The Extravagant Waltz Johann Strauss (II)
12 October 2012, 11:40
The beautiful skylark, inspiration for Vaughan Williams' violin piece, is continually threatened by new farming methods.
Today marks 140 years since composer of 'The Lark Ascending', Ralph Vaughan Williams, was born. While fans of his music celebrate his genius, UK agriculture is threatening the muse for this much-loved piece of music, as skylark numbers are falling across the country.
Vaughan Williams composed the piece after being inspired by a poem by George Meredith, capturing the sweet song of the skylark in verse. As changes in agriculture continue to affect the population of birds, Stuart Benn, Conservation Manager at the RSPB shared his love of the music and his concern for the lark population.
He said: "The skylark used to be one of the most common birds in England, but numbers have declined massively because agriculture has changed so much."
Even as the weather gets colder and summer songbirds grow scarce, Mr Benn is one of many music lovers who enjoys the sounds of nature through listening to Vaughan Williams.
"It does evoke that natural image of a skylark," he said. "Especially at the moment, when it's autumnal and cold, the image of the skylark transports you back to spring or summer. I think it's incredibly evocative."