LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Author

About the Author

Books by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Hodie (This Day)

Hodie (This Day)

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 09/09/1954

A cantata for soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists, SATB choir, and orchestra In this Christmas cantata Vaughan Williams uses and a wide range of musical styles to create a compelling, vivid, and highly original retelling of the Christmas story. Composed in 1953a4, Hodie (This Day) was Vaughan Williamsas final large-scale choral-orchestral work, and was premiered under his own baton in Worcester Cathedral as part of the 1954 Three Choirs Festival. It comprises sixteen movements, including 'narrations' of words from the Bible, chorals, and a variety of other forms for both soloists and choir. The words are taken from diverse sources, with sacred texts from the Vespers of Christmas Day and the Bible interspersed with secular texts by poets including John Milton, Thomas Hardy, and the composer's own wife Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Hodie (This Day)

Hodie (This Day)

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 09/09/1954

for soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists, SATB choir, and orchestra In this Christmas cantata Vaughan Williams uses and a wide range of musical styles to create a compelling, vivid, and highly original retelling of the Christmas story. Composed in 1953-4, Hodie (This Day) was Vaughan Williams's final large-scale choral-orchestral work, and was premiered under his own baton in Worcester Cathedral as part of the 1954 Three Choirs Festival. It comprises sixteen movements, including 'narrations' of words from the Bible, chorals, and a variety of other forms for both soloists and choir. The words are taken from diverse sources, with sacred texts from the Vespers of Christmas Day and the Bible interspersed with secular texts by poets including John Milton, Thomas Hardy, and the composer's own wife Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Greensleeves

Greensleeves

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 15/07/1954

for SA and piano This setting of the much-loved English folksong Greensleeves employs sophisticated harmony to adorn the simple yet timeless melody. An SATB version is also available.

O taste and see

O taste and see

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 07/01/1954

for SSA unaccompanied, with opt. organ introduction Despite being composed for the grand event that was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, this motet is tender and reflective. Setting text from Psalm 34: 8, the composer opens the piece with the quiet beauty of an unaccompanied treble/soprano solo. After this the lower voices are gently introduced in an imitative texture, in which the simplicity of the rhythms and melodic lines creates a sense of peace and stillness. The motet is particularly suited to performance during communion, having being performed at this point in the coronation service. A version for SATB choir is also available.

O taste and see

O taste and see

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 04/06/1953

for SATB unaccompanied, with opt. organ introduction Despite being composed for the grand event that was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, this motet is tender and reflective. Setting text from Psalm 34: 8, the composer opens the piece with the quiet beauty of an unaccompanied treble/soprano solo. After this the lower voices are gently introduced in an imitative texture, in which the simplicity of the rhythms and melodic lines creates a sense of peace and stillness. The motet is particularly suited to performance during communion, having being performed at this point in the coronation service. A version for SSA choir is also available.

Silence and Music

Silence and Music

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 28/05/1953

for SATB unaccompanied Vaughan Williams composed this setting of a poem by his wife Ursula in 1953 to form part of A Garland for the Queen, a collection of ten tributes to the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II by leading British composers and poets. It is dedicated 'to the memory of Charles Villiers Stanford, and his Blue Bird', and reflects Stanford's masterpiece in its harmonic language, floating soprano part, unaccompanied scoring, and haunting atmosphere.

The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune

The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 21/05/1953

for SATB and orchestra or brass Vaughan Williams provided music for royal ceremonies several times during his long career; in the case of this arrangement the occasion was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It is a gloriously majestic setting of the hymn 'All people that on earth do dwell' with spectacular brass fanfares and opportunities for congregational singing. There are also calmer moments: verse 4, for example, borrows from John Dowland's setting of the psalm, harking back to the previous Elizabethan age. The work was given its first concert performance by the Halle Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli in 1957, and a year later was sung at the composer's own funeral at Westminster Abbey. Orchestral and brass material is available on hire. An accompaniment for 3 trumpets, timpani, and organ is also available on sale.

The Song of the Tree of Life

The Song of the Tree of Life

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 31/12/1952

for unison or two-part voices and piano Adapted from music from The Pilgrim's Progress, this setting of words from Revelation 2 is profound and mystical. Flowing melodies, atmospheric harmonic shifts, and hushed dynamics all give the piece an ethereal quality that powerfully evokes the religious transcendence described in the text.

An Oxford Elegy

An Oxford Elegy

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 28/08/1952

for narrator, SATB chorus and chamber or string orchestra An Oxford Elegy combines adapted versions of The Scholar Gypsy and Thyrsis by Victorian poet Matthew Arnold. It conveys the story of an Oxford scholar who abandons his friends and studies to live in the countryside surrounding the city as a gypsy. The work is unusual in the fact that the text is largely spoken by a narrator, with the chorus providing mostly wordless accompaniment. The result is a highly atmospheric and evocative work that combines pastoral simplicity with darker, more melancholic passages. Scores and parts for the string and chamber orchestra accompaniments are available on hire.

Three Shakespeare Songs

Three Shakespeare Songs

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 08/02/1951

for S(S)ATB unaccompanied Three Shakespeare Songs comprises three short movements setting texts from Shakespeare's The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream. They were composed as test pieces for the 1951 British Federation of Music Festivals National Competitive Festival. The atmospheric first movement, 'Full fathom five', is mystical and beguiling, with eerie, hypnotic mimicry of bell tolls in the upper voices. 'The Cloud-Capp'd Towers', the slower central movement, recalls Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 6 in its harmonic language, while the third movement 'Over hill, over dale' is lively conclusion to the set, full of harmonic and rhythmic interest.

The Sons of Light

The Sons of Light

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 25/01/1951

for SATB and orchestra This three movement work was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in 1951 by a massed choir of 1150 school students under the direction of Sir Adrian Boult and accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Vaughan Williams made no concession to the youth of his singers, producing a powerful work that moves between musical darkness and light. The poems are by Ursula Wood, who later became the composer's wife, and are titled 'Darkness and Light', 'The Song of the Zodiac', and 'The Messengers of Speech'. Music from the work was later adapted into the song cycle Sun, Moon, Stars, and Man. Orchestral materials for both the original full orchestra accompaniment and a simplified orchestral accompaniment are available on hire.

Folk Songs of the Four Seasons

Folk Songs of the Four Seasons

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 01/06/1950

This cantata features sixteen highly-varied folk song settings, bound together in seasonal groupings to take the listener on an engaging journey through the year from Spring to Winter. The prologue implores us to 'sing and be merry', and many of the songs facilitate this with their charmingly light-hearted melodies and imaginative orchestral accompaniment. There are also darker moments, such as the haunting and heart-rending setting of 'The Unquiet Grave' in 'Autumn'. An orchestral suite (arranged by Roy Douglas) is available on hire, and several of the individual movements are available on sale.

Fantasia on Greensleeves

Fantasia on Greensleeves

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 19/06/1947

This exquisite Fantasia on the timeless English folk song 'Greensleeves' was arranged for viola/cello and piano by Watson Forbes. It features sweeping expressive phrases reminiscent of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The folk tune 'Lovely Joan' is included alongside the Greensleeves tune, forming the basis of a more animated central section.

Concerto for oboe and strings

Concerto for oboe and strings

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 06/02/1947

A capricious, lyrical, and nostalgic work, it is often considered to be Vaughan Williams's most successful work in this form. The first movement is pastoral in feeling. The second movement begins with a minuet, light and staccato in nature with a middle section featuring a musette's characteristic long-held drone played by the oboe with the melody in the strings. The third movement is a scherzo and two trios.

Greensleeves

Greensleeves

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 28/06/1945

for SATB (with divisions) unaccompanied Vaughan Willliams made numerous arrangements of the old English folk song Greensleeves throughout his career, most notably the Fantasia on 'Greensleeves', based on music from his opera Sir John in Love. This version for mixed choir uses four-part scoring to create a continuously flowing texture, with hushed dynamics and expressive harmonies bringing a sense of timelessness to the setting.

A Song of Thanksgiving

A Song of Thanksgiving

Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams Format: Sheet music Release Date: 24/05/1945

Originally entitled Thanksgiving for Victory, A Song of Thanksgiving is a powerful and moving work that celebrates the Allies' victory in World War II. It was first recorded in 1944 while the war was still ongoing, but was not broadcast until victory had been achieved in May of the following year. Comprising seven movements, it sets texts from the Bible alongside words by Shakespeare and Kipling, lending the work a sense of timelessness and grandeur. Scores and parts for both the full and reduced accompaniments are available on hire.