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.