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Boult conducts Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (13 Nov 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dutton Laboratories
  • ASIN: B00004YU92
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,639 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sym No.6 in e: I. Allegro
2. Sym No.6 in e: II. Moderato
3. Sym No.6 in e: III. Scherzo: Allegro Vivace (Revised Version)
4. Sym No.6 in e: IV. Epilogue: Moderato
5. Sym No.6 in e: III. Scherzo: Allegro Vivace (Original Version)
6. A Song Of Thanksgiving - Betty Dolemore/Robert Speaight/Harry Gabb/Luton Chor Society/Luton Girls' Chor/Arthur E Davies
7. The Lark Ascending - Jean Pougnet

Product Description

Product Description

The Vaughan Williams works appearing on this disc come from a time of cataclysmic world events. From the rise of the European dictators in the thirties to WW2, many critics have noted these themes to be his influence. Symphony No.6 was begun in the final days of WW2 and finished in 1947, dubbed as "VW's War Symphony" a phrase rebuked by VW, stating that it was " … just a piece of music". This "piece of music" was recorded by HMV in 1949, VW unhappy with the scherzo re-wrote it and it was re-recorded a year later (both versions appear on this disc). In 1943 the BBC approached VW to write a piece to be performed on the defeat of Hitler's Germany. VW compiled his own libretto from the Bible, Shakespeare and Kipling. A Song of Thanksgiving was first performed on May 13, 1945 - five days after VE Day. There is no chauvinistic gloating in the music, merely a thankfulness and a determination to build a better future. The final work on this disc is from the pre-1914 idyll folk-song in which George Meredith's poem inspired VW's most original and ultimately flawless works, a violin romance like no other before or since. All the tracks on this disc are licenced to Dutton by EMI and were recorded in 1949-52.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than good 1 Jan 2007
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
This wonderful Dutton transfer gives us a chance to hear again the first English recording of Vaughan Williams' marvellous, troubling Sixth Symphony, performed by the conductor who premiered it, Sir Adrian Boult (Stokowski recorded it in the States a day or two before this version - an indication, perhaps, of the Symphony's popularity at the time - it received over 100 performances in its first year). It's a white-hot, committed interpretation, well played and very well recorded for its time. As a bonus, the alternative version of the Scherzo is included, and you can programme that in if you choose. The 'Song of Thanksgiving' is quite a nice piece but not great VW, but the 'Lark Ascending' is as marvellous as the Symphony, a completely rapt but fluent, forward-moving performance by Jean Pougnet. The disc is well worth its modest price for that alone ; with the wonderful Symphony, it's an absolute must for anyone who likes this repertoire.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars historic and contemporary - simply the best 9 Jan 2001
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane - Published on
They don't come better than this. This version of the VW 6th., conceived when the music was still almost white-hot (the symphony received over 100 perormance in its first two years) beats all rivals on interpretation and is remarkably good sonically too. VW paid particular tribute to Boult's skill in moulding the desolate (and difficult) final movement, but every moment of this performance breathes commitment. 'The Lark Ascending' is as fine here as on any other CD (Jean Pougnet is the soloist) and again the sound is very faithful and beautiful. Having the revised version of the symphony's scherzo is indeed a bonus, and a very interesting one, and of course you can programme the CD to play either in the contxt of the symphony as a whole. In addition to all of that the disc is absurdly cheap. You really can't go wrong with this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome recording of William 31 Dec 2013
By David E. Lence - Published on
Verified Purchase
I shall leave it to far more knowledgeable reviewers to share their perceptions of Williams. For me this is a collection of my own personal favorites. Such joy this provides.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spirited Performance 28 Aug 2006
By David A. Wend - Published on
This is a white-hot reading of Ralph Vaughn Williams Sixth Symphony. Written during 1944 through 1947, and was first performed in 1948 with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The symphony was recorded in February 1949 with Sir Adrian conducting the London Philharmonic which is presented on this CD. However, in early 1950 Vaughan Williams altered the Scherzo inserting a new theme for the brass, so the same forces returned to the Abbey Road studios to record the new Scherzo. The CD gives both the original and revised movement.

The Sixth Symphony has provoked a lot of discussion as to its meaning, particularly since Vaughn Williams had been written off as a composer of pastoral music like the Fifth Symphony; here was something with a lot of fire and energy that caught people by surprise. Many, including Sir Malcolm Sargant, believed that the symphony was about the Second World War with the final Epilogue movement as a vision of the world following a nuclear war. The composer denied all of this and referred to the last movement as "an agnostic's Paradiso." The symphony is noteworthy in that it uses a saxophone to impart a jazz flavor to sections of the music.

The CD also includes "A Song of Thanksgiving" originally titled "Thanksgiving for Victory" that was written for the defeat of Nazi Germany and was broadcast on the morning of May 13, 1945. The recording on this disc dates from 1951 and is scored for orchestra, chorus, soprano soloist and speaker. The recording of A Lark Ascending is from 1952 with Jean Pougnet as soloist. This is a beautiful recording of this important work, based on a poem of the same name by George Meredith. The re-mastering of the music is excellent although not up to digital standards, but this is a recording of the Sixth that one should not be without and is a real bargain.
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