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: 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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Elgar: Enigma Variations; The Wasps; Vaughan Williams: Greensleeves / Stern, Kansas City Symphony
Release Date: 01/08/2013   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 129   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending, Violin Concerto; Elgar / Waley-Cohen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Signum U.k.  
Catalog: 399   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Sir John In Love / Hickox, Varcoe, Et Al
Release Date: 07/24/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9928   Number of Discs: 2
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Vaughan Williams: The Pilgrim's Progress / Hickox, Et Al
Release Date: 05/19/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9625   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 76-95 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    A Portrait Of Vaughan Williams
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1754 Release Date: 02/23/1999   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iain Simcock,  Audrey Douglas,  Thomas Waddington,  Susan Lynn  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington,  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Christ Church Cathedral Choir,  English String Orchestra,  Medici String Quartet
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  • 77.
    Explore The Classics - Love
    Label: Allegro   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 03/31/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Alexander Scriabin,  Gustav Mahler,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Julianne Baird,  Ronn McFarlane,  Martin Jones,  Simon Keenlyside  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Leopold Stokowski,  Maurice Abravanel,  Sir Charles Groves  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Houston Symphony Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 78.
    Elgar: Violin Concerto;  Vaughan Williams / Kennedy, Rattle
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 56413 Release Date: 01/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 79.
    Anne Akiko Meyers - Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Etc.
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61700 Release Date: 08/30/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Anne Akiko Meyers
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 80.
    Fantasia On Greensleeves, Etc / Neville Marriner, Asmf
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 452707 Release Date: 08/26/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Frederick Delius,  George Butterworth,  Peter Warlock  ... 
    Performer:  Raymond Keenlyside,  Kenneth Essex,  Hugh Maguire,  Kenneth Heath  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 81.
    Vaughan Williams: Job, The Lark Ascending / Lloyd-jones
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553955 Release Date: 06/10/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  David Greed
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Northern Philharmonia
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  • 82.
    The Lark Ascending - Violin Showpieces
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553509 Release Date: 05/13/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Maurice Ravel,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  David Greed,  Marat Bisengaliev,  János Selmeczy,  Dong-Suk Kang  ... 
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  • 83.
    Vaughan Williams, Delius / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 62645 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Rafael Druian
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Louis Lane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Sinfonietta
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  • 84.
    Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 5, Etc / Chang, Haitink, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55487 Release Date: 01/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Sarah Chang
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 85.
    Vaughan-williams, Elgar / Christopher Warren-green
    Label: Virgin Classics Ultraviolet   Catalog: 61126 Release Date: 08/16/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Douglas Cummings,  Roger Chase,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Alexander Balanescu  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Meditations For A Quiet Dawn - Vaughan Williams, Ives, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7009 Release Date: 05/02/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Waddington,  Audrey Douglas,  Susan Lynn,  Michael Bochmann
    Conductor:  William Boughton,  Tadaaki Otaka,  Adám Fischer,  Michel Swierczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  BBC Welsh Symphony,  Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra  ... 
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  • 87.
    Orchestral Favourites Vol Iii / Boughton, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7013 Release Date: 05/02/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Thomas Waddington,  Susan Lynn,  Audrey Douglas,  Helen Roberts  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Vaughan Williams: Complete Concertos / Thompson, London So
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9262 Release Date: 02/01/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 89.
    The Spirit Of England / William Boughton, English So, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5210 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Warlock  ... 
    Performer:  Adrian Partington,  Robert Johnston,  Sylvia Knussen,  James Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  English Symphony Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Vaughan Williams: The Wasps, Etc;  Delius / Boughton, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5208 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael Bochmann
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Symphony Orchestra
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  • 91.
    Adagio 2 - A Collection Of Orchestral Classics
    Label: Celestial Harmonies   Catalog: 14052 Release Date: 11/03/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Unico Graf Van Wassenaer,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Max Bruch,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Lynn Harrell,  Maria Kliegel,  Jorge Bolet  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Michael Halász,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 92.
    Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 5, Etc / Thomson, London So
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8554 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Michael Davis
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsody, Etc / Boult, London So
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64022 Release Date: 10/11/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Hugh Bean
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Vocal Ensemble,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 94.
    Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On A Theme By Tallis / Marriner
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414595 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Iona Brown,  Skaila Kanga,  Kenneth Heath,  Trevor Connah  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 95.
    Panorama - The Sound Of England
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469274 Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Daniel Barenboim,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Norman Del Mar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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