22 Sep 2018

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: A Pastoral Symphony

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 22 September 2018
Vaughan Williams in 1920

Vaughan Williams in 1920 Photo: E. O. Hoppé, Public Domain

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) began his 'Pastoral Symphony' in the same year as his more famous 'Lark Ascending' was premièred. In spite of its title, recalling Beethoven's, this is no gentle walk in the countryside.

The composer noted "It's really wartime music - a great deal of it incubated when I used to go up night after night in the ambulance wagon [in France] ... it's not really lambkins frisking at all ..."

In fact the title can be seen as an ironic reference to the conflict associated with war-torn landscapes, and the forlorn hope for cessation of hostilities. Each of the four movements is imbued with a sense of tranquil sadness and unrest.

Recorded 22 September 2018, Wigram Airforce Museum, Christchurch by RNZ Concert

Sound engineer: Darryl Stack