A pilgrim's final progress

Ursula Vaughan Williams died on October 23 2007 aged 96. She married Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1953, and contributed to several of his later works, including the magical Serenade to Music which sets words from The Merchant of Venice. The photo above was taken at the 1971 sessions for Vaughan William's Pilgrims Progress, and shows Ursula Vaughan Williams on the extreme left.

The Guardian obituary reminds us that, as well as contributing to her husband's work, Ursula Vaughan Williams provided librettos to a veritable who's who of twentieth century composers including Gerald Finzi, Alun Hoddinott, Herbert Howells, Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy, Anthony Milner, Alan Ridout, Phyllis Tate and Malcolm Williamson.

So ends an important chapter in the history of modern music. Although, sadly, it may not be recognised as such everywhere.

... Soft stillness and the night
Becomes the touches of harmony.
The Merchant of Venice, Act V

Here's a topical mix of Vaughan Williams and Norman Lebrecht.
Photo credit Godfrey McDominic/EMI. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Webrarian said…
What sad news. Truly the end of an era.

Thirty years ago the singer Hervey Allen told me how he and Ursula had gone through RVW's piles of music after his death.

They found the 'missing' last song of the Songs of Travel together.
Bob said…
Wow. That woke me up. It had never occurred to me that she was so much younger than RVW & could have outlived him by so many years.
Pliable said…
Thank you - http://nightafternight.blogs.com/night_after_night/
Pliable said…
Email received:



On the above page, the unnamed person in the picture you are displaying of the Kingsway Hall control room is the undersigned.

All best wishes,
David Pickett www.fugato.com/pickett http://www.linkedin.com/in/pickettd Blog: http://davidpickett.wordpress.com

Recent popular posts

Can streamed music ever be beautiful?

All aboard the Martinu bandwagon

Great music has no independent existence

Mahler that dares to be different

Who are the real classical role models?

The Berlin Philharmonic's darkest hour

Master musician who experienced the pain of genius

He was not an online kind of person

Nada Brahma - Sound is God

Classical music's biggest problem is that no one cares