This magnificent setting of Walt Whitman’s poem established Vaughan Williams’s reputation as one of the leading composers of the twentieth century. The idea of a spiritual journey – the passage of the soul from darkness to light, Toward the Unknown Region – is central to the text and fully reflected in the music. Beginning softly and simply, the music follows the text of the poem, building through a Wagnerian chromaticism toward a bold and dramatic climax. This was Vaughan Williams’s first major choral piece, and its obvious inspirational qualities made it a success from the first.
This arrangement for Concert Band and Chorus adheres to the original orchestration. The choral parts are included in the conductor’s score as a reference, but are not part of the download or printed version. The choral parts are available for purchase from Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England (www.stainer.co.uk).