Vaughan Williams: Post-War Recovery and Festival of Britain
Celebrating British Music: Six years after the war, the Festival of Britain provided a showcase for the very best in British art, design and industry. Vaughan Williams's stage work The Pilgrim's Progress was premiered at Covent Garden as the Royal Opera House's main contribution to the Festival. Donald Macleod presents an excerpt from the work inspired by John Bunyan's allegory which had been a source of fascination for him since he was a child. He also introduces a group of songs written as a test piece for an amateur competition, and the remarkable symphonic masterpiece which reviewers at the time described as a work of "ultimate nihilism".