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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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A Sea Symphony

A Sea Symphony

(p.334) (p.335) Chapter 78 A Sea Symphony
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

The first sketches for A Sea Symphony were made in 1903, and it was gradually worked out during the next seven years. It was first produced at the Leeds Festival in 1910, and has since been performed at Oxford, Cambridge, and Bristol. The plan of the work is symphonic rather than narrative or dramatic, and this may be held to justify the frequent repetition of important words and phrases that occur in the poem. The words as well as the music are thus treated symphonically. The Symphony is written for soprano and baritone soli, chorus, and orchestra. The words are selected from various poems of Walt Whitman to be found in Leaves of Grass: “Sea Drift,” “Song of the Exposition,” and “Passage to India.”

Keywords:   Sea Symphony, Leeds Festival, soprano, baritone soli, chorus, orchestra, poem, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Sea Drift

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