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.