Vaughan Williams Ten Little Pieces


Vaughan Williams

Series about classical music. Molly Rainford visits the English countryside to explore the tranquil piece The Lark Ascending.


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Transcript


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So, you might want to stick some Bach on your playlist

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if life seems pretty good,

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or maybe some Wagner if you need an energy boost.

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And then there's other music that can give us time to breathe,

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some space to think and stop the world for a while.

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MUSIC: The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams

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Do you have those days that have gone wrong?

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When you lie back on your bed, put some music on - any music -

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and imagine you're just floating away from it all?

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On those days, I want to be that lark up there,

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belting out a beautiful song high up in the sky.

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And up there, just like when you look down from a plane

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or tall building, the world seems different.

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We become smaller.

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Maybe our worries do, too.

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An English composer called Ralph Vaughan Williams

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was walking along the coast near Margate

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when he imagined a violin melody that would capture this feeling

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of a bird singing as it makes its steep vertical flight.

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And he called it The Lark Ascending.

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It was September 1914...

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GUNFIRE ..Britain had just entered

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the First World War, and soon, Vaughan Williams joined the Army

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and left for France.

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In the trenches during that war,

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some of the few birds the soldiers ever saw or heard

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were skylarks flying high over their heads.

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That birdsong must have sounded like an escape, freedom,

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like a different world they had left behind.

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When he came back from the war,

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Vaughan Williams returned to his violin piece with its melody -

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fragile, peaceful, out of reach, like the bird.

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And he created this music -

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music that, for me, really CAN take you to another place,

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wherever you want that to be.

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Molly Rainford visits the English countryside to explore the tranquil piece The Lark Ascending, written by English composer Vaughan Williams at the time of World War I. Violin star Nicola Benedetti is the soloist with the BBC Philharmonic.


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