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A local man - Europe

Ralph Vaughan Williams's career began with educational visits to the continent. Later, he returned as a soldier. Donald explores his relationship with Europe in peace and war.

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a composer with a self-consciously national voice, who nonetheless believed passionately in the importance of localism. Indeed, he saw healthy music-making in each community as the ultimate source of national musical vitality, and longed for a time when every major town in Britain would have its own orchestra. His respect for folk music and well-known use of traditional melodies reflected a strong response to places, and the people he met there. This week, Donald examines five key locations which were significant throughout the composer's life.

Vaughan Williams' career as a composer began slowly, and at the turn of the century he went to both Germany and France for lessons. Just a few years later he would return as an ambulance man in the First World War. His relationship with Ravel in particular bore much inspirational fruit, and their friendship endured until the Frenchman's death. In the Second World War, VW contributed musically and practically to the war effort, whilst also working hard to ensure justice for European composers interred in Britain.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Tune: Picardy)
Manchester Cathedral Choir
Christopher Stokes, director

On Wenlock Edge
Mark Padmore, tenor
The Schubert Ensemble

Symphony No.3, 2nd movement
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor

6 Choral Songs (to be sung in Time of War)
London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor

Prelude (The Forty-Ninth Parallel)
BBC Philharmonic
Rumon Gamba, conductor.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    On Wenlock Edge

    Singer: Mark Padmore. Ensemble: Schubert Ensemble of London.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-10465.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 1.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Symphony No.3, 2nd movement

    Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Vernon Handley.
    • Warner Classics 5753102.
    • Warner Classics.
    • 5.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    6 Choral Songs (to be sung in Time of War)

    Choir: London Symphony Chorus. Conductor: Richard Hickox. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-9984.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 11.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Prelude (The Forty-Ninth Parallel)

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Rumon Gamba.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-10244.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 1.

Credit

Role Contributor
Performer BBC Philharmonic

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