Monday, October 12, 2015

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Music With Power, Nobility, And Expressiveness

Today we remember the magnificent English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, born on this day in 1872. He was a prolific composer of a full spectrum of classical music and especially revered for his research of English folk tunes and their preservation in his works.

Vaughan WIlliams portrait by William Rothenstein, 1919

Most baby boomers were probably introduced to Vaughan Williams in middle school music appreciation classes. The composition very likely was his 1934 orchestral piece, Fantasia on 'Greensleeves.' Here is another work closely associated with his legacy to music:

In his twilight years Vaughan Williams returned to his traditional lyricism after composing music influenced by violence and loss during the war decades, 1914 - 1945. Here is Symphony No. 8 completed in 1955 just three years before his passing.

[He] is arguably the greatest composer Britain has seen since the days of Henry Purcell. In a long and extensive career, he composed music notable for its power, nobility and expressiveness, representing, perhaps, the essence of ‘Englishness’.
                                                                                      Ralph Vaughan Williams Society

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