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: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Armstrong, Haitink
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 72   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: The First Nowell; Bach: Cantata 63; Mendelssohn: Vom Himmel Hoch
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 50   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, Symphony No 4, Lark Ascending / Spano
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Aso Media (Label)  
Catalog: 1005   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 26-50 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Best Of Nigel Kennedy
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31514 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
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  • 27.
    Best Of British - The Nation's Favourite Classical Music
    Label: Emi 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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  • 28.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4782589 Release Date: 08/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Edvard Grieg,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Cristina Ortiz,  Pascal Rogé,  Iona Brown,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Patrick Summers  ... 
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7707282 Release Date: 07/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Pauline Lowbury
    Conductor:  Nicholas Cleobury
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  • 31.
    Classical Meditation
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570364-65 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alla Pavlova,  Peter Sculthorpe,  Einojuhani Rautavaara,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  William Barton,  Michael Cox,  Nicholas Daniel,  David Greed  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  James Judd,  Hannu Lintu,  David Lloyd-Jones  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra,  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    Simon Rattle - British Music
    Label: Emi 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  ... 
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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    20th-century Masterpieces - 100 Years Of Classical Music
    Label: Emi 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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  • 40.
    Vaughan Williams: World Of Vaughan Williams
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430093 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Tear
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    Music For Fitness
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 729035 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Paul Dukas,  Manuel de Falla,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  Anthony Marwood,  Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey,  Gisbert Näther  ... 
    Conductor:  Tadeusz Wojciechowski,  Leonard Slatkin,  Charles Gerhardt,  Nicholas McGegan  ... 
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    The Essential Vaughan Williams / Willcocks, Boult, Bean, Barbirolli, Et Al
    Label: Emi 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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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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  ... 
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  • 50.
    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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