Evening Masterwork: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5

Sunrise over Northeast London, England.

Symphony No. 5 in D by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Evening Masterwork for August 12, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

Between 1938 and 1943, Ralph Vaughan Williams was quite busy on a variety of musical projects, including his earliest film scores, an opera, and music for the war effort. He was also composing his Symphony No. 5 during this time, a work actually dedicated to Jean Sibelius and features a kind of radiance and lyricism that contrasts the earlier and more violent Fourth Symphony. The opening of this symphony by Vaughan Williams actually evokes the character of the beginning of Sibelius’s own Fifth Symphony.