Symphony No. 5

Ralph Vaughan Williams / Peter Horton
Study score
In stock


Despite having been composed in the years 1938-43 when Europe was ravaged by war, this work radiates peace and serenity. It marks the peak of the lyrical modalism of works such as the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910), Flos Campi (1925), and Job (1931). Although it is not a programme symphony, it draws heavily on John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress for inspiration, featuring several themes that were sketched for (and eventually used in) Vaughan Williamsâs 1951 opera. In addition, Bunyan's words 'He hath given me rest by his sorrow and life by his death' were originally inscribed over the third movement. This idea of strength drawn from religion must have been especially potent when Vaughan Williams conducted the premiere of the work at the Proms in 1943, during the dark days of the Second World War. The ending in particular has a sense of rising above all worldly concerns into a higher spiritual plane.
This edition contains a preface on the history of the work by Michael Kennedy. Orchestral parts are available on hire.

  • Newly engraved edition of a major OUP work and standard repertoire piece
  • Study score format accessible to students
  • piece selected for A-level syllabus (AQA 2010)
  • Corrects errors and misprints and is based on the research of extant autograph and early copies
  • Includes a preface by Vaughan Williams scholar Michael Kennedy

Additional Information

Item Number: 9780193368248
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 120
Duration: 38 Mins
Publication Date: 27/08/2009
ISBN: 9780193368248
Format: 246x189
Force: Full orchestra
Instrumentation: 2fl(II+picc), ob, ca, 2cl, 2bsn, 2hn, 2tpt, 3tbn, timp, str
Level of difficulty: D


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