This is a cold Winter night where I am and this music--warm and serene--I hope will ease any heavy hearts.
One of the most beautiful shorter symphonic I've had the pleasure of hearing: composed in 1938 and performed for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall. it was composed by Williams as part of a jubilee concert for a friend, Sir Henry J Wood.
The words in the chorus come from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", specifically ACT V, Scene One where--after the drama of the trial featuring Shylock and Lorenzo's friend Antonio has concluded successfully (at least to the characters here) ---the lovers Lorenzo and Jessica are united and listening to beautiful music on a romantic evening in a country home called Belmont.
The lines from the singers here are taken from Lorenzo's lines in that act.
The first performance of "Serenade to Music" brought tears to the eyes of many in the Albert Hall, including one of Vaughan Williams and Sir John Wood's friends, the great Sergi Rachmaninov, who was present at the concert hall that evening after performing his Second Concerto in the first half of the program.
The Russian composer later wrote that he had never been so moved by music. The second half is also on You Tube.