Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Today is the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams's birth

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born 150 years ago today.

The Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, one of his undoubted masterpieces, was first performed in Gloucester Cathedral as part of the Three Choirs Festival of 1910.

As far as I can recall, at BoxmoorPrimary School we had only two records to listen to: this and Morning by Grieg. Luckily, I fell in love with the Tallis Fantasia.

It was also one of the pieces of music - this very recording - that my mother enjoyed listening to in her final days.


Lang Rabbie said...

Thank you for sharing this - I somehow failed to catch up with it at the time of the original Lockdown Sessions series by the Philharmonic.

"The Tallis Fantasia is that most British of things, a modernist trailblazer that we’ve persuaded ourselves is a piece of cosy pastoralism. A good performance of the Fantasia needs to rewild it to restore some of the astonishment of the original 1910 audience at this ‘queer, mad work by an odd fellow from Chelsea’."

I remain unconvinced by the "distressed" interior of Battersea Town Hall after the post-fire reconstruction, which makes it look funereal.

Frank Little said...

That Three Choirs Festival performance is where Herbert Howells first met RVW. Howells' daughter, the actress Ursula, was named after RVW's second wife.