Vaughn Williams – The Lark Ascending

When hearing the sound of music lifts your soul, it is a miracle of awareness and cosmic connection. Vaughn Williams’ piece, “The Lark Ascending,” has always moved me in a deep way for it is both deeply evocative of nature and meditative. And I am often profoundly satisfied in nature and meditation. When both are mixed through music, something happens to me.

Barbara Heninger wrote a beautiful set of notes on this marvelous piece:

“In The Lark Ascending, Vaughan Williams found inspiration not only in English folk themes but in a poem by the English poet George Meredith (1828-1909). The composer included this portion of Meredith’s poem on the flyleaf of the published work:

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.”

A personal romance I have with this particular work composed in the early 1900s. You can find several performances at iTunes. The London Philharmonic performance conducted by Bernard Haitink, with Sarah Chang on violin, is my favorite version. See if you can find it online. You might cry while immersed in this miracle of celestial beauty like I have done so many times before.


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