The com­poser

BBC Music Magazine - - Building A Library -

Vaughan Wil­liams be­gan writ­ing sym­phonies com­par­a­tively late – it was on his 38th birth­day that his first of them, A Sea Sym­phony, was pre­miered at the Leeds Fes­ti­val in 1910. A fur­ther eight would fol­low, hugely wide-rang­ing in style and con­tent, from the vivid ci­tyscape de­pic­tion of A Lon­don Sym­phony (1913) to the vi­o­lent fore­bod­ing of the dis­so­nant Fourth (1935) and cau­tious op­ti­mism of the Fifth, com­posed dur­ing the dark­est days of World War II. His fi­nal sym­phony, the Ninth, was pre­miered in April 1958, four months be­fore his death at the age of 85.

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