Vaughan Williams’ “A London Symphony”: Ode to an Ephemeral City

Ralph Vaughan Williams recalled that the impetus for A London Symphony came during a fleeting conversation with fellow English composer, George Butterworth: At the end of the evening, just as he was getting up to go, he said, in his characteristically abrupt way, ‘You know, you ought to write a symphony.’ From that moment the idea of a symphony – a thing which I had always declared I would never attempt – dominated my …

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