Lark Ascending: The Music of the British Landscape

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'The Lark Ascending', Ralph Vaughan Williams' 'pastoral romance for orchestra' was premiered on 14th June, 1921. Over the course of the 20th century this piece of music, perhaps more than any other, worked its way into the collective consciousness to seemingly define a mythical concept of the English countryside: babbling brooks, skylarks, hayricks. But the birth and legacy of the composition are much more complex than this simplified pastoral vision suggests. On a chronological journey that takes him from postwar poets and artists to the late 20th century and the free party scene which emerged from acid house and travelling communities, Richard King explores how Britain's history and identity has been shaped by the mysterious relationship between music and nature.