The Lark Ascending – 13 June 2021 – 13/6/2021 – Sunday – BBC Four
Dame Diana Rigg explores the enduring popularity of The Lark Ascending by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, which was recently voted Britain’s favourite piece of classical music by listeners to Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4.
Composed at a key turning point in world history, The Lark Ascending represents music for all occasions. It is used in rites of passage such as births, deaths and marriages, and is a favourite for film-makers looking to create that quintessential English pastoral feel. Fans of the work include actor Peter Sallis, who wants a copy of The Lark Ascending to be buried with him, top violinist Tasmin Little, who has played the piece as part of the BBC Proms, and music critic Michael Kennedy, who was a personal friend of Vaughan Williams.
The programme includes a beautiful new performance of the work in the same village hall where it was heard for the first time in December 1920. The Lark Ascending is performed by 15-year-old violin prodigy Julia Hwang and pianist Charles Matthews, using the original arrangement for violin and piano.
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