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Vaughan Williams: 8 Symphonies Box set

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Adrian Boult
  • Composer: Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (19 May 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Belart
  • ASIN: B000026525
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,870 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NNNNN on 17 Mar. 2004
The reason why this set (originally recorded by Decca) contains only the first 8 symphonies is simple, there were only 8 at the time of its completion and there was only a hint of a 9th. One can sort of complete a first Boult cycle with his Everest recording of the 9th recorded the morning of the composer's death (a fact ignored in the Penguin Guide which still says it was recorded months later).
Boult's familiarity with these works is of course complete. The composer himself greatly admired Boult's interpretations (he was present at most of the sessions) in particular his following of his tempos. VW towards the end of his life often complained that some conductors were ignoring his cleary indicated tempos and were taking his works too slowly. That is clearly not the case here as Boult deftly moves these scores forward with a clear eye for where they are going. Equally fine is his ear in bringing clarity and balance in the orchestral sound. The 8th is stereo but the rest are mono but have no fear on that score. Decca's mono is full and clear with no hint of congestion. The Sea Symphony is so fine that in the early 1950's it was used as a hi-fi demonstartion recording in the Royal Albert Hall. A truly classic set that at the price is a steal.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Davis VINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2001
This set contains the greatest ever performance of Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony no 6 in E minor. No conductor has penetrated into the mystery of the epilogue/finale as profoundly as Boult does on this recording. The composer's gracious and charming speech of thanks at the end of the CD is an added bonus. Unfortunately the set does not contain the fine recording of the 9th symphony made on the morning of the composer's death in August 1958 as that is only available on an American Everest CD.

(added in 2009: the whole set, including the Everest recording of Symphony No 9 is now available in a Decca boxed set).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 May 2000
If you love Vaughan Williams' symphonies, but know them only from later recordings, these performances from the 1950s by Sir Adrian Boult will be a revelation.
In one work after another, Sir Adrian's deeply-empathetic interpretaions get right to the heart of the music, and the original Decca recordings are so superb that you might never guess their age. Orchestral textures, particularly in the Fifth and the Seventh, shimmer and glow, and Boult's keen sense of drama makes these versions enthralling. (The fact composer attended many of the sessions, even adding a humorous comment at the conclusion of the Sixth Symphony).
If you don't know these widely-varied and vigorous works--certainly some of the treasures of twentieth-century music--you have a rare treat ahead.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Dec. 2001
This is the single best Vaughan-Williams Symphony set. Although this set is primarily in mono, the performances are much better than Boult's later stereo remakes for EMI. If you like Vaughan-Williams should buy this set.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Elvin on 29 Oct. 2000
Whilst only one of these bargain recordings is in stereo and the ninth symphony is missing (recorded at the time of RVW's death & available on Everest)each is classic Boult and not to be missed. The superb quality of the recording/performance of the Sea Symphony (though mono) are well-known, but each of the disks is a gem.
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