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Vaughan Williams: Sinfonia Antartica


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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 May 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Classics for Pleasure
  • ASIN: B0000647HS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,487 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sinfonia Antartica
2. Serenade to music
3. Partita for double string orchestra

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
The 'Antartica' was one of three symphonies Vaughan Williams wrote in his Indian summer of the 1950s: its appearance surprised many after what seemed his final symphonic utterance in the nihilistic finale of the Sixth Symphony (1947-8). For this return to the form, the composwer drew on his music for the film 'Scott of the Antarctic', and told a tale of heroism and eventual defeat in a score of great musical invention. VW captures the glitter of the icefields with tuned persussion, their savage gales with a wind machine, and the lifeless desolation of the frozen continent with the wordless voices of keening women. The most dramatic moment comes towards the end of the Lento, where the organ (here, the mighty instrument of Liverpool Cathedral) conveys the overpowering majesty of the ice sheet, dwarfing the human beings who dare to cross it in their bid to reach the South Pole. The finale is the tragedy we know that ensues, but before the end, the composer reminds us of the sheer courage of the Scott Expedition, recapitulating the great upward striding tune that starts the synmphony.

Coupled with this is the choral version of the Serenade to Music, an alterantive to the usual setting with solo voices, though one misses the fine shading for each solo voice VW provided for the original singers in the first performance (identified by their initials in the score). This is one of the composer's most perfectly-realised works, a celebration alike of Shakespeare and British singing.

In this reissue, EMI have added a third work, the Partita, making this even more of a bargain.

The late Vernon Handley and the RLPO provide performances in no whit inferior to those of Boult and Haitink, and at a reasonable price - strongly recommended/.
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23 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 May 2002
Format: Audio CD
Film music is often viewed poorly by overly snobish music critics. Interestingly Stravisky and other's have long been adopted as ligitimate when producing balet music.
When RVW wrote the music that finally became symphonia antarcics it was written as music for the film of Scott of the Antarctic.
You dont need the film, all you need is this music. I cannot imagine a more stark and terible piece of music. Having been in some of the bleak places of the world, this pice hits the spot!
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