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An icon of British national identity and one of the most widely performed twentieth-century composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams has been as much misunderstood as revered; his international impact and enduring influence on areas as diverse as church music, film scores and popular music has been insufficiently appreciated. This volume brings together a team of leading scholars, examining all areas of the composer's output from new perspectives, and re-evaluating the cultural politics of his lifelong advocacy for the music-making of ordinary people. Surveys of major genres are complemented by chapters exploring such topics as the composer's relationship with the BBC and his studies with Ravel; uniquely, the book also includes specially commissioned interviews with major living composers Peter Maxwell Davies, Piers Hellawell, Nicola Lefanu and Anthony Payne. The Companion is a vital resource for all those interested in this pivotal figure of modern music.