Many composers influenced Ralph Vaughan-Williams in his time.
Many of his earlier pieces sound like that of Johannes Brahms and Richard
Wagner, but his later pieces have a unique taste and color. He
composed several pieces for chamber groups as well as a number of
Ralph Vaughan-Williams was born in 1872. He was the foremost English composer of his time. He was born in Gloucestershire but brought up in Surrey. He studied music theory, piano, and violin before the age of nine. After graduating from college he studied music with Gustav Holst. He also spent three months studying with Max Bruch.
Upon returning to England, he became an organist and a composer. He created a revival in the art of English folk-song. He collected 800 examples, from which he drew his inspiration. In 1910, he composed some of his best music. This included Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It has a rich texture of harmony along with a warm melody and a popular theme. The following year, he produced his first large-scale symphony, Seas Symphony. In 1914, he composed the London Symphony, one his most massive pieces.
He went on to compose his Fourth Symphony, and with this, he
became the leader of his musical school. It was a loud and
uncharacteristic piece for him. He remained in good health until
his old age. He toured the United States in 1954, and then he died
in 1958. Not only did England lose a great musician, but a great
statesman and teacher.
His Famous Compositions
His notable pieces include Symphony #3, The Lark Ascending,
Fantasia on Greensleeves and his last opera, The Pilgrim's
Progress. His other symphonies are also worth listening to,
especially his Seventh Symphony and his London Symphony.
Other links of interest: