The human voice the song proceeds cannot express so sweetly what is inmost.
Yet there are those revered human lives, made substantial by trials and in loving the earth, which though themselves unsinging yet come forth as a song worthy to greet heaven. It rises in that pure song into the highest heavens and is maintained there, so that our soul rises with theirs "through self-forgetfulness divine", filling the skies, showering the world "from human stores", soaring nearer towards silence.
Meredith's poem inspired the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams to write a musical work of the same name, which is now more widely known than the poem.
The Lark Ascending, romance for violin & orchestra
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The Lark Ascending
The composer began working on the piece in , just before the outbreak of the First World War. In its original form the work was scored for violin and piano but in Vaughan Williams arranged it for violin and orchestra, which is the version most often performed today. The work was dedicated to the violinist Marie Hall — , who premiered both versions. The first version for violin and piano was premiered on 15 December at a concert of the Avonmouth and Shirehampton Choral Society in Shirehampton, Gloucestershire.
Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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Except as otherwise permitted under your national copyright law this material may not be copied or distributed further. Jeremy Dibble gives an overview of British composers in the early 20th century and their context. Kate Kennedy examines the impact of the First World War on British composers and the music composed both during the war and in its aftermath.