Vaughan Williams’ third symphony is not ‘pastoral’ in the same sense as Beethoven’s Sixth; it is instead an encapsulation of his experiences in the First World War, when he served in the ambulance unit.
However the work is not full of military marches and martial drums, but instead looks beyond the war to a more contemplative and transcendent kind of elegy.
The emotional core of the symphony is its third movement, the climax of which, according to Michael Kennedy, seems to represent the composer’s reaction to the loss of his friends before and during the war.
The last movement begins and ends with a wordless song by a solo soprano, leading the music up to an other-worldly plane.
Please Log in to leave a comment on this page.