Composer Study: Ralph Vaughan Williams

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All Saints Church in Down Ampney where Vaughn Williams' father was a vicar

All Saints Church in Down Ampney where Vaughn Williams' father was a vicar


Recommended Listening

Choral Music

“All People That On Earth Do Dwell” (Old 100th) Hymn arranged especially for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The tune is named “Old Hundredth” because it comes from Psalm 100, and the words come from this Psalm. This recording is of the Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2012

“O Taste and See” - another hymn written for the coronation, this one based on Psalm 34:8

“Come Down O Love Divine” - Down Ampney is the name Vaughan Williams gave to this hymn tune, after the town he grew up in. This video is a visit to All Saints' Church where his father was vicar.

“Serenade to Music” - the words are from Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” - this recording is old, so it’s a little crackly, but the addition of beautiful paintings and the text, and the fact that it was the first recording made with the composer there, makes it a treasure!

Orchestral Music

“Folk Song Suite” - Vaughan Williams spent a lifetime collecting and recording the folk songs of the British Isles. This is one example of how he used them.

“The Lark Ascending” - for violin and orchestra

“Fantasia on Greensleeves” - based on the famous tune, one of the oldest English folk songs passed down through the centuries

“Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” - Thomas Tallis was an English composer from the 1500’s.

“A Sea Symphony” - with beautiful paintings of the sea and sailing ships.

Symphony No. 3 “Pastoral” - with paintings of the English countryside

Recommended Reading


(There aren’t many books specifically about this composer for young children, so I’ve included some stories about England and the sea here just for fun.)

For Teens and Adults