The result was the creation of a distinctly English musical voice that evoked the cultural heritage of a nation. In particular, the sheer beauty, vitality, and aesthetic force of Vaughan Williams's works, which include The Lark Ascending, Greensleeves, the Tallis Fantasia, and nine symphonies, connected listeners to a timeless past and gave them a common national spirit, especially during turbulent, war-torn times.
This concise biography charts the course of Williams's remarkable life and career. Simon Heffer traces his privileged upbringing, his years of painstaking studies with Hubert Parry, Max Bruch, and Maurice Ravel, his promotion of folk-song and editorship of the English Hymnal, his close association with Holst and George Butterworth, and his emergence as the leader of English musical life.
The first truly English composer of the twentieth century, Williams was a genius of musical invention who is still beloved and admired in Britain and around the world.