Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst


The composers Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) and Gustav Holst (1874–1934) first met in 1895, and formed what would become a lifelong friendship.

The programme for the 1921 Three Choirs Festival, which was held in Hereford, featured the music of both composers.  Vaughan Williams conducted the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis for string orchestra, while Host conducted his The Hymn of Jesus for choir and orchestra, a work dedicated to Vaughan Williams.

After the festival they went on holiday together and undertook long walks in the Herefordshire countryside that would sometimes extend for more than ten miles. Holst himself was a passionate rambler throughout his life. These photos were taken during one such walk in the Malvern Hills by fellow composer W.G. Whittaker.

Full title:
Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst walking in the Malvern Hills
September 1921
William Gillies Whittaker (1876–1944)
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
MS Mus. 1714/10/6

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Folksong revival in the early 20th century

Article by:
Eric Saylor
Music and place, Music and words, Musical style

Eric Saylor surveys the social contexts and musical impact of the folksong revival in the early 20th century.