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The Lark Ascending

(27 Posts)
TiggyW Sun 12-Jun-22 21:33:05

I’ve just watched the documentary presented by the late Diana Rigg (one of my heroines), discussing the popularity of ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams. It was voted no. 1 in a vote on Classic FM at Easter and has often been chosen on Desert Island Discs as a favourite piece of music.
I must be a philistine; I just don’t like it at all. I’d rather listen to a real skylark!
I can think of several pieces of music which, to me, are far superior:
Beethoven’s 6th
Fingal’s Cave
Beethoven’s 7th
The Blue Danube
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who can explain the popularity of ‘The Lark Ascending’.

Calendargirl Sun 12-Jun-22 21:56:58

Have seen this programme a couple of times.

I love the music, I can just imagine a lark soaring up in the sky.

Not surprised it’s such a favourite on Classic FM.

grumppa Sun 12-Jun-22 22:21:39

I have heard it referred to as The Larch Descending, which is an interesting take on it.

It' s never been on my list of eight favourites for Desert Island Discs, which I update roughly every decade.

Bellanonna Sun 12-Jun-22 22:28:09

I’ve never liked that piece, TiggyW, and completely agree I’d far rather hear a skylark singing its heart out way above me.
I really wonder why it reached No 1 on Classic FM.

BigBertha1 Sun 12-Jun-22 22:29:13

I love it and quite see why it wins year after year.

Deedaa Sun 12-Jun-22 22:32:35

I love The Lark Ascending, it makes me think of a summer day on the downs with the larks singing. But I wouldn't say it was my favourite piece. There are so many great pieces of music, how would you choose. Elgar's Cello Concerto, Beethoven's Ode To Joy, Mozart's Requiem and many more.

MiniMoon Mon 13-Jun-22 00:42:13

If I had to choose a favourite Vaughan Williams piece it wouldn't be The Lark Ascending. I prefer The Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus.
There is so much wonderful classical music. My favourites change almost daily.

Mamie Mon 13-Jun-22 05:08:15

My cousin, who is a professional violinist, played it at our request at my nephew's funeral. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.
I love Vaughan Williams, but if I had to chose one of his works it would be the London Symphony. For my desert island probably Brahms 4th.

Mamie Mon 13-Jun-22 05:29:39

As to why The Lark Ascending is popular TiggyW; it is beautiful, poignant and filled with the pain and loss of the First World War.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 13-Jun-22 07:16:30

I live on the South Downs and am often accompanied on my ramblings by a skylark singing it’s heart out as it ascends higher and higher into the sky. There is nothing so glorious as, like this morning at 5.30 when I and the dog have the world to ourselves, the sun is up, the sky is that pellucid blue you get in early morning and the skylark is awake.

That music is so evocative of those mornings and the world at its peaceful best.

grandMattie Mon 13-Jun-22 07:22:15

I quite like it but I prefer Baroque music. My favourites include Tallis’ Spem in Alium, Purcell’s Dido’s Lament, and all of JS Bach.
I also enjoy the Romantics especially Rachmaninov - his “All Night Vigil” is glorious. We had it at our son’s funeral last year.

Greyduster Mon 13-Jun-22 07:24:59

It is a lovely piece but it suffers, with the English Folk Song Suite, from being one of the only pieces of VW you hear on Classic FM and like a lot of stuff on Classic FM it is over exposed. His Norfolk Rhapsodies, “In the fen country” and the Sea Symphony are wonderful but seldom heard.

Chocolatelovinggran Mon 13-Jun-22 07:56:35

Oh, I love it. I agree that there is an element of loss to it, but that's part of it's pull.

Mamie Mon 13-Jun-22 09:42:13

I can understand that being a problem Greyduster. I am a Radio 3 person myself (though the washing machine stuff on Sunday mornings annoys me. ?).

M0nica Mon 13-Jun-22 13:02:26

I think it is a beautiful piece of music, but not in my top 10., nor my Desert Island 8. My top 10 are dominated by Beethoven and my Desert Island 8 are all ones that bring back family memories

Greyduster Mon 13-Jun-22 18:27:52

Has anyone heard Max Richter’s reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons? I can see why it divides opinion, but as I don’t care for the original anyway, I quite like this one.

Musicgirl Mon 13-Jun-22 18:41:54

I am a professional musician but I don’t like The Lark Ascending either. I find it very overrated. In general, I prefer Elgar’s music to Vaughan Williams anyway. Chanson de Matin is one of my favourite pieces of all time and I love playing it. If I specialise in any one musical era, it would be the Classical Period, especially Mozart and Schubert. However, then there is Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, Grieg, Debussy, Ravel, Handel, Vivaldi…. The list goes on and there are so many beautiful pieces and composers it is impossible to choose one over another and nor should we.

Smileless2012 Tue 21-Jun-22 09:57:49

Oh I love it. One of favourite pieces of classical music.

hallgreenmiss Wed 18-Jan-23 22:05:28

Please please please vote this year to keep bloody Lark Ascending off the top spot

MaizieD Wed 18-Jan-23 22:11:19


Please please please vote this year to keep bloody Lark Ascending off the top spot


It's boring and highly over rated...

(I love real skylarks, though)

Fleurpepper Wed 18-Jan-23 22:43:04


As to why The Lark Ascending is popular TiggyW; it is beautiful, poignant and filled with the pain and loss of the First World War.

When walking and hearing larks, so far up you can't see them but you can hear them so clear- I always think about this piece of music, and its meaning.

lixy Thu 19-Jan-23 07:43:21

It was the Vicar's choice at both my MiL and my Bil's funerals - very calming at emotional times.
We planted a rose of the same name in their memory.

But I do agree that a real lark is hard to beat.

eazybee Thu 19-Jan-23 07:45:46

I heard it for the first time at an outdoor 'Proms in the Park 'concert on a perfect summer evening with the violin played by the charismatic conductor so it was magical. Listening to it on the radio does not have the same impact.

Juliet27 Thu 19-Jan-23 07:55:47

Wonderful wording WWM

nanna8 Thu 19-Jan-23 08:44:25

They played it at a funeral of a work colleague because he used to like it. I thought it was quite appropriate.