The Lark Ascending
This idyllic romance for violin and orchestra was composed in 1914, and then revised (or completed, depending on whom you read) in 1920. Violinist Marie Hall, who had studied with Elgar, gave the premiere with piano accompaniment that year, as well as the premiere with orchestra in 1921.
Vaughan Williams took the title from a poem by George Meredith, and prefaced the score with lines from the poem. Representing the lark, the solo violin “rises and begins to round” in soaring arabesques. A hazy harmonic wash in the orchestra and prominent woodwind solos reinforce the bucolic imagery. In the middle there is a more earthy, folklike section, and then the original music returns, closing with the violin circling ecstatically ever higher and alone, “Till lost on his aerial rings/In light, and then the fancy sings.”
— John Henken