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Vaughan Williams' masterpiece for solo violin and orchestra constantly tops the charts and delights audiences. In the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall, we asked one of the world's finest violinists to explain why.
He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake
... so says George Meredith's poem that inspired Vaughan Williams' pastoral masterpiece.
The Lark Ascending has topped the Classic FM Hall of Fame nine times, claiming the top spot once again in 2019.
The composer termed the piece a "pastoral romance for orchestra". It is full of the folk melodies that the composer loved to collect, with those singing violin lines, mingling with the sounds of the earth before breaking free, rising to ever loftier heights. The mood is deeply nostalgic, and his writing evokes the glorious image of the rolling British countryside.
We caught up with Jennifer Pike at the Royal Albert Hall, moments before she took to the stage to perform it with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Classic FM Live 2019. She shared her deep love for the work and why she thinks it's beloved by so many.
And with that magic revealed, here's a transcendent moment of that solo violin line. You can also hear Jennifer's performance from the Royal Albert Hall in full on Classic FM's Full Works Concert at 8pm on Wednesday 24 April.