Vaughan Williams: Becoming an English Composer

Program & Artists

7 PM Performance with commentary by Leon Botstein

Ralph Vaughan Williams
“Down Ampney (Come Down, O Love Divine)” from The English Hymnal
Quintet for piano and strings in C minor
Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Concerto in D minor for violin and strings
Serenade to Music
O taste and see
Arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams
Selections from Five English Folk Songs
“Old Hundredth Psalm Tune”

Leon Botstein conductor
the Horszowski Trio and guests
William Ferguson tenor
Theo Hoffman baritone
Renée Anne Louprette organ
Grace Park violin
Sun-Ly Pierce mezzo-soprano
Brandie Sutton soprano
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell music director


Presented by the Bard Music Festival

The Bard Music Festival returns for its 33rd season with an exploration of the life and work of Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of the greatest symphonists of the 20th century.

Launching the 33rd Bard Music Festival, Program One harnesses Bard’s unusual ability to integrate orchestral, choral, vocal, and chamber works within a single event. This concert offers an overview of Vaughan Williams’s long and prolific career, from his early songs and Piano Quintet to his neo-classical D-minor Violin Concerto and famed Tallis Fantasia, which marries folk modality with Elizabethan themes in a stirring evocation of Englishness.

As a reminder of the way his contemporaries most often encountered his music, the program will open and close with two of Vaughan Williams’s best-loved hymn settings: “Down Ampney,” named for the village of his birth, and the “Old Hundredth” psalm. A set of variations embodying a potted history of English music, this was written for the coronation of Elizabeth II and sung again five years later at the composer’s own funeral.

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