chapter
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Pages 14

The first mature works of Ralph Vaughan Williams emergedshortly before World War I. His reputation continued to growthroughout his long career, only to fall under a shadow after his death. In part this temporary decline reflected the slump in reputation that often follows a composer’s demise, but it also reflected the shifting musical influences following World War II. With the return to favor of tonality and a greater interest in composers who could and would speak for a broader society, Vaughan Williams came into his own once again as the 20th century moved toward its close. The short list of works addressed here, determined by frequency of performance during the last decade of the century, represents a minute portion of his oeuvre, and all were written during his early years. If interest in his works continues to rise, the best days for Vaughan Williams’s music may lie ahead.