Vaughan Williams

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Faber & Faber, Apr 5, 2012 - Music - 160 pages
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A tweedy purveyor of folklore; too many larks ascending and too much Linden Lea: no composer's work has ever been more cruelly stereotyped than that of Ralph Vaughan Williams. The truth could hardly have been more different: that folksy feel masked the highest sophistication, that countrified air the most audacious experimentation. If, unlike his Germanizing contemporary Elgar, Vaughan Williams did indeed open the way to a distinctively English Music, his was an Englishness which owed nothing to narrow-mindedness or lack of artistic enterprise.

Fifty years after his death in 1958, Vaughan Williams' reputation is greater than ever before and there is a resurgence of interest in his music. Re-issued to coincide with this anniversary, Simon Heffer's perceptive book lends weight to the increasingly compelling case for Vaughan Williams' recognition as the most important English composer of the twentieth century.

'A vivid and appealing picture of an irresistibly likeable figure ... I enjoyed this little book enormously.' Spectator

'An affectionate, accurate and shrewd account of Vaughan Williams' life ... the author's astute commentary on it betokens close and knowledgeable acquaintance.' Sunday Telegraph

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Vaughan Williams

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Along with his friend Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams led a 20th-century musical renaissance in England by rejecting continental influences in favor of native folksongs. Critics have often ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Simon Heffer (born 1960) has been since 2005 an Associate Editor and columnist of the Daily Telegraph. In his extensive career as a journalist he has also been the Deputy Editor and Political Correspondent for The Spectator, the Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph (1994-1995) and columnist with the Daily Mail. He is also the author of six books, including his biographies of Enoch Powell (Like the Roman) and Vaughan Williams, both being reissued in Faber Finds.

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