Vaughan Williams and contemporary music: composers' forum

Aidan J. Thomson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Like many long-lived composers, Vaughan Williams suffered a decline in his reputation immediately following his death, as the emergence in the 1960s of a younger generation of composers rendered much of his work outmoded in the eyes of many critics. In recent years, however, the reception of Vaughan Williams's music among composers has improved markedly, a combination of the ebbing of the tide of high modernism and greater pluralism in contemporary music, and a growing awareness that Vaughan Williams was perhaps more modernist (or at least progressive) than had previously been thought. In interviews with four leading British composers (two of whom were part of the 1960s generation mentioned above), I investigate the nature and extent of Vaughan Williams's legacy to his successors, both musical and social. What emerges is a near consensus on Vaughan Williams's greatest works, but a diversity of views on his compositional techniques and on his place among his European contemporaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams
EditorsAlain Frogley, Aidan J. Thomson
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions to Music
PublisherCambridge University Press

Bibliographical note

Chapter Number: 14


  • Vaughan Williams, Peter Maxwell Davies, reception, modernism


Dive into the research topics of 'Vaughan Williams and contemporary music: composers' forum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this