The Art-Music, Literature and Linguistics Forum
June 09, 2023, 03:53:49 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare recordings, and discuss the Arts, Literature and Linguistics in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight.
 
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)


Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)  (Read 242 times)
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« on: June 11, 2022, 10:02:39 am »

The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by splendid modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Somm
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams' output maintained its superlative quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.

 :)
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

guest822
Guest
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2022, 10:16:32 am »

The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by wonderful modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Dutton
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams output maintained wonderful quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.

 :)

Hear! hear!

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...
Report Spam   Logged
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2022, 10:32:37 am »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
guest822
Guest
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2022, 10:59:05 am »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.
Report Spam   Logged
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2022, 11:51:14 am »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Frederick Corder over at the RAM was more of a "modernist" than Stanford at the RCM in advocating whatever was new, and favoured the approach of giving his pupils the latest scores to go away, play and study, and then return with what had resulted from their own inspiration. As a result, Bantock, Bax and particularly Holbrooke have been effectively accused of not knowing what the hell they were doing - I'll have no truck with such a "criticism" - perhaps they all came out primarily as virtuosic colourists rather than structurally-orientated architects? Nothing wrong with either approach methinks...

 ;)
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
guest822
Guest
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2022, 12:10:50 pm »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Frederick Corder over at the RAM was more of a "modernist" than Stanford at the RCM in advocating whatever was new, and favoured the approach of giving his pupils the latest scores to go away, play and study, and then return with what had resulted from their own inspiration. As a result, Bantock, Bax and particularly Holbrooke have been effectively accused of not knowing what the hell they were doing - I'll have no truck with such a "criticism" - perhaps they all came out primarily as virtuosic colourists rather than structurally-orientated architects? Nothing wrong with either approach methinks...

 ;)

Hmm! Just think what they might have been able to achieve if their virtuosic colourism had been applied to structurally sound foundations...

Provocative? Me? ;)
Report Spam   Logged
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2022, 12:41:58 pm »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Frederick Corder over at the RAM was more of a "modernist" than Stanford at the RCM in advocating whatever was new, and favoured the approach of giving his pupils the latest scores to go away, play and study, and then return with what had resulted from their own inspiration. As a result, Bantock, Bax and particularly Holbrooke have been effectively accused of not knowing what the hell they were doing - I'll have no truck with such a "criticism" - perhaps they all came out primarily as virtuosic colourists rather than structurally-orientated architects? Nothing wrong with either approach methinks...

 ;)

Hmm! Just think what they might have been able to achieve if their virtuosic colourism had been applied to structurally sound foundations...

Provocative? Me? ;)

 :D

Naughty sauce-pot! For the benefit of cilgwyn I'll add York Bowen into the mix. All these five RAM graduates mentioned above created some wonderful music which is well worthy of investigation: not being a fan of the word "masterpiece", I would nevertheless suggest that none were destined to set the world on fire. Whereas Vaughan Williams and Holst may rightly be described as having produced immortal scribbles (or as immortal as anyone exists who cares about the art of music).

Bantock's Omar Khayyam, Holbrooke's The Bells, Boughton's The Immortal Hour, Bax's Tintagel and Bowen's Symphony No.2 are all greatly enjoyable, melodically rich and superbly orchestrated, but is there the humanity and depth of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and (less-so) Holst in their work? The RAM crowd could tug on the heart-strings, move and thrill with abandon but the RCM crew seemed to break free and touch some things more likely to stir the soul, but then music has and should have the broadest remit (even for Rufinatscha and Poor Old Gadsby)...

 ;)
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
der79sebas
Level 1
*

Times thanked: 1
Offline Offline

Posts: 8


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2022, 12:46:02 pm »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Interestingly, to my ears Bax and Bantock have a much greater melodic gift than Vaughan-Williams' rather conventional one.
Report Spam   Logged
guest822
Guest
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2022, 02:41:02 pm »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Frederick Corder over at the RAM was more of a "modernist" than Stanford at the RCM in advocating whatever was new, and favoured the approach of giving his pupils the latest scores to go away, play and study, and then return with what had resulted from their own inspiration. As a result, Bantock, Bax and particularly Holbrooke have been effectively accused of not knowing what the hell they were doing - I'll have no truck with such a "criticism" - perhaps they all came out primarily as virtuosic colourists rather than structurally-orientated architects? Nothing wrong with either approach methinks...

 ;)

Hmm! Just think what they might have been able to achieve if their virtuosic colourism had been applied to structurally sound foundations...

Provocative? Me? ;)

 :D

Naughty sauce-pot! For the benefit of cilgwyn I'll add York Bowen into the mix. All these five RAM graduates mentioned above created some wonderful music which is well worthy of investigation: not being a fan of the word "masterpiece", I would nevertheless suggest that none were destined to set the world on fire. Whereas Vaughan Williams and Holst may rightly be described as having produced immortal scribbles (or as immortal as anyone exists who cares about the art of music).

Bantock's Omar Khayyam, Holbrooke's The Bells, Boughton's The Immortal Hour, Bax's Tintagel and Bowen's Symphony No.2 are all greatly enjoyable, melodically rich and superbly orchestrated, but is there the humanity and depth of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and (less-so) Holst in their work? The RAM crowd could tug on the heart-strings, move and thrill with abandon but the RCM crew seemed to break free and touch some things more likely to stir the soul, but then music has and should have the broadest remit (even for Rufinatscha and Poor Old Gadsby)...

 ;)

You've hit the nail on the head there (and much more eloquently than I ever could).
Report Spam   Logged
guest822
Guest
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2022, 02:43:51 pm »

If only Hurlstone, SC-T and even Holst, who was only 59 when died, had been granted equally long life-spans...

By parallel, the contemporary Royal Academy generation of Bantock, Boughton, Holbrooke and Bax were all blessed (or cursed) with considerable longevity...

 :o

All of those composers produced some worthwhile stuff, of course, but none of them (not even Bax on a good day) had the melodic gifts that the RCM crowd demonstrated; as both Mozart and Rossini observed, finding great tunes is the really difficult bit of composition! Stanford's methodical training ensured that his students were equipped to deploy their inspirations to the best possible effect.

Interestingly, to my ears Bax and Bantock have a much greater melodic gift than Vaughan-Williams' rather conventional one.

Which only goes to show that one man's meat is another man's poisson (and thank heaven for it)!
Report Spam   Logged
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2022, 11:34:27 am »

The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by splendid modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Dutton
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams' output maintained its superlative quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.

 :)

In the list of early works given in the first post, I mistakenly ascribed the recording of The Fantasy (or Fantasia) for Piano and Orchestra to Dutton, it was in fact recorded on Somm by Mark Bebbington and the Ulster Orchestra under George Vass (2011). The couplings are William Mathias' concertos 1 and 2. It's a great disc. Considering that Vaughan Williams tinkered with the Fantasy for eight years, it's puzzling as to why he later disowned it...

 :)
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2022, 11:58:12 am »

This should really be in the "Books" section, but I'll post here as it may alert more members. I can thoroughly recommend The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams edited by Alain Frogley and Aidan J. Thomson (2013). This symposium covers a great deal of ground in the following chapters:

1. The composer and society: family, politics, nation
2. Vaughan Williams's musical apprenticeship
3. Becoming a national composer: critical reception to c.1925
4. History and geography: the early orchestral works and the first three symphonies
5. The songs and shorter secular choral works
6. "An Englishman and a democrat": Vaughan Williams, large choral works, and the British festival tradition
7. Folksong arrangements, hymn tunes and church music
8. Music for stage and film
9. Chamber music and works for soloist with orchestra
10. The later symphonies
11. The public figure: Vaughan Williams as writer and activist
12. Vaughan Williams, Boult, and the BBC
13. Fluctuations in the response to the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams
14. Vaughan Williams and his successors: composers' forum


There is some technical analysis, but not enough to frighten the horses. In this anniversary year, the paperback retails for around 20 and is well worth the money.



 :)
Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
kyjo
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 4
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2022, 08:28:30 pm »

The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by splendid modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Somm
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams' output maintained its superlative quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.

 :)

Completely agree - there's some real gems hidden in RVW's early output, especially the Piano Quintet with its sublimely beautiful slow movement. There are many moments - particularly in the slow movement - that foreshadow RVW's mature modal language. This, combined with a youthful passion and vigor, make the work simply irresistible!
Report Spam   Logged
Albion
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 2750
Offline Offline

Posts: 1683


Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2022, 09:07:01 pm »

Completely agree - there's some real gems hidden in RVW's early output, especially the Piano Quintet with its sublimely beautiful slow movement. There are many moments - particularly in the slow movement - that foreshadow RVW's mature modal language. This, combined with a youthful passion and vigor, make the work simply irresistible!

Isn't it wonderful! Perhaps my favourite amongst the early "unknown" works is Willow-Wood, it's quite gorgeous especially as sung by Roderick Williams. The Naxos disc is quite a stunner really: you get great performances of Toward the Unknown Region and the splendid late cantata The Sons of Light. Purchase without delay!

Report Spam   Logged

"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
Vandermolen
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 4
Offline Offline

Posts: 307



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2022, 09:17:13 am »

The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by splendid modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Somm
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams' output maintained its superlative quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.

 :)
Very much agree about the 'Heroic Elegy...' and Piano Quintet - both of which are fine works.
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum


Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy