The Symphony No. 4 in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams was dedicated by the composer to Arnold Bax.
Unlike Vaughan Williams' first three symphonies, it was not given a title, the composer stating that it was to be understood as pure music, without any incidental or external inspiration.
In contrast to many of Vaughan Williams's previous compositions, the symphony displays a severity of tone. The composer himself once observed of it, "I'm not at all sure that I like it myself now. All I know is that it's what I wanted to do at the time." The British composer Sir William Walton admired the work greatly, telling fellow composer Arthur Benjamin that it was "the greatest symphony since Beethoven". Only two symphonies of Vaughan Williams end loudly; No. 4 and No. 8.
The work was first performed on 10 April 1935 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Adrian Boult. Its first recording, made two years later, featured the composer himself conducting the same orchestra in what proved to be his only commercial recording of any of his symphonies. It was released on 78-rpm discs in the U.K. by HMV and in the U.S. by RCA Victor, and has been reissued on LP and CD.
Performances & Interviews
- Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vs6qf.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vs6qf.jpg2014-03-19T16:46:00.000ZPiers Burton-Page provides a personal recommendation from recordings of Ralph Vaughan Williams' fourth symphony.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01vs6qn
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4Piers Burton-Page provides a personal recommendation from recordings of Ralph Vaughan Williams' fourth symphony.