The Symphony No. 9 in E minor was the last symphony written by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He composed it from 1956 to 1957 and it was given its premiere performance in London by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent on 2 April 1958, in the composer's eighty-sixth year. It was subsequently performed on 5 August 1958 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Malcolm Sargent at a Promenade Concert. Vaughan Williams died three weeks later, on 26 August, the very day on which the symphony was due to be recorded for the first time, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.
Vaughan Williams's original idea was to create a programmatic symphony based on Thomas Hardy's book Tess of the d'Urbervilles, even though the programmatic elements eventually disappeared as work on the composition progressed. Existing sketches clearly indicate that, in the early stages of composition, certain passages related to specific people and events in the novel: in some of the manuscripts, the first movement is headed "Wessex Prelude", and the heading "Tess" appears above sketches for the second movement.
Performances & Interviews
- Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 9https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w0x85.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w0x85.jpg2014-02-09T17:06:00.000ZJonathan Swain surveys recordings of Vaughan Williams' 9th Symphony and makes a recommendation.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01rzqyx
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 9Jonathan Swain surveys recordings of Vaughan Williams' 9th Symphony and makes a recommendation.