Ralph Vaughan Williams

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Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (pronounced /ˌreɪf ˌvɔːn ˈwɪliəmz/)[1] (12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song which influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, containing many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, in addition to several original compositions.



Early years

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on 12 October 1872 in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, where his father, the Revd Arthur Vaughan Williams (the surname Vaughan Williams is an unhyphenated double-barrelled name), was vicar. Following his father's death in 1875 he was taken by his mother, Margaret Susan née Wedgwood (1843–1937), the great-granddaughter of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, to live with her family at Leith Hill Place, a Wedgwood family home in the Surrey Hills. He was also related to the Darwins, Charles Darwin being a great-uncle. Though born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, Vaughan Williams never took it for granted and worked all his life for the democratic and egalitarian ideals in which he believed.[2]

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