Richard King’s new book The Lark Ascending: Music of the British Landscape explores how Britain’s history and identity have been shaped by the relationship between music and nature. The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ pastoral romance for orchestra, was premièred in 1921 and has worked its way into the collective consciousness to define a mythical concept of the English countryside: babbling brooks and skylarks. But the birth and legacy of the composition are much more complex than this simplified pastoral vision suggests. The landscape we celebrate as unsullied and ripe with mystique is a living, working and occasionally rancorous environment that forged a nation’s musical personality and its dissenting traditions. The walk will include a discussion of our place in the landscape, both as individuals and as a society, the role of hedonism and celebration in our enjoyment of the countryside and will feature elements of both local and national rural history, breathtaking views, and pauses for rest and conversation.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 12.30pm.