vaughan williams essays writings

In short, Mitchell makes Vaughan Williams the scapegoat of what he views as the parochialism of English musical climate between the wars. In a certain way, it makes sense to do this, because Vaughan Williams is the major figure in British music between the wars, simply from the standpoint of career alone. However, I believe that Mitchell has conflated the composer's music with those who wrote about the music at the time. Reading Michael Kennedy's standard The Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams it repeatedly struck me – even or especially in the positive reviews – how little real criticism there is in the contemporary writing. I agree that much of the criticism between the wars was indeed insular – like the English complaining about the garlic in French food – but that insularity is certainly not shared by Vaughan Williams. In fact, he and Havergal Brian probably knew as much about the European music scene as anyone. The big strike against him is that he disliked the music of Mahler and Schoenberg, but so what? Why should he like everything? And indeed one had few opportunities to hear works by these men between the wars. Yet it is also clear that Vaughan Williams made it a point to attend as many performances of these works as he could. This doesn't seem parochial to me. Anyone who can't hear Stravinsky in the "London" symphony or Ravel in Flos campi or Reger and Sibelius and Hindemith in the Symphony #4 or Bartók in the piano concerto (incidentally, a work Bartók praised) isn't really listening.

vaughan williams essays writings

To contact Officers of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society please click on the links.

Vaughan williams essays writings - …

That should have marked Ralph Vaughan Williams from his cradle as bound, like his older brother Hervey, for the bench or the Civil Service, or for a quiet life of rural pottering-about. Instead, in 1890, he announced that he wanted to become an orchestral musician (specifically, a violist). As Alldritt wickedly puts it, his family, "so well placed in London society, would surely have considered viola playing to be no career for a gentleman," and his Darwin cousins laughed that "he can't play the simplest thing decently." But Vaughan Williams was convinced he "should have made quite a decent fiddler," and he talked the family into letting him study for a year at the Royal College of Music under the genial Charles Hubert Parry, who taught the 18-year-old composition.

Vaughan williams essays writings

What is surprising is that Arthur Vaughan Williams took as his wife Margaret Susan Wedgwood. Surprising, because the Wedgwoods were not only the fabulously wealthy offspring of the famous pottery-maker and Non-Conformist, Josiah Wedgwood, but were entwined by intermarriage to the Darwins. Ralph Vaughan Williams' grandmother, who had married the second Josiah Wedgwood, was Charles Darwin's sister.

There is no doubt that this book is essential to all students and scholars of Elgar and Vaughan Williams’ music.
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My contribution to it is an essay on Vaughan Williams’s Fourth ..

Furthermore, Mitchell brings only the case against. He quotes Neville Cardus's original negative review of the Symphony #4, but he neglects to note that Cardus later changed his mind. He brings up again and again the "true fact" that Vaughan Williams' music is confined to the British Isles, apparently because it's not played in Vienna. Well, a lot of things aren't played in Vienna, including much Britten. I imagine that if you looked at CD sales figures, you'd find both Vaughan Williams and Britten healthy in several overseas markets. No one has followed Vaughan Williams in the same way that no one has followed van Gogh, but it doesn't make much sense to dump on van Gogh because of this. Vaughan Williams' music has not generated successors in the way that Stravinsky's music has. On the other hand, to paraphrase Shaw, in art it doesn't matter who comes before you, but who comes after you. Nobody followed Mozart, either. Something else is going on in Mitchell's head.

To contact Officers of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society please click on the links.

A collection of essays on Vaughan Williams ..

The main entry on Vaughan Williams deals almost exclusively with the Pastoral, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Symphonies and has a primarily structural focus within this deliberately limited scope. Most suitable for readers possessing at least basic knowledge of tonal harmony and theory.

National Music and Other Essays (Oxford Paperbacks) by Ralph Vaughan Williams; ..

Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an ..

Keith Alldritt's falls into the second category of musical biography, along with many of the drawbacks that accompany it. Alldritt is, by trade, a novelist and a biographer of statesmen (Churchill, Roosevelt) and modern British writers (Orwell, Lawrence, Yeats, Eliot), with only one slim musical title to his credit, (a romance about Elgar and Dora Penny, the 'Dorabella' of the ). From this unpromising platform, Alldritt finds himself tackling Ralph Vaughan Williams, whom many revere as the greatest name in British music in the 20th century, and upon whom equal numbers have bestowed the pitying glance and heavy sigh, as though he were a provincial musical handy-man capable only of writing 'cow-pat music.' As if this were not intimidating enough, Alldritt's is the first full-scale biography of Vaughan Williams to be attempted since the re-tooling of Michael Kennedy's in 1980, and, more to the point, since Hugh Cobbe's enormous collection of (2008) and the death of the composer's second wife, Ursula, in 2007, who had ditched a deep moat around her husband's life.