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Ralph Vaughan Williams 1872 - 1958 Vaughan Williams received his training from Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford both composers influenced by Brahms He graduated from Trinity College Cambridge in 1894 and studied composition with the two composers at the Royal College of Music London as well as organ and piano with several teachers Although he also studied abroad with Max Bruch 1897-98 and Ravel 1909 his style remained individual and English Receiving a Doctorate in Music from Cambridge in 1901 he was appointed organist at Lambeth and his interest in English folk music dates from his stay there Vaughan Williams became enthralled with the English folk song he was a major collector Early Vaughan Williams works have their Brahmsian and Wagnerian moments but in the early music that has survived we hear something absolutely original and unique Vaughan Williams was considered the outstanding composer of his generation in England Vaughan Williams fortunately could absorb from diverse sources -- including Stravinsky Brahms Parry Debussy Ravel Bach Byrd and Hindemith -- and yet remain absolutely and recognizably himself After a brief flirtation with French impressionism In the Fen Country String Quartet No 1 and some study with Ravel who called him the only pupil who does not write my music he hit the ground running with his incidental music to Aristophaness The Wasps the song cycle On Wenlock Edge and the classic Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis These are where the real Vaughan Williams show From here on you cant mistake the voice Vaughan Williams composed extensively in almost every genre but chamber music He is one of the great setters of English poetry and vocal music comprises a large part of his output Major works include Five Mystical Songs Merciless Beauty Sancta Civitas Serenade to Music Hodie 10 Blake Songs and Dona nobis pacem He wrote several operas not one of which has kept the stage Hugh the Drover The Poisoned Kiss Riders
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