Welcome to the Ether Game weekly podcast! We’ve been exploring different Musical Metropolises this month, and for week two, we'll travel up to the Piccadilly Circus and explore the city of London. Mind the gap, keep calm, and carry on, as we explore some of the finest music the city has to offer. Can you name this British tune? (The answer is below) Remember to keep your ears out for a portion of Tuesday night’s Teaser selection. And don’t forget to tune into the full show on Tuesday, May 8th at 8:00pm for a chance to win a prize!
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958): A London Symphony (Symphony No. 2): I. Lento: Allegro risoluto
London Symphony Orchestra; André Previn, conductor. Everybody's Vaughan Williams (Telarc)
As originally written in 1912, Vaughan Williams's second symphony was supposed to be an example of non-programmatic music. But Vaughan Williams couldn’t help but add a little character to it. While it doesn’t quite tell a story, the symphony does evoke various scenes from his hometown of London (hence the name “A London Symphony.”) Various movements represent sounds from Hampstead Heath, Bloomsbury Square, or from Big Ben (which is not the clock, but rather the bell inside of the clock tower in Westminster). In this movement, the harp quietly plays the Westminster chimes (otherwise known as “Westminster quarters” or the “Cambridge chimes”). These chimes were likely written by William Crotch, a student at Cambridge University in 1793, as part of a set of variations he wrote on the tune “I Know My Redeemer Lives.” Today, these chimes are rung by London’s Big Ben, and countless other clocks and door bells.