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Vaughan Williams - Choral Works (CDA 66655) [CD]

Matthew Best Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £14.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Vaughan Williams - Choral Works (CDA 66655) + Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music, Flos Campi, Five Mystical Songs, Fantasia on Christmas Carols + Finzi - Intimations of Immortality; For St Cecilia
Price For All Three: £35.40

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Corydon Orchestra
  • Conductor: Matthew Best
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (1 Jan 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZSU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,196 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi
2. Beat! Beat! Drums! - blow! bugles! blow!
3. Reconcilliation
4. Dirge for Two Veterans
5. The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land
6. Lord! Come Away
7. Who Is This Fair One?
8. Come Love, Come Lord
9. Evening Hymn
10. Toward the Unknown Region
11. O Clap Your Hands
12. Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge (Psalm 90)

Product Description


'An enticing VW collection whose attractions are enhanced by Christopher Palmer's typically illuminating booklet notes' --Gramophone

Customer Reviews

4 star
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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Soaring 7 Feb 2009
By Buzzers
Format:Audio CD
This would be my chosen record for the Desert Island. It is, in every way, excellent. Superb music, fine singing and just a great, feel-good listen which makes my soul soar. If you are feeling low, try 'Toward The Unknown Region' or 'Lord, Thou Hast Been our Refuge'. Uplifting!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vaughan Williams Choral Works 25 Aug 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
The choral works on this CD include three of his best known. The opening work is Dona Nobis Pacem. The text is mainly drawn from the poetry of Walt Whitman and the Bible. It was written in the mid-1930s when war in Europe once again seemed inevitable after little more than a decade of uneasy peace. The historical setting is relevant because its words, as the title indicates, represent a plea for peace. It is described as a cantata for soprano (Judith Howarth) and baritone (Thomas Allen) soloists with choir and orchestra (Corydon Singers and Corydon Orchestra), conducted by Matthew Best. It was first performed in 1936.

Next follows a rarely heard piece, the Four Hymns for tenor (John Mark Ainsley), viola (Matthew Souter) and strings. Their composition in 1914 followed on from the Five Mystical Songs of 1911.

Then follows another well-known work - Toward the Unknown Region - setting words once again by the American poet Walt Whitman from his `Leaves of Grass'. This was completed around 1906 and Vaughan Williams used the same text source for his mighty Sea Symphony (No. 1) of 1909. The spiritual theme of this work bears comparison with Gerald Finzi's Intimations of Immortality that set the poetry of Wordsworth.

The CD ends with settings of two Psalms: O Clap Your Hands is a short joyful setting of Psalm 47 and Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge of Psalm 90. The texts of all the works are given in the accompanying booklet. The singing and recording on Hyperion are excellent. If you like choral music and RVW's frequently modal harmonies, you will enjoy this.

Vaughan Williams - A Sea Symphony
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg 31 Oct 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD contains somer beautiful music but, to my ear, the technical quality of the recording is not wonderful. Balance between singers and orchestra robs the music of its brilliance
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superior recording 20 Oct 2000
By reviewer in Down East Maine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Matthew Best and the Corydon Singers have made one of the finest, precise recordings of RVW's choral works. No muddy sound from a cathedral, it is clear and precise. The range of warmth and excitement appropriate to each piece will satisfy choral afficionados. Ainsley's interpretation of "Four Hymns" is arresting. "O clap your hands" makes my heart quicken. If you've wanted the "Dona Nobis" THIS is the recording.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best's is best 31 May 2006
By Henry Slofstra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Deeming a particular recording 'best' is highly subjective but the pun could not be resisted. All the same, of the four recordings of 'Dona Nobis Pacem' that I own, this is my favourite. (As someone once asked me, why would you own four recordings of the same piece? My answer, because that's all that are available.) No one recording of this cantata is superlative in every single respect. For example, Thomson's features the best soprano performance, that of Edith Wiens. Hickox with the LSO has perhaps better orchestral playing and terrific crescendos, and the best 'Beat Beat Drums' section. But I prefer Best's recording for two reasons. First, because of his attention to nuance. The trailing voices on the phrase 'this soiled world', the ominous, distant tympani in the Agnus Dei, the way the Dirge section builds, then fades to piano on "All the channels", and the complex segues from trumpet to organ to strings in the final section, all reveal a loving attention to the details of this hugely variegated score. Second, and more important, this performance most eloquently captures the passion of the subject and of Whitman's poetry. For example, the baritone solo and violin in the 'Reconciliation' section are so well paced and achingly well played and sung. 'Reconciliation' is perhaps the most important section of the oratorio, and Best's version is unsurpassingly sublime. The fact that there are perhaps fewer voices in the choir is evident in the final 'Glory to God', but I feel that overall the singing is more expressive than say, Shaw's version where the choir's velvety smoothness and fullness fails to convey any excitement at all. The soprano, Judith Howarth, is lovely and ethereal especially in the sustains of the opening passages. As for the rest of the recording, the 'Four Hymns' pair well with the Cantata. 'Toward the Unknown Region', an earlier Vaughan Williams work, is also well done, and provides another wonderful Vaughan Williams' setting of Walt Whitman's work. I could say more, but recommend this recording without reservation.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great modern-day recording 20 Jun 2002
By C. Anderson James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This was actually the second recording of the Dona Nobis Pacem that I purchased. I can't decide if I prefer this modern-day recording or the historical recording (released by Pearl) with the composer conducting. If you enjoy Vaughan Williams or choral music, both should actually be in your library, but this recording's greater sound quality probably qualifies it more for the more casual listener. Enjoy both of them from time to time!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording, especially the lesser-known works 7 July 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
About half this CD is given over to "Dona Nobis Pacem," Vaughan Williams' 1936 anti-war cantata. Other recordings of this work exist--notably Robert Shaw's Grammy-winning Telarc recording, and Richard Hickox's EMI recording. While this version doesn't quite match the grandeur of Shaw and Hickox, it is still a very good recording in its own right.
What makes this CD worth the money, though, is the generous "fillers" that complete the CD. John Mark Ainsley is magnificent in the "Four Hymns" (scored here for tenor, viola, and string orchestra), and the Corydon forces do an admirable job with "Toward the Unknown Region" and "O Clap Your Hands."
But my personal favorite track on this CD has to be the finale, "Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge," which skillfully combines a Biblical version of Psalm 90 with the first verse of Isaac Watts' famous poetic version (O God, our help in ages past). It is a surprising work, yet RVW's handiwork is obvious and unmistakeable.
If you're a fan of RVW, this CD is definitely worth the money.
5.0 out of 5 stars RVW and Whitman: an Unbeatable Combination. 5 April 2014
By Ken Suetterlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The program notes by Christopher Palmer (1993) say it best: "...the humanitarian warmth and splendor of his vision remains, and after all, if the day ever dawns when composers fail to speak out through the medium of their art against mankind's seemingly illimitable folly and wickedness, we shall be in a poor way, to put it mildly." The combination of RVW's music and Walt Whitman's verse does exactly that; and have always done. The poet and the musician match perfectly in every way. Should one take the time to examine and listen to what is being sung and played in every RVW work, one will surely find that the composer sets only the finest literature to music. There is healthy sentiment aplenty, but the music is never 'sappy' or trite. This, for me, is the attraction: Strong, unapologetic emotion, reflecting both the best and worst of the human condition, and people's hopes and dreams, terrors and tears fill this CD. Indeed listening to it is almost cathartic. I would shiver with expectation should I be given the opportunity to sing these works! Ken the Organist in Marshalltown, Iowa
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