Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams ( (listen); 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over sixty years. Strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.

Vaughan Williams was born to a well-to-do family with strong moral views and a progressive social outlook. Throughout his life he sought to be of service to his fellow citizens, and believed in making music as available as possible to everybody. He wrote many works for amateur and student performance. He was musically a late developer, not finding his true voice until his late thirties; his studies in 1907–1908 with the French composer Maurice Ravel helped him clarify the textures of his music and free it from Teutonic influences.

Vaughan Williams is among the best-known British symphonists, noted for his very wide range of moods, from stormy and impassioned to tranquil, from mysterious to exuberant. Among the most familiar of his other concert works are Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and The Lark Ascending (1914). His vocal works include hymns, folk-song arrangements and large-scale choral pieces. He wrote eight works for stage performance between 1919 and 1951. Although none of his operas became popular repertoire pieces, his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing (1930) was successful and has been frequently staged.

Two episodes made notably deep impressions in Vaughan Williams's personal life. The First World War, in which he served in the army, had a lasting emotional effect. Twenty years later, though in his sixties and devotedly married, he was reinvigorated by a love affair with a much younger woman, who later became his second wife. He went on composing through his seventies and eighties, producing his last symphony months before his death at the age of eighty-five. His works have continued to be a staple of the British concert repertoire, and all his major compositions and many of the minor ones have been recorded.

Birth and Death Data: Born October 12, 1872 (Down Ampney), Died August 26, 1958 (London)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1916 - 1919

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 78711 10-in. 9/27/1919 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty Gatty Sellars Organ solo composer  
Columbia 6851 12-in. approximately 1916 The roadside fire Gervase Elwes Tenor vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 75419 12-in. approximately 1917 On Wenlock edge Gervase Elwes ; Frederick B. Kiddle ; London String Quartet Tenor vocal solo, with piano and string quartet composer  
Columbia 75420 12-in. approximately 1917 From far; Oh, when Gervase Elwes ; Frederick B. Kiddle ; London String Quartet Tenor vocal solo, with piano and string quartet composer  
Columbia 75421 12-in. approximately 1917 Is my team ploughing? Gervase Elwes ; Frederick B. Kiddle ; London String Quartet Tenor vocal solo, with piano and string quartet composer  
Columbia 75422 12-in. approximately 1917 Brendon Hill Gervase Elwes ; Frederick B. Kiddle ; London String Quartet Tenor vocal solo, with piano and string quartet composer  
Columbia 75423 12-in. approximately 1917 Clun Gervase Elwes ; Frederick B. Kiddle ; London String Quartet Tenor vocal solo, with piano and string quartet composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Vaughan Williams, Ralph," accessed January 27, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102609.

Vaughan Williams, Ralph. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102609.

"Vaughan Williams, Ralph." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 27 January 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102609

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