Vaughn Williams - The Lark Ascending
The Lark Ascending was inspired by a poem of the same name written by George Meredith, which tells the tale of a skylark singing an impossibly beautiful, almost heavenly, song. Vaughan Williams was working on The Lark Ascending in 1914, just as World War I broke out. He was on holiday in Margate when a young boy spotted him making notes and thought he was writing a secret code, so he informed a police officer and the composer was temporarily arrested in case he was a German spy!
Although not necessarily directly influenced by the war, this piece became something of a symbol of the English spirit during a time when the country was struggling with its national identity. In 1920, Vaughan Williams revised the piece to the version we now know and it has gone on to become one of the country's favourite classical pieces.