Twitterstorm delong: November 23, 2011
Quote of the Day: November 24, 2011

Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus"


Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus: "Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus" is a work for harp and string orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The composition is based on the folk tune "Dives and Lazarus", which is known by different titles according to region:

  • "The Star of the County Down" (Ireland)
  • "Gilderoy" (Scotland)
  • "The Thresher"
  • "Cold blows the wind"
  • "The Murder of Maria Marten" (Norfolk)

Vaughan Williams composed the work on commission from the 1939 World's Fair in New York City. The first performance was at Carnegie Hall in June 1939, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Boult also directed the first UK performance in November 1939 in Bristol.

The folk tune was also arranged by Vaughan Williams as a hymn tune "Kingsfold," appearing as "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem," in The English Hymnal as "I Heard the Voice of Jesus say," (no. 574 in the original 1906 edition), and as "If You Could Hie to Kolob" (no. 284) in the 1985 Latter-day Saint Hymnal.