The Lark Ascending

Richard King

A radical new history of Britain’s natural landscapes and the musical movements they have inspired.

3 in stock

£14.99
Format
Hardback
ISBN
9780571338795
Date Published
06.06.2019
Delivery
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.
Summary

A Book of the Year, ROUGH TRADE
A Book of the Year, MOJO

‘A valuably original book.’ Observer

‘This is a book to set you thinking and maybe don the headphones and the Gore-Tex, and stride out, modish and unashamed.’ Stuart Maconie, Mail on Sunday

‘Exceptional.’ Irish Times

‘A peerless cultural history’ – Ian Thomson, Evening Standard

The Lark Ascending is a lyrical exploration of how Britain’s history and identity has been shaped by the mysterious relationship between its people, its music and the landscape. Taking Ralph Vaughan Williams’s most celebrated and popular composition as a starting point, The Lark Ascending examines attempts made throughout the twentieth
century to redefine and reimagine our natural world in the hope of realising the sense of freedom symbolised by a lark in flight.

King’s pilgrimage into rural Britain takes him from the west coast of Wales to the Lothian Hills, from the Thames Estuary to the Suffolk shoreline – and from Vaughan Williams to the more radical folk revivalists of the 1930s; from Under Milk Wood to Kes; from the Back to the Land movement of the 1970s to songs sung around the fires that provided warmth to the Greenham Common women’s peace camp; from the Kinder Scout mass trespass to the Castlemorton free festival.

It is a journey that questions the bucolic fantasy of a ‘Green and Pleasant Land’ and celebrates instead the communal experience of gathering together under open skies to the accompaniment of music, the art form that Vaughan Williams insisted was the ‘soul of a nation’.

The Lark Ascending is a national story that hasn’t previously been told; a celebration of the changing nature of the British countryside.

Critic Reviews

Illuminating, idiosyncratic and never less than fascinating.

Melissa Harrison
Critic Reviews

Deftly woven artistic and political ley lines mapping and connecting the figurative landscape of the psyche and the literal landscape of the British countryside.

Andrew Weatherall
Critic Reviews

Less a book and more a poetic time-travelling device.

Jeremy Deller
Critic Reviews

The Lark Ascending is something more rugged, lyrical and strange than a conventional history. Like the bird of Vaughan Williams’s piece (itself inspired by the 1881 George Meredith poem), it swoops and dives through the century that followed its first performance.

New Statesman
Critic Reviews

The nation’s favourite piece of music is established as the presiding spirit of an idiosyncratic pilgrimage through 20th-century experiments in life and sound ... Wanders between cathedral stalls and festival fields, magnetically drawn to overlaps of avant-gardism and popular song, radicalism and tradition ... An appealing breadth of sympathy ... Revealing and timely ... A valuably original book. I liked the bursts of vivid passion, the cameo sketches of “post-psychedelic crofters”, the heartfelt account of travellers ...

Alexandra Harris, Observer
Critic Reviews

The Lark Ascending is something more rugged, lyrical and strange than a conventional history. Like the bird of Vaughan Williams’s piece (itself inspired by the 1881 George Meredith poem), it swoops and dives through the century that followed its first performance.

New Statesman
RichardKing

RICHARD KING is the author of Original Rockers (shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and a Rough Trade, The Times and Uncut Book of the Year), How Soon Is Now? (the Sunday Times Music Book of the Year), The Lark Ascending (a Rough Trade, Mojo and Evening Standard Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Penderyn Prize) and the forthcoming…

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