Ralph Vaughn Williams, 1921.
The Lark Ascending.

The distinctly British Composer wrote this fabulous solo violin with orchestra work in the early 20th century. It tells the story of a skylark rising above the English country side, its beauty in full view. It was inspired by the poem of the same title by George Meredith:

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake,
All intervolv’d and spreading wide, 5
Like water-dimples down a tide
Where ripple ripple overcurls
And eddy into eddy whirls;
A press of hurried notes that run
So fleet they scarce are more than one, 10
Yet changingly the trills repeat
And linger ringing while they fleet,
Sweet to the quick o’ the ear, and dear
To her beyond the handmaid ear,
Who sits beside our inner springs, 15
Too often dry for this he brings,
Which seems the very jet of earth
At sight of sun, her musci’s mirth,
As up he wings the spiral stair,
A song of light, and pierces air 20
With fountain ardor, fountain play,
To reach the shining tops of day,
And drink in everything discern’d
An ecstasy to music turn’d,
Impell’d by what his happy bill 25
Disperses; drinking, showering still,
Unthinking save that he may give
His voice the outlet, there to live
Renew’d in endless notes of glee,
So thirsty of his voice is he, 30
For all to hear and all to know
That he is joy, awake, aglow,

poem in entirety here.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
New Philharmonic Orchestra (Hugh Bean solo, Sir Boult conducts) version available here.
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Iona Brown solo, Marriner conducts) version available here.
English String Orchestra (Michael Bochmann solo, Boughton conducts) version available here.

Photo from RSPB, learn more about the Skylark and conservation of various bird species here.


Blogger Andrew Ironwood said...

I like the Hilary Hahn recording meself, but then I might happen to be a little 'crushed out' on her, so ymmv [grin]...

May 22, 2007 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger callmemickey said...

Andrew, I haven't heard her version, you don't happen to know what label that was recorded on?

May 26, 2007 at 9:36 PM  

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