The Best Classical Music For Fall Time – Part Two

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Autumn section of Folk Songs of the Four Seasons
First performed in 1950 but not recorded until 2009, Vaughan Williams’s “folk song cantata” was composed for a women’s choral festival; the composer was pleased to have the opportunity to write a piece specifically designed for amateur singers. The Autumn section of the cantata features the elegiac “Unquiet Grave” (in which, as the composer put it, “the young maiden meets her dead lover among the storms and cold winds of autumn”) bookended by two harvest songs.
Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question
I was telling American Public Media’s Steve Staruch that I like to listen to Ives in the fall, in part because autumn reminds me of New England and Ives was such a quintessential New England composer. “The Unanswered Question,” agreed Steve, “goes well in the fall.”
John Adams, Shaker Loops
John Adams is another famous New England composer, raised in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The humming strings in this early masterpiece are meant to represent the Shakers’ practice of vibrating violently during religious worship, but the sound also evokes leaves rustling in the autumn wind.

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