release Date: 08/22/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Honoré,  Rustem Hayroudinoff,  Iona Brown,  Wilhelm Melcher  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart,  Hagen String Quartet members  ... 
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  • 50.
    Violin For Relaxation - Bach, Falla, Mozart, Messiaen, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63676 Release Date: 05/16/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maria Theresia Paradis,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Akiko Meyers,  Sergei Bezrodny,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Sandra Rivers  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Claus Peter Flor,  Leonard Slatkin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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