Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 6

Stephen Johnson explores Vaughan Williams's distinctive Sixth Symphony, with excerpts as well as a complete performance by the BBC SO conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Stephen Johnson explores Vaughan Williams's Sixth Symphony, with excerpts and a complete performance of the work from the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

First heard in 1948, the symphony's violence and dissonance came as a huge shock after the serenity of Symphony No 5. Vaughan Williams always denied this work was a 'war' symphony, but in some passages war imagery is, for many, hard to ignore. The first three movements are wild and complex both rhythmically and harmonically, while the conclusion is a desolate and haunting epilogue.

1 hour, 30 minutes

Clip

Music Played

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Symphony no. 6 in E minor

    Performers: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins (conductor)

Broadcast

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.