Simon Heffer Vaughan Williams

ISBN 13: 9780571245758

Vaughan Williams

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9780571245758: Vaughan Williams
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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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About the Author:

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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It is to be questioned whether a new study of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) is called for, when a couple of good biographies are already available, including one by his widow, Ursula, and Michael Kennedy's excellent book on the music. But journalist and author Heffer (Nor Shall My Sword: The Reinvention of England), who seems to have no special musical training (which his subject would probably have wryly appreciated) has done a thoroughly workmanlike job of evoking the composer's peculiarly English ethos. VW (as he is known in England) set out consciously to be an English composer rather than a member of any international group or movement, and though there were critics who derided what they saw as his parochiality, his music, Heffer observes, has survived with remarkable strength, some of it now even seen as prophetic. Heffer is particularly insightful about VW's last symphonies, the unaccountably neglected piano concerto and his long and constantly thwarted ambition to compose operas that would hold their place in the repertory. But Heffer has nothing much to add, in this slim volume, to what is already known of the life. (If only some scholar could unearth a more complete account of VW's period of study with Ravel in Paris surely one of the unlikeliest matchings of two great composers ever made.) What Heffer has done very convincingly is to set forth eloquently what makes VW's music not only internationally admired, but a source of particular pride and solace to his countrymen. Heffer concludes with an all-too-brief critical discography.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description FABER & FABER, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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". Seller Inventory # LIE9780571245758

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