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1. Vaughan Williams served as a wagon orderly in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, driving ambulances in France and, later, Greece.
2. The hymn tune ‘Down Ampney’ is named after the village in which he was born.
3. The English folk song tradition was brought back from the brink, largely thanks to his efforts in travelling throughout the countryside, transcribing songs from locals.
4. For three months in 1908, Vaughan Williams went to Paris to study orchestration with Maurice Ravel. They became close friends.
5. Vaughan Williams is the editor of the 1906 edition of the English Hymnal and was inspired to write the Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis on discovering his Third Mode Melody hymn tune.
6. Composers Ivor Gurney and Herbert Howells were at the premiere of the Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis at Gloucester Cathedral. They were so enthralled, they spent the rest of the evening pacing the streets of Gloucester, deep in excited conversation.
7. Fellow composer Peter Warlock commented that the Symphony No. 3 (the ‘Pastoral’) sounded like a ‘cow looking over a gate’, although the work is linked to Vaughan Williams’s memories of serving in the First World War.
8. Another of Vaughan Williams’s famous works, his Fantasia on Greensleeves, was originally written as part of his 1928 opera, Sir John in Love.
9. Vaughan Williams died in August 1958, days before a recording of his Symphony No. 9. The recording, conducted by Adrian Boult, went ahead as a memorial to the composer.
10. Vaughan Williams second wife, Ursula, died only in 2007. She was a noted poet and a biographer of the composer.