Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies. His output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.
About Ralph Vaughan Williams in brief
Ralph Vaughan Williams (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies. His output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century. Vaughan Williams was born to a well-to-do family with strong moral views and a progressive social outlook. He was musically a late developer, not finding his true voice until his late thirties. His studies in 1907–1908 with the French composer Maurice Ravel helped him clarify the textures of his music and free it from Teutonic influences. He went on composing through his seventies and eighties, producing his last symphony months before his death at the age of eighty-five. He is among the best-known British symphonists, noted for his very wide range of moods, from stormy and impassioned to tranquil, from mysterious to exuberant. His vocal works include hymns, folk-song arrangements and large-scale choral pieces. He wrote eight works for stage performance between 1919 and 1951. Although none of his operas became popular repertoire pieces, his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing was successful and has been frequently staged. Two episodes made notably deep impressions in Vaughan Williams’s personal life: the First World War, in which he served in the army, and a love affair with a much younger woman, who later became his second wife. His views on religion meant that he did not attend church regularly to avoid upsetting his family.
While at Charterhouse School he found that religion meant less to him and less to the less, for a while he was an atheist. His musical achievements were satisfactory and there were satisfactory academic and sporting achievements and the school encouraged his musical development. In 1888 he organised a concert in the school hall, which included a performance of his major G major Piano Trio with the composer as violinist. In September 1883 he went as a boarder to Field House preparatory school in Rottingdean England, forty miles from Wotton, for the first time to encounter social snobbery and political conservatism which were rife among his fellow pupils. He did not greatly like the piano, and was pleased to begin violin lessons the following year. In 1880, when he was eight, he took a correspondence course in music from Edinburgh University and passed the associated examinations. The judges Sir Edward and Sir Roland Vaughan Williams were respectively Arthur’s father and brother. His paternal forebears were of mixed English and Welsh descent; many of them went into the law or the Church. His mother was a great-granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood and niece of Charles Darwin. When the young Vaughan Williams asked his mother about Darwin’s controversial book On the Origin of Species, she answered, \”The Bible says that God made the world in six days. Great Uncle Charles thinks it took longer: but we need not worry about it, for it is equally wonderful either way\”.