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music for pleasure (2) - The Villages

Date: 2008-05-23 23:21
Subject: music for pleasure (2)
Security: Public
Location:the bedroom in the sky
Music:midnight oil
There was an absolutely storming biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams on BBC4 this evening. I've been a huge fan of VW's stuff since I was a kiddie, but I never bothered to find out anything about him, and this film filled in the background admirably. Very popular with the ladies, VW, apparently.
I really do think Vaughan Williams is the only English composer to have captured `Englishness,' or at least Englishness as it was when he was alive - although I think it was dying even then. Elgar comes close, but I find him extraordinarily pompous. Holst almost manages it in some of the movements of The Planets, but only Vaughan Williams does it properly, to my mind. I'm not a terribly nationalistic chap - I find nationalism rather disturbing, to be honest with you - but I think of VW as a kind of soundtrack to the way I feel about my country. If you want to know what kind of sound my soul makes, listen to the Tallis Fantasia.
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RealThog: real copies!
User: realthog
Date: 2008-05-24 02:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:real copies!

It's only relatively recently that I've begun to discover RVW. I'm easing myself in gradually, but am much enjoying what I listen to. Another of that general ilk whom I've recently started to appreciate is Arthur Bliss. I think in both cases I'd heard dull stuff on the Last Night of the Proms and assumed that was all there was to them.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2008-05-24 21:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, Bliss is another composer who taps into a folk-song tradition, I think, as does Arnold Bax. Of VW's stuff, I can recommend a lot of his shorter works like A Norfolk Rhapsody, Flos Campi, Five Variants Of Dives And Lazarus, and of course the Tallis Fantasia, but the symphonies are marvellous in their own right.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2008-05-24 21:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I remember quite distinctly hearing one of his pieces when I was 4 years old at Mass. It was exquisite. I do believe that was the beginning of my anglophilic tendencies (and I bet you thought it was when our paths crossed).

I hope that the biography ends up on BBC-America.

-the other jean-marie

PS It's still a tad on the sooty side here, but the fires are mostly contained.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2008-05-24 21:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Vaughan Williams was actually an agnostic, but as someone in the documentary commented, he saw no reason why people in church shouldn't have really good music. I think some of his stuff is miraculous. As far as I understand it, he worked from a very deep knowledge of English folk song, but it's not showy, it's just grand and marvellous. The Tallis Fantasia is almost beyond belief; I don't think any other composer could have written that.
And I'm actually rather touched that you've been checking in, considering how close you came to having to flee for your lives this weekend. I'm glad you're okay.

Edited at 2008-05-24 09:54 pm (UTC)
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