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: London Symphony;  Butterworth / Hickox
Release Date: 05/22/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9902   Number of Discs: 1
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Delius, Vaughan Williams / Vernon Handley, Et Al
Release Date: 03/23/2004   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10174   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: Donna Nobis Pacem, Etc / Bryden Thomson
Release Date: 09/30/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8590   Number of Discs: 1
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Vaughan Williams: Songs Of Travel, Etc / Luxon, Willison
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8475   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: The lark ascending

Browse 76-100 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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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  • 78.
    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  ... 
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  • 79.
    A Classic Thanksgiving - We Gather Together
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555293 Release Date: 10/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Joseph 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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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    British Composers - Hickox Conducts Vaughan Williams
    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
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  • 83.
    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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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    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
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  • 86.
    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
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  • 87.
    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
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  • 88.
    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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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    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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  • 91.
    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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  • 92.
    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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  • 93.
    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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  • 94.
    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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  • 95.
    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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  • 96.
    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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  • 97.
    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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  • 98.
    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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  • 99.
    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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  • 100.
    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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