I used to hear this piece occasionally on the radio and wonder, what is this music? It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. I remember, thanks to the internet, being able to do a search, and finally discover the author. I don’t know a whole lot about classical music, and when I hear a piece I cannot really identify it, except say for something by Beethoven, so the wonders of our modern, online world can be quite beneficial for things such as discovering music. This posted video is the first half of the work, but you get the feel, and can certainly find the rest if you search. (I posted this particular video because I liked the image of the mountains–it seemed appropriate for this music).
Ralph Vaughan-Williams (1872-1958) was an English composer. I usually don’t associate great classical music with English composers, but as this piece shows, he was a man of great talent. It was one of the themes for the great 2003 movie about the British navy during the Napoleonic wars, Master and Commander, which starred Russell Crowe.
Since I know next to nothing about classical music, I will let this piece speak for itself. All I can say is that it possesses great beauty, a certain type of melancholic beauty, but beauty nevertheless. I suppose it is important to mention every now and then on this blog that there are other types of beauty in the world than simply the erotic or physical, and music is one of the great vehicles for expressing the deeper and more mysterious types of beauty in our world. This piece is reflective of that. There is something inherently and eternally spiritual about music, especially music like this. As much as I enjoy contemporary forms of music, such as blues or rock, this type of music by Vaughn is truly music, and in a whole different class by itself. I even read once an interview with Jimmy Page, the founder and guitarist of Led Zeppelin, and one of the great rock guitarists of all time, who said it is absurd to apply the word genius to rock music, since the music is fundamentally so simple. Page mentioned that classical music can justify the term, since the music is so complex.
I love art, music and literature because they are, at least for me, the best means God has given man to express his spirituality and the spirituality of the world around us. Music such as this, by Vaughan, definitely can be called genius. Like all great art or music, it deeply touches the soul in ways that are indescribable.