I want the idea to be universal and to apply to anybody who aims at the spiritual life whether he is a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Shintoist or Fifth Day Adventist.That is the editor of the English Hymnal, composer of that great hymn tune Down Ampney ('Come Down, O Love Divine') and bodhisattva Ralph Vaughan Williams speaking. He is explaining why in the libretto of his opera The Pilgrim's Progress he changed the name of the central character in John Bunyan's allegory from Christian to Pilgrim. Given that the work was composed between 1944 and 1949 his diminution of the Seventh Day Adventists and omission of Muslims and Hindus is understandable.
Sir Adrian Boult's 1971 recording of The Pilgrim's Progress should be in every CD collection. The cast that includes John Noble as the Pilgrim, Wynford Evans (who sings the role of Pliable!), John Carol Case, Sheila Armstrong, Ian Partridge, Robert Lloyd, Norma Burrowes, and Alfreda Hodgson and they are captured in vivid pre-digital Kingsway Hall sound by one of the great production partnerships of classical music, Christopher Bishop and Christopher Parker. At EMI's current fire-sale price of £7.98 on Amazon it is unmissable and an invaluable bonus on the CD transfer is a rehearsal sequence from the Kingsway Hall sessions.
Ralph Vaughan Williams lived in Dorking, Surrey for much of his life and The Pilgrim's Progress was composed in The White House off Wescott Road, now demolished. My header photo shows the statue of him outside the Dorking Halls where he presented his annual Leith Hill Festival including a Matthew Passion complete with piano and organ continuo. Below is a graphic illustration of global warming (warning?) in the hills around Dorking. The town is on the same latitude as Eindhoven in Holland and the hills to the north of the town are now covered by the vines of Denbies vine estate, Englands largest vineyard.
Talking of wine, here is another bottle of third-pressing Mahler.
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