Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01A Local Man - Gloucestershire20180709

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, the county of his birth.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Although he was born in Gloucestershire, Vaughan Williams only lived there for a few years and barely remembered his infancy in Down Ampney. Nevertheless it continued to be a significant locus for him throughout his life, particularly due to his close relationship with the Three Choirs Festival. Several important works were written for or inspired by the county and Cathedral, including his ground-breaking Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Down Ampney (Come down, O love divine)
Worcester Cathedral Choir and Worcester Festival Chorus
Donald Hunt, conductor
Paul Trepte, organ

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Rodney Friend, violin
Russell Gilbert, violin
John Chambers, viola
Alexander Cameron, cello
Adrian Boult, conductor

Magnificat
Catherine Wyn-Rogers, contralto
Duke Dobing, flute
Roger Judd, organ
Corydon Singers
City of London Sinfonia
Matthew Best, conductor

The Lark Ascending
Tasmin Little, violin
BBC Philharmonic
Andrew Davis, conductor.

"

02A Local Man - Europe20180710

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his relationship with the continent.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams' career as a composer began slowly, and at the turn of the century he went to both Germany and France for lessons. Just a few years later he would return as an ambulance man in the First World War. His relationship with Ravel in particular bore much inspirational fruit, and their friendship endured until the Frenchman's death. In the Second World War, VW contributed musically and practically to the war effort, whilst also working hard to ensure justice for European composers interred in Britain.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Tune: Picardy)
Manchester Cathedral Choir
Christopher Stokes, director

On Wenlock Edge
Mark Padmore, tenor
The Schubert Ensemble

Symphony No.3, 2nd movement
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

6 Choral Songs (to be sung in Time of War)
London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor

Prelude (The Forty-Ninth Parallel)
BBC Philharmonic
Rumon Gamba, conductor.

"

03A Local Man - Kensington And Chelsea20180711

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his love for London.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams loved London. He particularly enjoyed life at his house at Cheyne Walk, while his life-long association with the musical institutions of the capital meant that he was never away for very long. Many works were written for performers and groups based in the city, including his "favourite" London Symphony.

Randolph (God be with you till we meet again)
Cardiff Festival Choir
Owain Arwel Hughes, conductor

Whither must I wander? (Songs of Travel)
Roderick Williams, baritone
Iain Burnside, piano

A London Symphony (3rd movement)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

Sancta civitas
Philip Langridge, tenor
Bryn Terfel, baritone
St Paul's Cathedral Choir
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Richard Hickox, conductor.

"

04A Local Man - Surrey20180712

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his roots in the Surrey countryside.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams was born in Gloucestershire and loved living in London, but it was in Surrey that his roots lay, and where he spent most of his life. His childhood in a stately home on Leith Hill gave him a deep love of the English countryside, and it was in the villages around Dorking that, as a mature composer, he built his own local music-making communities. Here he developed his deeply-held philosophy of national musical life "emanating from the parish pump", exemplified by his grand work for local choirs, "Benedicite".

O little town of Bethlehem
The Choir of St George's Hanover Square
Denys Darlow, conductor
Simon Williams, organ

Serenade in A minor
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Martin Yates, conductor

Satan's dance of triumph (Job)
English Northern Philharmonia
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

Exit the ghosts of the past; The funeral march for the old order (England's Pleasant Land)
North Texas Wind Symphony
Eugene Migliaro Corperon, conductor

Benedicite
Lynda Russell, soprano
Winchester Cathedral Choir
Waynflete Singers
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
David Hill, conductor

Epithalamion
Joyful Company of Singers
Britten Sinfonia
Alan Tongue, conductor.

"

05A Local Man - Albion20180713
05A Local Man - Albion20180713

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his belief in Britain's musical soul.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

"The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music." Vaughan Williams chose these words of Shakespeare for his Serenade to Music, a work which in many ways encapsulates his musical philosophy.

The Old Hundredth
Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford
English String Orchestra
Stephen Darlington, conductor

Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Thomas Allen, Baritone
Charles Tunnell, cello
Corydon Singers
English Chamber Orchestra
Matthew Best, conductor

Fantasia on "Greensleeves"
London Symphony Orchestra
Andre Previn

Serenade to Music
Elizabeth Connell, soprano
Anne Dawson, soprano
Linda Kitchen, soprano
Amanda Roocroft, soprano
Sarah Walker, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Maldwyn Davies, tenor
Martyn Hill, tenor
Thomas Allen, baritone
Alan Opie, baritone
John Connell, bass
Gwynne Howell, bass
English Chamber Orchestra
Matthew Best, conductor

The Messengers of Speech (The Sons of Light)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

Epilogue (Sinfonia Antarctica)
Edvard Grieg Kor
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
Andrew Davis, conductor.

"

201801A Local Man - Gloucestershire20180709

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, the county of his birth.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Although he was born in Gloucestershire, Vaughan Williams only lived there for a few years and barely remembered his infancy in Down Ampney. Nevertheless it continued to be a significant locus for him throughout his life, particularly due to his close relationship with the Three Choirs Festival. Several important works were written for or inspired by the county and Cathedral, including his ground-breaking Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Down Ampney (Come down, O love divine)
Worcester Cathedral Choir and Worcester Festival Chorus
Donald Hunt, conductor
Paul Trepte, organ

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Rodney Friend, violin
Russell Gilbert, violin
John Chambers, viola
Alexander Cameron, cello
Adrian Boult, conductor

Magnificat
Catherine Wyn-Rogers, contralto
Duke Dobing, flute
Roger Judd, organ
Corydon Singers
City of London Sinfonia
Matthew Best, conductor

The Lark Ascending
Tasmin Little, violin
BBC Philharmonic
Andrew Davis, conductor.

"

201802A Local Man - Europe20180710
201803A Local Man - Kensington And Chelsea20180711

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his love for London.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams loved London. He particularly enjoyed life at his house at Cheyne Walk, while his life-long association with the musical institutions of the capital meant that he was never away for very long. Many works were written for performers and groups based in the city, including his "favourite" London Symphony.

Randolph (God be with you till we meet again)
Cardiff Festival Choir
Owain Arwel Hughes, conductor

Whither must I wander? (Songs of Travel)
Roderick Williams, baritone
Iain Burnside, piano

A London Symphony (3rd movement)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

Sancta civitas
Philip Langridge, tenor
Bryn Terfel, baritone
St Paul's Cathedral Choir
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Richard Hickox, conductor.

"

201804A Local Man - Surrey20180712

"A national composer with a local focus. Today, his roots in the Surrey countryside.

Series exploring the life and works of a succession of composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams was born in Gloucestershire and loved living in London, but it was in Surrey that his roots lay, and where he spent most of his life. His childhood in a stately home on Leith Hill gave him a deep love of the English countryside, and it was in the villages around Dorking that, as a mature composer, he built his own local music-making communities. Here he developed his deeply-held philosophy of national musical life "emanating from the parish pump", exemplified by his grand work for local choirs, "Benedicite".

O little town of Bethlehem
The Choir of St George's Hanover Square
Denys Darlow, conductor
Simon Williams, organ

Serenade in A minor
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Martin Yates, conductor

Satan's dance of triumph (Job)
English Northern Philharmonia
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

Exit the ghosts of the past; The funeral march for the old order (England's Pleasant Land)
North Texas Wind Symphony
Eugene Migliaro Corperon, conductor

Benedicite
Lynda Russell, soprano
Winchester Cathedral Choir
Waynflete Singers
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
David Hill, conductor

Epithalamion
Joyful Company of Singers
Britten Sinfonia
Alan Tongue, conductor.

"

201805A Local Man - Albion20180713