Four of the best recordings of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending
Vaughan William's The Lark Ascending is one of the most popular and enduring works in the classical repertoire, with many recordings to its name. We pick out some of the greatest recordings of this piece on CD and available to stream
BBC Philharmonic/Andrew Davis
Chandos CHAN10796 (2013)
The second of Little’s recordings of Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending captures the wistfully melancholic dimensions to the English composer's score in the most natural, unsentimental way.
Philharmonia Orchestra/Adrian Boult
Warner Classics 680 5262 (1967)
This classic performance of Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending remains a perennial favourite. Famously learned by Hugh Bean in a matter of hours to fill spare studio time. Immaculately shaped, this is an unforced yet radiant recording of Vaughan Williams's great work for violin and orchestra.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner
Decca 478 5692 (1971)
The Lark Ascending was a work Iona Brown adored and spoke about with passion and eloquence. Her performance here fully reflects that affection without ever being over-indulgent.
Martin Roscoe (piano)
Chandos CHAN20156 (2020)
In The Lark Ascending’s early days, it was regularly heard in Vaughan Williams's violin-and-piano arrangement, yet this is barely available in recordings. Jennifer Pike’s performance is bewitchingly immaculate.
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Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.