LANSDOWNE

SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending Program Notes

English  poet  George  Meredith  (1828-1909)  wrote  his  beautiful  pastoral  poem  The  Lark  Ascending in  1881.    The  61  rhyming  couplets  of  the  poem,  over  one  sentence,  depict  the  voice  of  a  lark,  celebrating  life,  nature  and  the  countryside  over  which  he  flies.    Vaughan  Williams  composed  the  piece  for  violin  and  piano  in  1914,  and  orchestrated  it  in  1920.    He  included  three  excerpts  from  the  poem  inside  the  front  cover  of  the  score:  

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  instills,  

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.