Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Job: A masque for dancing is based on William Blake’s cycle of illustrations of the biblical tale; but a study of the scenario and of preserved correspondence indicates disparate theological and philosophical arguments and conflicts.
The composer put his own stamp on the story, while accepting the symbolism of Blake’s drawings, and effectively deconstructed the illustrations in favor of his own intentions. Job: A masque for dancing is no ordinary theater piece—it reveals a personal view as individual as that present in Blake’s original illustrations.
This according to “A deconstruction of William Blake’s vision: Vaughan Williams and Job” by Alison Sanders McFarland (International journal of musicology III , 339–371; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 1995-4362).
Today is Vaughan Williams’s 150th birthday!
Above, Blake’s depiction of Job and his family restored to prosperity; below, a complete recording of Vaughan Williams’s ballet.
Related article: Blake and Jerusalem