Friday, October 12, 2012
October 12 is the birthdate of Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872), English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music and film scores. He composed nine symphonies, including the evocative A London Symphony (No. 2, 1913), and a large body of orchestral works, including “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis,” “Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves,’” “Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus,” “The Lark Ascending” and many others. As musical editor of the English Hymnal (1906) he collected and arranged a large body of hymns. In 1904, he began transcribing and preserving English folk songs and carols, which were fast becoming extinct with the breakdown of the oral tradition. Vaughan Williams’ work is quintessentially English – mystical, lyrical, melodic, subtly patriotic and nostalgic yet timeless.