Five Variants of "Dives and Lazarus"

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Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (arr. Stephen Gregson)

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General Info

Year: 1939 / 2004
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Harp and orchestra
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $59.95   |   Score Only (print) - $39.75


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I
Oboe II/English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus is a concert band arrangement from the original work for string orchestra and harp by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The composition is based on the folk tune Dives and Lazarus, one of the folk songs quoted in Vaughan Williams's English Folk Song Suite. The ancient theme on which these variations are based goes back to the sixteenth century, and is known by various titles. It was usually sung as the carol Come All Ye Faithful Christians, and was known in Ireland as The Star of County Down and in Scotland as Gilderay.

Dives and Lazarus is a story told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. It tells of an unnamed rich man and a poor beggar named Lazarus. In the Latin Bible, the unnamed rich man is referred to as Dives from "dives," the Latin word for rich. There are several discussions of the correct Latin pronunciation of 'Dives', which vary from 'dye-vees' to 'dee-vays'. This work, based on the tune that Vaughan Williams had loved all his life, which came from the very soil of England, ageless and anonymous, was played at the composer's funeral service in Westminster Abbey on 19th September 1958.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

Of this work Vaughan Williams writes, “These variants are not exact replicas of traditional tunes, but rather reminiscences of various versions in my own collection and those of others.”

- Program Note from GIA Publications, Inc.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Gary A. Speck, conductor) - 12 October 2022
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 19 November 2021
  • Southern Utah University (Cedar City) Wind Symphony (Adam Lambert, conductor) - 6 April 2021
  • Grand Street (New York) Community Band (Brian Worsdale, conductor) – 3 June 2018
  • All-South Jersey Wind Ensemble (Jack Stamp, conductor) – 15 January 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Harris, Edward C. "Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 486-490. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.
  • Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Ralph Vaughan Williams." Accessed 22 March 2017
  • Vaughan Williams, R.; Gregson, S. (2004). Five variants of "Dives and Lazarus" [score]. Oxford University Press: Oxford, Eng.