Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Nationality: English
Born: October 12, 1872, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire Died: August 26, 1958, London (age 85)

Phantasy Quintet

(for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello)
4:09 I. Prelude: Lento ma non troppo
4:05 II. Scherzo: Prestissimo
2:53 III. Alla Sarabanda: Lento
4:11 IV. Burlesca: Allegro moderato
Duration: 15 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1911-1912 (age 38-40)
Published: 1921, London: Stainer & Bell (age 48-49)
Dedication: W.W. Cobbett and the members of The London String Quartet
2 recordings, 8 videos
autoplay
4:02
Medici String Quartet, Simon Rowland-Jones
I. Prelude: Lento ma non troppo
4:05
Medici String Quartet, Simon Rowland-Jones
II. Scherzo: Prestissimo
3:00
Medici String Quartet, Simon Rowland-Jones
III. Alla Sarabanda: Lento
4:19
Medici String Quartet, Simon Rowland-Jones
IV. Burlesca: Allegro moderato
4:07
Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson
I. Prelude: Lento ma non troppo
4:10
Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson
II. Scherzo: Prestissimo
2:51
Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson
III. Alla Sarabanda: Lento
4:05
Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson
IV. Burlesca: Allegro moderato
From Edition Silvertrust

Ralph Vaughan WilliamsRalph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) is one of England's most important 20th century composers. He was born in the small village of Down Ampney in Gloucestershire and was educated at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music where he studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford. Subsequently he studied with Max Bruch in Berlin and Maurice Ravel in Paris. Vaughan Williams was able to establish his own distinctive voice early on and his quintet, though it shows some French influence, is unmistakably recognizable as coming from him.

His Phantasy Quintet dates from 1912 and was dedicated to Walter Wilson Cobbett who had created and endowed a famous competition. The Cobbett Competitions where designed to encourage the younger generation of British composers to write chamber music. The rules of the competition provided an alternate format, the old English Fancy for Fantasia from the time of Henry Purcell, to the traditional four movement work which had developed from Haydn onwards.

The opening Prelude begins with a lovely viola solo eventually answered by the first violin. The melody is pentatonic. The second movement, a Scherzo, starts with the cello and is quite unusual with its asymmetrical rhythm and ostinato. Perhaps there is a vague aura of Ravel. Next comes an Alla Sarabanda. It is a Lento played entirely muted and without the cello who rejoins the proceedings in the finale, Burlesca, which appears based on folk song and brings with it echoes of the first movement.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Related Composers

1900 WWI WWII Max Bruch (1838-1920) Hubert Parry (1848-1918) Charles Stanford (1852-1924) Charles Wood (1866-1926) Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Gustav Holst (1874-1934) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Robin Milford (1903-1959)
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