Symphony No. 5 in D major by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was written between 1938 and 1943. In style it represents a shift away from the violent dissonance of Symphony No. 4, and a return to the more romantic style of the earlier Pastoral Symphony. It is also noteworthy as perhaps the quietest symphony Vaughan Williams ever wrote, with only a very few passages rising even to a forte. The texture throughout the work is strongly dominated by the strings.
Many of the musical themes in the Fifth Symphony stem from Vaughan Williams' then-unfinished operatic work, The Pilgrim's Progress. This opera, or "morality" as Vaughan Williams preferred to call it, had been in gestation for decades, and the composer had temporarily abandoned it at the time the symphony was conceived. Despite its origins, the symphony is without programmatic context, and is in the form of an extended development of musical themes taken from the morality rather than an attempt to cast it directly into symphonic form.
Performances & Interviews
- Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t1kc7.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t1kc7.jpg2014-05-11T15:31:00.000ZStephen Johnson explores Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 5.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01yxdfh
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5Stephen Johnson explores Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 5.
- Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0222zzt.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0222zzt.jpg2014-07-03T15:01:00.000ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Stephen Johnson talks about Vaughan William's 5th symphony.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p0223025
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5In this Proms Music Guide, Stephen Johnson talks about Vaughan William's 5th symphony.