Those wanting to know what Vaughan Williams "is like" in some kind of context (without of course listening to the works straight away themselves) could never do better than to consult the chapter "English Music" in the book "Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination" by Peter Ackroyd. In essence, however, this is characteristically English (and British) music forming part of a certain genre alongside works by the likes of Gustav Holst, Frederick Delius, George Butterworth, William Walton and others.
Vaughan Williams's music expresses a deep regard for and fascination with folk tunes, the variations upon which can convey the listener from the down-to-earth (which VW always tried to remain in his daily life) to that which is ethereal. Simultaneously the music is patriotic of the British Isles in the subtlest form engendered by a feeling for ancient landscapes and a person's small yet not entirely insignificant place within them.
1 Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1
2 In the Fen Country (Symphonic Impression)
3 Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
4 Five Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus' (with Skaila Kanga harp)
5 Fantasia on 'Greensleeves' (arr. Ralph Greaves)
6 The Lark Ascending
Michael Davis: violin
London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra
Bryden Thomson: conductor