This week’s music is The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughn Williams, performed by violinist Hilary Hahn.
The Lark Ascending was inspired by an 1880 George Meredith poem about a skylark in flight. The violin line dips and soars, imitating the path of the bird. The orchestra seems to represent the shifting breeze on which the bird floats. It is a visual picture, created in sound. Vaughn Williams referred to it as his “pastoral romance.”
I think perhaps the best thing I can offer you is the words of the poem on which this piece is based. Therefore, without further ado:
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.
One thought on “The Lark Ascending”
It’s hard to hear such winged verse Send hearts to sky, lift up from earth, A silver chain, a golden cup, Our valley holding, the sacred mirth.
— Tim Carson, 2021
(To 19th century poetry and the song it inspired!)