Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vaughan Williams for Remembrance Sunday

For Remembrance Sunday, here is the earliest recording I can currently find of Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending: the work that perhaps more than any other evokes a moment of stillness in a world about to be swept away by the outbreak of World War I. This account by Isolde Menges is conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent (with what the uploader describes only as "a less than sterling orchestra"). It dates from 1928.

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.

For singing till his heaven fills,
‘Tis love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
to lift us with him as he goes.

Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

--- George Meredith