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Ralph Vaughan Williams composed in a wide variety of genres, and film music became a significant part of his output in the latter decades of a long and distinguished career. He viewed film scores as more than just ephemera, seeking to "intensify" the spirit of the whole" in wartime productions such as the defiantly anti-Nazi 49th Parallel and Coastal Command, in which the graceful romance of sea-planes sends the spirits soaring. The haunting and evocative atmosphere of The Flemish Farm contrasts with Three Portraits that evoke the first Elizabethan age and announce the springtime of the second.

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