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: Wasps, Lark Ascending / Seaman
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28360   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst / Cooke, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/13/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28740   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis; Purcell, Dvorak / Stokowski
Release Date: 10/26/2010   Label: Newton Classics  
Catalog: 8802025   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Riders To The Sea / Walker, Thomson
Release Date: 08/26/2008   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4390   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 51-75 of 104 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 56.
    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  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    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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  • 62.
    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
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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    Walton: Violin & Viola Concertos; Vaughan Williams / Nigel Kennedy
    Label: Emi Great Artists Of The Century   Catalog: 62814 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    British Composers - Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 85851 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Ian Bostridge,  Sarah Chang
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 67.
    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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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    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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  • 74.
    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
    CD: $16.99
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  • 75.
    Vaughan Williams: Symphonies & Other Orchestral Works / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73924 Release Date: 11/07/2000   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Vitya Vronsky,  Victor Babin,  Hugh Bean,  Marie Hayward  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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