Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams (4023 words)

Jonathan Churchill (Duke University )
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Solo song appears throughout the catalogue of Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and its combination of diverse texts and settings reflects the dynamic musical language that came to define the composer’s 76-year career. Verse from the likes of Tennyson, Fredegond Shove, Coleridge, and the Rossetti siblings mingle with Schumann-esque Lied accompaniments, esoteric chromatic density, and chant-like austerity to challenge musico-cultural norms. Regardless of compositional particulars, however, Vaughan Williams’s songs exhibit an uncommon sensitivity to their text and its affective qualities, likely an extension of the composer’s broader attention to melody (Hold 103). This carefully curated musico-textual interaction and i…

Citation: Churchill, Jonathan. "The Songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 March 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=39071, accessed 28 March 2020.]

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