Symphony Nº. 1, A Sea Symphony (1903-1909)
on texts by Walt Whitman
I. A Song for All Seas, All Ships
II. On the Beach at Night, Alone
III. Scherzo: The Waves
IV. Finale: The Explorers
Felicity Lott, Jonathan Summers
London Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus
"He is the only one of my students who does not try to write like me."
- Maurice Ravel
"He was aware of the common aspirations of generations of ordinary men and women with whom he felt a deep, contemplative sympathy. And so there is in his work a fundamental tension between traditional concepts of belief and morality and a modern spiritual anguish which is also visionary.”
- Ursula Vaughan Williams
"Film composing is a splendid discipline, and I recommend a course of it to all composition teachers whose pupils are apt to be dawdling in their ideas, or whose every bar is sacred and must not be cut or altered."
"Ravel was a pleasant visitor. Ralph enjoyed taking him sight-seeing, and was fascinated to find that he liked English food—the one thing the Cheyne Walk household had foreseen as a problem. But it was no problem at all: it appeared that steak and kidney pudding with stout at Waterloo station was Ravel’s idea of pleasurably lunching out.”
- Ursula Vaughan Williams, describing a visit by Ravel to England in 1909.
from A Ravel Reader, ed. A. Orenstein
Romance (1914) by Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Romance for viola and piano was one of many pieces found in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ library after his death in 1958. It is probable that it was written and dedicated to the great English violist, Lionel Tertis, along with Vaughan Williams’ other pieces for viola, Flos Campi and the Suite for viola and small orchestra. The date of the composition is not known, but it is thought that it dates from around 1914. The piece is composed in arch form. It opens with soft, pentatonic murmurings from the piano, expanding into a rather melancholy and songful aria for the viola. The middle is somewhat restless and anguished, before closing in a similar manner to the beginning. The pentatonic modality is used throughout, though there are also stirring false relations and chromatic sections. Despite its relative brevity and content, the piece has, since its publication in 1961, gained a place in the modern viola repertoire.
Ralph Vaughan Williams - Six studies in English folksong (clarinet version)
Jonathan Cohler, clarinet
Judith Gordon, piano
I have played these before in their original incarnation with a cellist—such simple but artfully constructed and gorgeous music. The chicken noodle soup of the sound world.