Here's a fascinating write-up on the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Ralph Vaughn Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. It's by Rob Young, who wrote the essential study Electric Eden, about the imaginative, symbolic, and literal roles of the folk tradition and the countryside in British pop music, including a shout out to Coil, about whom I'm writing these days.
Man, can this guy write about music. I envy his observational skills and his facility. Too bad I never learned to read music and so my comments on here and about Coil are limited to "it's really organic and dark and wet-sounding, like a Weimar cabaret starring Nick Cave and held in the Vienna sewers."
If you haven't heard the Vaughn Williams piece, this CD is what you want. It's got some of the iconic compositions by him, and is beautifully recorded. If you can't wait that long, here's a very nice performance of the Tallis Fantasia from the Proms earlier this year.