Ralph Vaughan Williams enjoyed a long career as a high-profile and successful composer. He first aroused public interest by writing popular songs for the Edwardian salon. “Linden Lea,” his first published composition, appeared inside The Vocalist in 1902. It becomes clear: attending choral society committee meetings, adjudicating musical competitions, teaching aspiring composers; all these tasks were not peripheral distractions to the composer's main job—they were integral to the role. It was a model Vaughan Williams endeavoured to follow: as music inspired his life, so he hoped life would inspire his music. In this context his writings become doubly valuable as a source of information. Given the interrelationship of life and music advocated in them, one can also read Vaughan Williams' own accounts of his social and cultural interactions, amateur music making, or folk-song collecting, for example, and consider how he expressed the life of the community in his music.
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