Ralph Vaughan Williams

#1
I have long enjoyed the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

I was prompted tonight to look up something of his life and (if wikipedia is to be believed) was interested to find that:

In 1909, he composed incidental music for a stage production at Cambridge University of Aristophanes' The Wasps, and the next year, he had his first big public successes conducting the premieres of the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (at The Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral) and A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 1), and a greater success with A London Symphony (Symphony No. 2) in 1914, conducted by Geoffrey Toye. Although at 40, and as an ex-public schoolboy, he could easily have avoided war service or been commissioned as an officer, he enlisted as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and had a gruelling time as a stretcher bearer before being commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery. On one occasion he was too ill to stand but continued to direct his battery lying on the ground. Prolonged exposure to gunfire began a process of loss of hearing which was eventually to cause deafness in old age. In 1918 he was appointed Director of Music, First Army and this helped him adjust back into musical life.
Does anyone know more of his military service? It would seem that he should be as well remembered for his military service to his country as for the service he did in creating the patriotic pastoral music that he is so well known for.

More here:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/medals-vaughanwilliams.asp
Listen to Vaughan Williams' music here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKhtoUPU9pw
and here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKz6XJlI_jk
 
#2
I can never listen to "The Lark Ascending" without thinking of a trip I made to the Somme a couple of years ago...

An anthem for a Lost Generation, if ever there was...
 
#3
Petriburg said:
I can never listen to "The Lark Ascending" without thinking of a trip I made to the Somme a couple of years ago...

An anthem for a Lost Generation, if ever there was...
"Lark Ascending" will, happily, be the piece for which he's remembered - a lovely piece of music. On the darker side of his experiences - take the time to listen to his Symphony No 6 (forget the key). It encapsulates the frustrations and sufferings of WWI through the eyes of a well-intentioned young man. Brilliant - and heart-rending.
Cheers,
Cliff.
 
#4
Treat yourself and listen to George Butterworth's The Banks of Green Willow. Butterworth was a contemporary of Vaughn-Williams and received an MC for service on the Western Front in the DLI before being killed by a sniper in 1916. Stirring stuff... trust me.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#5
The DLI what a regiment, the LI Regtl Hymn is solely down to a VC winner from the DLI in WW1. I got a book out on VC's from the local Library and I was surprised. Abide with Me.
 
#6
I read this with interest. Vaughan-Williams was one of Britain's greatest composers, IMHO, and I now learn an incredibly brave man to boot. I find it impossible to listen to his music without being moved in some way. I knew about Butterworth, simply through a program I saw on UK History a couple of months ago, but only knew of the banks of the green willow through some awful TV ad for Standard life insurance in the '80s
 
#7
Butterworth has no known grave and is commemmorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing (Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C.). Everytime I visit it I find either a photocopy or an original insert from a cassette or CD of BOGW stuck next to his name...what a generation and how terribly as a society we betray their sacrifices daily.
 
#8
Cuddles said:
Butterworth has no known grave and is commemmorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing (Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C.). Everytime I visit it I find either a photocopy or an original insert from a cassette or CD of BOGW stuck next to his name...what a generation and how terribly as a society we betray their sacrifices daily.
Thanks for that, Cuddles. I'm planning a staff ride to the Somme and Ypres later this year and that will prove a useful addition to our visit to Thiepval.
 
#9
Cuddles said:
Butterworth has no known grave and is commemmorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing (Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C.). Everytime I visit it I find either a photocopy or an original insert from a cassette or CD of BOGW stuck next to his name...what a generation and how terribly as a society we betray their sacrifices daily.
I read you Cuddles, I read you. The hell they went through and all those lost opportunities. The only thing my Grandpa ever said to me about the first war was about the ongoing loss, "...those were the lads who would have made the difference you see." I can remember him saying those words as though they were yesterday.

They would have made the difference but instead they made the ultimate sacrifice and we owe them. I know you know that and understand that, but there are many who need reminding.
 
#10
ugly said:
The DLI what a regiment, the LI Regtl Hymn is solely down to a VC winner from the DLI in WW1. I got a book out on VC's from the local Library and I was surprised. Abide with Me.
Is "Abide With Me" the DLI hymn? I never realised . . . . .

HF Lyte, who wrote the words of AWM and "Praise my soul the king of Heaven", was an OB of Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, a graduate of Trinity, Dublin, and a CofI parson. Interesting man . . . . .
 
#11
papegojan said:
I read this with interest. Vaughan-Williams was one of Britain's greatest composers, IMHO, and I now learn an incredibly brave man to boot. I find it impossible to listen to his music without being moved in some way.

A wonderful composer, whom the Welsh tend to claim as their own, and a gallant man. His BGW, Lark and Raphsody on a Theme by Thomas Tallis are almost unbearably lovely, and can reduce me to tears.

I knew about Butterworth, simply through a program I saw on UK History a couple of months ago, but only knew of the banks of the green willow through some awful TV ad for Standard life insurance in the '80s.

I remember that, and another ad. - for butter or bread or such - and felt it was close to sacrilege to have used such exquisite music for commercial vulgarity. But it may, perhaps, have caused a few viewers/listeners to seek out RV-W's music and caused them to love it, as we do. In which case, no bad thing.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
northern-matelot The NAAFI Bar 38
phil245 Sick Jokes 0
Gunner_smudge Miscellaneous Jokes 0

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top