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Ralph Vaughan Williams - Essay Example

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He is one of the seminal figures in the development of British music and in the history of musical nationalism. However, as Alain Frogley…
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Ralph Vaughan Williams

At this juncture, in order to understand the reasons behind the great degree of neglect Vaughan Williams faced, it is necessary to start from the beginning of his musical life.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born as the third child of Arthur and Margaret Vaughan Williams, on 12 October 12, 1872, in Down Ampney. Arthur was the vicar of All Saints Church at Down Ampney. Ralph received his early music lessons from his aunt Sophy as music was important in the family. Thus, at the age of six, he produced his first piano piece named ‘The Robin Nest’. According to records, he also loved reading, playing duets, and enjoying Shakespearian works3.
As he reached the preparatory school at Rottingdean, he realised that he was good in violin. However, his family wanted him to concentrate on organ instead of violin. After his preparatory school, he joined the Royal College of Music where Sir Hubert Parry gave him in depth knowledge about music. Furthermore, it was at this time that he was filled with a degree of nobility and greatness of English choral tradition. One can see the influence of folk songs on the texture, contours, and melodies of his works like Fen Country and Norfolk Rhapsodies.
In addition, there was the impact of his connection with hymn-tunes on his works as he was the musical editor of the English Hymnal for a long time. At that time, he spent considerable amount of time studying the works of Tudor and Elizabethan composers. In fact, over these years, he was influenced by the works of a lot of great people ranging from Sir Hubert Parry, Tudor, and Elizabethan choral music. Thus, in the year 1910, he produced remarkable works like Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and A Sea Symphony.
As Alain Frogley points out, the lack of recognition received by Vaughan Williams was not a mere accident; instead, his contribution was distorted and blighted “not only by the international musical politics of this century, ... Read More
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