Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Ralph Vaughan Williams


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Vaughan Williams has 8 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame — the same amount as Brahms — and this is his second highest. It was at its lowest in 1997, at number 53, but has made it up to number 3 on 7 occasions, including the most recent countdown.

In 1908, Vaughan Williams travelled to Paris to study orchestration with Maurice Ravel. It proved to be an inspiring experience. When he returned home, he undertook one of his most fruitful periods of composition. The year 1910 saw the premiere of not just his mighty first symphony, A Sea Symphony, but of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, too at the Gloucester Three choirs Festival.

Battle in the Heavens by Nicholas Roerich (1912).