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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: 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: 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: Symphonies 7 & 8 / Bakels, Bournemouth So
Release Date: 08/25/1998   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550737   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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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 51-75 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Funeral Music
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 82046 Release Date: 02/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gabriel Fauré,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Marcos Fink,  Elisabeth Graf,  Jeffrey Francis,  Efrat Ben Nun  ... 
    Conductor:  David Hill,  Roger Norrington,  Michel Corboz,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir,  London Classical Players,  Lausanne Instrumental Ensemble  ... 
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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works / Haitink, Chang
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86026 Release Date: 11/02/2004   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Jonathan Summers,  Felicity Lott,  Amanda Roocroft,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Cantilena
    CD: $48.99
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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    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
    CD: $15.99
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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    The Four Seasons - A Musical Calendar Of Favorite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469376 Release Date: 01/13/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Astor Piazzolla,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Gallois,  Göran Söllscher,  Dino Ciani,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Claudio Abbado,  Lorin Maazel,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 61.
    Nigel Kennedy's Greatest Hits
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57330 Release Date: 01/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Vittorio Monti,  Nigel Kennedy,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy,  Janice Knight,  Gregory Knowles,  Doug Boyle  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Barritt,  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Kroke,  London Voices  ... 
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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    British Composers - Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 574782 Release Date: 04/02/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  John Carol Case,  Peter Katin,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Meredith Davies,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Ambrosian Ladies Chorus  ... 
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    The Lark Ascending / Tovey, Hoebig, Winnipeg So
    Label: Cbc Sm 5000 Series   Catalog: 5176 Release Date: 07/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Gwen Hoebig
    Conductor:  Bramwell Tovey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winnepeg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 67.
    A Classic Thanksgiving - We Gather Together
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555293 Release Date: 10/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Billy Mayerl,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Dave Green
    Conductor:  Gary Carpenter,  Josef Kopelman,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana,  Northern Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    Hickox Conducts Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music, Old King Cole, Mystical Songs, Etc.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73986 Release Date: 08/01/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Stephen Roberts,  Roger Winfield,  Bradley Creswick
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia of England,  Northern Sinfonia Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 71.
    String Serenades - Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 61763 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Josef Suk,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Chase,  Alexander Balanescu,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Douglas Cummings  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    Holst: Savitri, Etc / Miller, Won Han, O'neill, Manhattan
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 145 Release Date: 05/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Ik-Hwan Bae,  Han Kyu Won,  Simon O'Neill,  Jessica Miller
    Conductor:  Glen Barton Cortese
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia
    CD: $14.99
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  • 74.
    Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody No 1, Etc /Thomson, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9775 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael Davis
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 75.
    Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works / Marriner, Boult, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 460357 Release Date: 05/11/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Tommy Reilly,  Celia Nicklin
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Queen's Hall Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $16.99
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