Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 1-9
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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphonies 1-9

15 July 2008

£4.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Song Title
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 1A. A Song For All Seas, All Ships
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 1B. Flaunt Out, O Sea Your Separate Flags
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 2. On The Beach At Night Alone
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 3. Scherzo - The Waves - 4. The Explorers
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 4. The Explorers - O Vast Rondure, Swimming In Space
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 4. The Explorers - O We Can Wait No Longer
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 4. The Explorers - O Thou Transcendent
Symphony #1, "A Sea Symphony" - 4. The Explorers - Away O Soul!
A London Symphony - I. Lento - Allegro risoluto
A London Symphony - II. Lento
A London Symphony - III. Scherzo. Nocturne, Allegro vivace
A London Symphony - IV. Andante con moto - Maestoso alla marcia (Quasi lento) - Allegro - Lento - Epilogue: Andante sostenuto
Symphony No.9 in E minor: Speech by Adrian Boult
Symphony No.9 in E minor - I. Moderato maestoso
Symphony No.9 in E minor - II. Andante sostenuto
Symphony No.9 in E minor - III. Scherzo: Allegro pesante
Symphony No.9 in E minor - IV. Andante tranquillo
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony" - 1. Molto Moderato
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony" - 2. Lento Moderato
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony" - 3. Moderato Pesante
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony" - 4. Lento
Symphony #5 In D - 1. Preludio
Symphony #5 In D - 2. Scherzo
Symphony #5 In D - 3. Romanza
Symphony #5 In D - 4. Passacaglia
Symphony No.4 in F minor - I. Allegro
Symphony No.4 in F minor - II. Andante moderato
Symphony No.4 in F minor - III. Scherzo: Allegro molto
Symphony No.4 in F minor - IV. Finale con epilogo fugato. Allegro molto
Symphony No.6 in E minor - I. Allegro
Symphony No.6 in E minor - II. Moderato
Symphony No.6 in E minor - III. Scherzo
Symphony No.6 in E minor - IV. Epilogue
Symphony No.6 in E minor - Speech by Vaughan Williams
Sinfonia Antartica - I. Prelude: Andante Maestoso
Sinfonia Antartica - II. Scherzo: Moderato
Sinfonia Antartica - III. Landscape: Lento
Sinfonia Antartica - IV. Intermezzo: Andante Sostenuto
Sinfonia Antartica - V. Epilogue: Alla Marcia, Moderato Ma Non Troppo
Symphony No.8 In D Minor - I. Fantasia: Variazioni Senza Tema
Symphony No.8 In D Minor - II. Scherzo Alla Marcia (Per Stromenti A Fiato)
Symphony No.8 In D Minor - III. Cavatina (Per Stromenti Ad Arco)
Symphony No.8 In D Minor - IV. Toccata

Product details

  • Original Release Date: 15 July 2008
  • Label: Big Eye
  • Copyright: (c) 2008 Big Eye Records
  • Total Length: 6:07:32
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001HXS6CS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,071 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
First the bad news. Despite having a sticky label emblazoned with"Digitally Remastered at 96kHz" on the box cover the recorded sound appears (to my middle-aged ears) identical to that on the old Belart re-issues of the mid-1990s. This means that upper frequencies are often thin with an unpleasant ting or ziz to the sound. To make matters worse, on occasion, one has the aural equivalence of listening to the performance while looking down the wrong end of a telescope, with a constricted dynamic range to the sound stage and general lack of body to the sound. While FFRR (full frequency range recording) technique used by Decca in the early 1950s was lauded in its day as peak of realism, these recordings could benefit from some serious intervention of the kind given by Pristine Audio and Dutton Laboratories and that does not appear to have occurred here.

Despite this grouch the vast majority of buyers will be drawn to the `classic' status of these performances. Those who know Boult from his later EMI recordings (of these works and others) might be in for a bit of shock. The Adrian Boult of the late 1940s and early 1950s was not yet a `grand old man' but a highly experienced conductor capable of generating enormous thrust and dynamism from his orchestra, yet this is allied to a peerless grasp of symphonic structure. Listen (for example) to the opening of `A Sea symphony' to get some idea of this. From the opening B flat minor brass fanfare, followed by the choir singing Behold, the sea... Boult achieves a tremendous sense of onward momentum yet he never loses sight of the movement's proportions so that when this phase returns in the major its impact is quite overwhelming.

While Boult brings these qualities to the whole cycle some performances inevitably stand out.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets. 18 Aug 2010
Format:Audio CD
Since the 1970's the symphonies of RVW began to be performed more frequently and distinguished conductors undertook their own personal journeys to record complete cycles of them. Previn added an international view to set alongside a parallel collection from Boult on EMI. Then Handley, Thomson, and Hickox, through the 1980's and 1990's, re-examined these mighty works from a more modern British standpoint. And alongside the above, a fascinating cycle from Haitink gave us a refreshing and thought-provoking take on the beloved symphonies we thought we had grown to know so well.
My own personal journey had ended, so I thought, with the the Dutchman. Yet something in the back of my mind kept returning me to thoughts of a couple of old Decca 'Eclipse' LPs I'd bought, 30 odd years ago, of the 1st and 6th symphonies, conducted by Boult. I remembered more visceral performances of these pieces, good though Haitink et al had been. I took the plunge and ordered the cd's. I was right! Digitally remastered, the sound has an immediacy which hit me just as dramatically as the old vinyl did when I heard these works for the first time, over 30 years ago. But the new sound has an added clarity which reveals the huge range of orchestral nuances in these superb works.
The recordings date from the early to mid 1950's. Boult and the LPO play as if the scores are hot off the press. His soloists are on top form too. And RVW is in the studio! Just try the plagent tenderness of the 'pastoral' or the chilling intensity of the 'antartica'. No. 4 has never sounded so brutal, nor No. 5 as 'English'.
I think Boult guides us on the most rewarding journey through these greatest of twentieth century symphonies.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incomparable performances from Adrian Boult 7 May 2006
By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Like reviewer Patrick Miller listening to this set was a revelation, I also found Boult's later EMI set somewhat tame.

Possibly it was the composer's presence (except for Symphony 9 due to his death seven hours before the session) that inspired Boult and the London Philharmonic to play the music as if had only just been written, the freshness of the long established works is wonderful.

The "Gramophone Magazine" reviewed most of these recording in April and May 1954 with glowing enthusiasm.

However this recording of the Symphony 6 does not eclipse the recording Boult made following the first performance in 1947 where the players are challenged by a slightly faster speed and the difficulty and excitement of playing a major new work. I recommend having both.

Theses fine performances are captured by Decca's finest mono sound engineering in the incomparable acoustics of the Kingsway Hall.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive RVW 22 Feb 2008
Format:Audio CD
These are the performances of the symphonies against which all others must be measured. Boult was associated with RVW throughout his life, being present at the premiere of A Sea Symphony in 1910, later conducting the first perfomances of the 3rd, 4th and 6th symphonies, and of course recording these in 1952, 1953, 1956 and 1958, all in the presence of the great man [except for the 9th, as other reviewers have mentioned - though RVW was actively planning to attend the recording in Walthamstow Town Hall on the night of his death]. I grew up with Boult's later EMI recordings, which I still love, and Previn's and Haitink's cycles are also superb, but there's something special about this set. Still sounding wonderful, despite the years, this is the one I turn to most. The 5th has never sounded more radiant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Yea Vaughn!
Want dreamy Williams' tone poems galore...well this is the set for you. Hour after delicious hour the music flows on, carrying you with it, down the river of lovely sound.
Published 2 months ago by Eddie Nguyen
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitive in parts
This is a collection for the completist. Boult's association with VW spanned many years, and there is no doubt that he understood these symphonies. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Terry O'Connor
3.0 out of 5 stars Quality
Whilst this is a set of recordings by a great conductor, the actual quality of the recordings has a real mono feel - mightn't suit purists.
Published 6 months ago by haydn blair
4.0 out of 5 stars great value
I adore Vaughan Williams. He was overlooked in the 50s and 60s because the establishment thought he embellished folk songs and they thought that that was cheating. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nine Commandments
Here is the Word of V-W as as transmitted to humanity by his greatest proponent. Scrawny sound but unique insight and authority. Essential.
Published 9 months ago by G. R. C. Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Great album but very poor sound quality
I really do not expect hiss on a recording of this type. Lacks depth. Where can I find a good quality recording of these great works?
Published 10 months ago by S Addy
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
a brilliant introduction to Vaughan Williams
Symphony no.9 has not been off my Walkman since
I highly recommend this as a purchase
Published 11 months ago by matthew andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Vaughan Williams fans will love this!
Marvellous collection of his symphonies, conducted superbly by Sir Adrian Boult.
I am very pleased that I purchased this collection - I got it right for a change!
Published 11 months ago by RANALD HUTTON
5.0 out of 5 stars An important note regarding the MP3 download included!
This earlier, 50's cycle of the Vaughan Williams symphonies conducted by Adrian Boult is quite possibly the most riveting in the catalogue, in my opinion. Read more
Published 13 months ago by km.ord
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome recording
What a fantastic set of Cd's. Can't believe the price. I would recomend this box set to anyone serious about Vaughan Williams.
Published 19 months ago by Mr. J. E. Palmer
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