Ralph Vaughan Williams

Valiant for Truth, motet for chorus (with piano or organ ad lib)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This short motet came at a time when the composer was writing music inspired by the wartime atmosphere in besieged England. It was immediately preceded by Six Choral Songs -- To Be Sung In Time of War and followed by the score to the war film, The 49th Parallel. But there is little that is warlike about this work. Indeed, its scoring alone, for unaccompanied mixed chorus with optional piano or organ, would hardly suggest a martial nature to its music. Neither would its text, taken from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, though, as most know, that story has a good-versus-evil theme.

    In Valiant for Truth, Vaughan Williams fashioned a work whose ethereality and haunting character recall the mood of his 1922 motet, O Vos Omnes. The music has a lonely but soothing manner, the composer's skillful choral writing displaying a fine sense for atmosphere and color in its subdued washes of sound. Vaughan Williams turned more often to the motet in his later years, also producing The Souls of the Righteous (1947) and Prayer to the Father of Heaven (1948). Valiant for Truth, which lasts about five minutes in performance, must be ranked among his better efforts in the genre.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 557
    2017 Resonus Classics RES 10200
    2016 King's College Choir KGS 0015
    2015 Signum Classics SIGCD 410
    2013 Griffin / Griffin GRFCD 4080
    2013 Delphian DCD 34134
    2012 Naxos 8572760
    2011 Delphian DCD34019
    2010 Naxos 572465
    2005 Hyperion 67503
    2004 Chandos 24117
    2003 Guild 7265
    2003 Nimbus 5083
    2003 Chandos 5004
    2001 Nimbus 5691-5
    1999 Nimbus NI1754
    1999 Chandos 9666
    1998 Guild 7151
    1996 Chandos 9425
    1992 Chandos CHAN6550
    Largo 5130