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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: Christmas Carols / Owain Arwel Hughes, Cardiff Festival Choir
Release Date: 11/09/2010   Label: Griffin  
Catalog: 4072   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On Greensleeves, Etc / Judd, Etc
Release Date: 07/15/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555867   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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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 26-50 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Simon Rattle - British Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97588 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Mark-Anthony Turnage,  Nicholas Maw,  Thomas Adčs,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Thomas Allen,  Robert Tear,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $87.98
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  • 27.
    Healing: Music To Soothe The Mind And Body
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001294002 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau,  Heinrich Schiff,  Samuel Sanders,  András Schiff  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Richard Bonynge,  James Judd,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 28.
    100 Best 20th Century Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64249 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  György Ligeti,  John Adams,  George Gershwin,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Wayne Marshall,  Ralph Kirshbaum,  Tasmin Little,  Simon Haram  ... 
    Conductor:  None,  Simon Rattle,  Leonard Slatkin,  Christopher Warren-Green  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artemis String Quartet,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Ultimate Classical Dreams - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280302 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  Jack Brymer,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  David Zinman,  Frederick Fennell,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Tomita Live At Linz, 1984 - The Mind Of The Universe
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: RD85461 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Gustav Holst,  John T. Williams,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Senju,  William Ingle,  Riccardo Lombardi,  Birgit Greiner  ... 
    Conductor:  Isao Tomita
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Plasma Symphony Orchestra,  Linz State Theatre Chorus
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    20th-century Masterpieces - 100 Years Of Classical Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17500 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy,  Frederick Delius,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Christa Ludwig,  Martha Argerich,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    40 Most Beautiful Summer Classics - Mozart, Vivaldi, Debussy, Etc
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 511596 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Alexander Glazunov,  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-François Heisser,  Howard Cook,  Helen Huang,  Malcolm Martineau  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  José Serebrier,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Alain Lombard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    Classical Ecstasy - Classics For A New Age
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 23041 Release Date: 02/21/2008   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  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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
    CD: $15.99
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    Weekend Classics - Weekend Dreams
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000769702 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Narciso Yepes,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Luis Garcia-Navarro,  Daniel Barenboim,  Pierre Boulez,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $18.99
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  • 50.
    The Most Relaxing Violin Album In The World... Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 35177 Release Date: 10/04/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gabriel Fauré,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Itamar Golan,  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Augustin Dumay  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Manuel Rosenthal,  Salvatore Accardo,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bremen State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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