Vaughan Williams

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

            Ralph Vaughan Williams (incidentally, pronounced: “Rayf, not Ralf”) is perhaps Britain’s most important and influential composer of the first half of the twentieth century.  Prolific in most musical genres, he was an active composer from his student days right up until his death in 1958, at the age of eighty-six.  He composed dozens of works that are part of the core repertory of British music of the last century, including the important series of nine symphonies.  He lived a long life—long enough to have written in a number of rather different styles, all of them authentic and reflective of his changing interests and the times.  He was born into an educated, upper middle class family, attended Cambridge University, and studied with eminent musicians and scholars, including