The English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was born at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, on 12 October 1872 and died in London on 26 August 1958. Like many musicians, his earlier life included a spell as a church organist. Besides his notable English teachers of composition, he spent periods with Max Bruch and Maurice Ravel. From all this stemmed a flow of music which has included several masterpieces of 20th century English music.
Classical music news - The English Music Festival - The Sussex-based festival plays its part in the return to music-making in the UK with an Autumn Festival on 9 and 20 October 2020
Ensemble. Relaxed and Exuberant - Mike Wheeler listens to Cavendish Winds playing Mozart, Danzi, Debussy, Arnold, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Bozza, Ligeti and Gershwin
Ensemble. Vaughan Williams and Jazz? - Mike Wheeler listens to a talk from Stephen Johnson, and to two works by Vaughan Williams played by John Wilson and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
120 Years Ago - A snapshot of the musical world at the turn of the twentieth century, by George Colerick
Ensemble. Varied in Tone and Style - Mike Wheeler listens to twentieth-century British music played by Derby Concert Orchestra
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Ensemble. A Neat Idea - A song recital by James Gaughan and David Hammond, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Endurance Test - Rossini, Monti, J S Bach, Mozart, Handel, Vaughan Williams and Dave Maslanka from the Syzygy Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Something Really Special - Bliss, Elgar and Vaughan Williams from Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Elizabeth Watts, Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Dignity and Restraint - Derby Choral Union's Armistice centenary concert, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Rare Outing - Poulenc, Vaughan Williams and Beethoven from the Derby Concert Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
You spotted snakes - George Colerick muses on incidental music, with particular regard to Mendelssohn
Ensemble. Well Conveyed - Stainer, Tavener, Ireland, Matthew Martin and Vaughan Williams from Derby Choral Union, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Reformation Cantatas - Commemorating a historic anniversary, reviewed by Gerald Fenech. 'Superb performances, coupled with some excellent sound and scholarly annotations complete a disc brimming with historical appeal.'
CD Spotlight. Varied Indeed - Music for military band and chorus, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... some great off-the-beaten track items that deserve to be heard more often.'
Ensemble. Engagingly Clear-eyed - Mahler, Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams from Derby Concert Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. The Treasured Crown - Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester
Ensemble. An Attractive Programme - Baroque music and English string classics from the Northern Chamber Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sparkle and Affection - American and British art songs, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a cause for constant enjoyment.'
Ensemble. Particularly Sombre - Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra commemorate The Battle of the Somme, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Wide-ranging Character - Andrew Dunlop, Ria Nolan and the Eblana String Trio, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Understated Power - Roderick Williams and Susie Allan at the Buxton Festival impress Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Fine Programme - Vaughan Williams and MacMillan oboe concertos, recommended by Howard Smith. '... superb performances ideally recorded.'
CD Spotlight. Utmost Pleasure - English music for strings, praised by Howard Smith. '... a gorgeous new release from Naxos ...'
Ensemble. Freshness and Vitality - Mike Wheeler listens to the Czech Philharmonic
CD Spotlight. Home and Abroad - Piano music by Delius, Bax, Vaughan Williams and Bridge, heard by Howard Smith. 'Commanding resolute performances of music arisen from harrowing conflict.'
Ensemble. Highly Successful - Roderic Dunnett looks back to Worcester's 2014 Three Choirs Festival, and forward to Hereford's Festival in July 2015
Ensemble. Wider Focus - Derby Bach Choir's 'Concert for Peace', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Bringing Together - Roderic Dunnett visits James MacMillan's Cumnock Tryst
Ensemble. High Fives - Mike Wheeler listens to Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra and to the NAC Wind Quintet
Sparkling Performances - Organist Roy Massey visits Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Much to Enjoy - Mark Padmore sings British vocal music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... beautifully sung, recorded and presented ...'
Ensemble. Cogent Achievements - Peter Maxwell Davies' tenth symphony and other British music, heard by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Deeply Satisfying - John Wilson conducts the CBSO, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Endearingly Oddball - British music from Derby Choral Union, including Britten's 'Rejoice in the Lamb', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Enterprisingly Apt - A wide-ranging recital by Janey Miller and Susie Summers, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Restrained Intensity - Mike Wheeler drops in on the City of London Sinfonia's Fauré Requiem tour
CD Spotlight. A Marvelous Listen - Hymn tunes played by William Neil, experienced by Gerald Fenech. '... spectacular and life enhancing ...'
CD Spotlight. Yuletide Writing - The Taylor Festival Choir, heard by Howard Smith. '... irresistible verve and clarity.'
Ensemble. Transfiguration and Redemption - Vaughan Williams' 'Pilgrim's Progress', appreciated by Roderic Dunnett
Ask Alice - Car troubles in Elgar country for Classical Music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Intertwining Counterpoint - The St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Fabulous Evening - Hokusai Chamber Orchestra's memorial concert for the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami impresses Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Glorious Singing - A recital by Alice Coote and Graham Johnson, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... interpreted with great zest and passion ...'
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. Serving the Memory - Vaughan Williams conducted by Hickox, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... this series will undoubtedly please British music aficionados.'
Ensemble. Strength of Purpose - Nicholas Collon conducts Sinfonia Viva, heard by Mike Wheeler
DVD Spotlight. Dignity and Impudence - A recital on Exeter Cathedral's organ, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... Millington on fine form ...'
Ensemble. Deeply Affecting - A Remembrance Concert in Clapham, attended by Michael Graubart
Structural Thinking - Recitals on the organ at Derby Cathedral by Andrew Dewar, David Briggs and Anthony Hammond, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Joining Forces - British Art Songs, heard by George Balcombe. '... a strong affinity ...'
CD Spotlight. Subtly Harmonized - Moeran solo folksong arrangements delight Patric Standford. '... a delightful exploration of the sensitive and creative treatment of folksongs ...'
Ensemble. Remarkable Development - Quilter songs from Trevor Alexander and Peter Crockford impress Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. The Wizard from Oz - David Arditti attends a celebration for the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Percy Grainger
CD Spotlight. Unjustly Neglected - Orchestral tone poems by Boughton and Bainton impress Robert Anderson. '... performed with conviction and sensitivity ...'
CD Spotlight. An Appropriate Memorial - Songs by Moeran, Warlock and Geoffrey Stern, heard by Patric Standford. '... a well balanced programme and clean, clear studio performances ...'
Ensemble. Real Spirit - A Christmas offering from Derby Choral Union, heard by Mike Wheeler
Timings - Breaking Moulds: 1910, by Jennifer Paull
Ensemble. Intensely Gripping - Bizet, Richard Strauss and Vaughan Williams from Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
A Performance to Remember - A recital by Emanuel Rimoldi impresses Bill Newman
Wondrously Expansive - Ronan Magill's recital at London's Wigmore Hall impresses Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Neatly Balanced - A City Lit music gala, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Pushing Back the Boundaries - London Sinfonietta's 'British Experiments', reviewed by Chris Graham
Serious Fun - Lynn Norris looks back at the life of composer, conductor and pianist Aubrey Bowman
Ensemble. A New Path - Music by Oliver Rudland, heard by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Boldly Programmed - Music by Antonín Tucapský, Petr Eben and Vaughan Williams, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Musical Finesse - Songs by Gregg Kallor, recommended by Howard Smith. 'Go to the top of the class.'
CD Spotlight. Fifty Years - Celebrating Lyrita's recordings of British music, by George Balcombe. '... a meticulous reproduction of orchestral sound ...'
CD Spotlight. Robust and Spirited - James Tibbles plays J S Bach, heard by Howard Smith. '... worthy of widespread international recognition.'
Ensemble. Crystalline Lightness - A Symphony of the Americas concert, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
CD Spotlight. Mice in the Manger - A selection of Christmas music, enjoyed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing collection.'
CD Spotlight. Boisterous Energy - Vaughan Williams' piano concerto, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Highly recommended ...'
Ensemble. A Cogent Argument - Mike Wheeler listens to Stephen Johnson and the BBC Philharmonic
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
A Useful Survey - Thomas May's 'The John Adams Reader', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ask Alice - When to put up and shut up, by classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Excellent Throughout - A lunchtime piano recital by Maiko Mori, heard by Bill Newman
Ensemble. An Eloquent Performance - Music from the Richard Roddis Singers and the Helix Ensemble, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Highly Resourceful - Mike Wheeler listens to a new work by Richard Roddis
Ensemble. An Involving Performance - Brahms' German Requiem, sung by the Derwent Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Shaken and Stirred - Maurice Steger plays Giuseppe Sammartini, recommended by Jennifer Paull
Record Box. Entirely Idiomatic - Vaughan Williams from Japan, reviewed by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. In Memory of Hickox - Vaughan Williams' 'Sancta Civitas', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Inner Calm - Holst and Vaughan Williams from Nottingham, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Deeply Thoughtful - Byrd, Vaughan Williams, Parry and Elgar from the Sitwell Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Accomplished Performance - Matthew Moss sings British music, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Gloriously Colourful - The British Society of Music Therapy looks back, with Margaret Campbell
Ensemble. A Bright Future - Malcolm Miller was at the final night of the 2008 BBC Proms in London
Youthful Freshness - Gareth Green gives the final organ recital in Derby Cathedral's summer series, and Mike Wheeler was in the audience
An Interesting Programme - An organ recital by Martin Neary, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Extraordinary Clarity - Naji Hakim begins the Derby Cathedral summer organ recital series, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Pastoral Pleasures - English music for flute, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... the Tavener alone would justify the purchase ...'
Ensemble. A Geordie Knees-Up - John Wilson conducts the Hallé Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
An Enviable Reputation - Mike Brewer and The National Youth Choirs celebrate their 25th anniversary, by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Nicely Caught - A song recital by Richard Roddis and Clive Pollard, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Expressive Power - Mike Wheeler listens to Natalie Clein and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Unexpected Delights - Mike Wheeler listens to The Sitwell Singers
Record Box. Spirited Performance - Festive music by Vaughan Williams, reviewed by Patric Standford
Record Box. Excellent Singing - A Christmas selection from Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, enjoyed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Brahms and Jazz - Organist Peter Gould joins forces with The Swingle Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Energy and Exuberance - Music by Haydn, Karl Jenkins and Vaughan Williams, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Mature Technique - Alina Pogostkina with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, appreciated by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sparkle and Polish - Robin Zebaida plays piano rarities, enjoyed by Bill Newman. '... musical appeal is immediate.'
Ensemble. Witty and Entertaining - 'Sir John in Love', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Plea for peace - Vaughan Williams's 'Dona Nobis Pacem' in Florida, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Striking sonorities - Twentieth-century British music, sung by Derby Choral Union, and reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Punchy dynamism - Sinfonia ViVA at Derby's Guildhall, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Symphonic structure - The Hallé Orchestra plays Vaughan Williams in Derby, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Heart-rending beauty - Concertos by Elgar and Kopytman, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Record box. Impressive performances - A 20th century recital by the Westminster Choir, recommended by Patric Standford
Ensemble. A fitting celebration - The BBC National Orchestra of Wales plays Ravel, Hoddinott and Vaughan Williams, reviewed by Rex Harley
Record box. The perceptive oboe - Nancy Ambrose King plays oboe concertos, reviewed by Basil Ramsey
CD Spotlight. Valued archives - Stokowski and the classic Columbias, reviewed by Patric Standford. '... a powerful performance ...'
Record box. Expanding repertoire - A Daniel Rubinoff saxophone recital, reviewed by Patric Standford
Personal connections - Robert Hugill discusses Vaughan Williams and the Bloomsbury Group
Whispers of heavenly death - Roderic Dunnett talks to Martin Lee-Browne about a newly-discovered Vaughan Williams setting of Walt Whitman (concluded from last week)
Whispers of heavenly death - Roderic Dunnett talks to Martin Lee-Browne about a newly-discovered Vaughan Williams setting of Walt Whitman
CD Spotlight - Reflective modality. '... a notable collection of songs in beautifully controlled and devoted performances ...' Listening to a recital of music by Rubbra and Vaughan Williams, with Patric Standford
Second sight. Music with Wilfrid Mellers. - A Double Man's Last Harvest. Vaughan Williams' Symphonies 8 and 9
Record box - Checking the pulse. Vaughan Williams and chamber music, with Basil Ramsey
Speaking universally - A Yank's appreciation of British music, with Richard Krause
CD Spotlight - Fresh and stylish. 'Richard Edgar-Wilson gives musicianly interpretations of all works, admirably partnered by the Coull Quartet ...' Songs for tenor, with Trevor Hold
CD Spotlight - Rare Vaughan Williams. 'All involved in this performance plunge merrily into the fray like persons possessed.' Hilary Davan Wetton's performances of the 'Tudor Portraits' and 'Mystical Songs' with Bill Newman