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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 3 "Pastoral" & No. 6 CD

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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 3 "Pastoral" & No. 6 + Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 7 "Sinfonia antartica" & 8 + Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Kees Bakels
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (1 Oct 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000013XE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,386 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 3, "Pastoral Symphony": I. Molto moderatoBrendan O'Brien11:08Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 3, "Pastoral Symphony": II. Lento moderatoBrendan O'Brien 9:19Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 3, "Pastoral Symphony": III. Moderato pesanteBrendan O'Brien 6:26£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 3, "Pastoral Symphony": IV. Lento - Moderato maestosoBrendan O'Brien10:43Album Only
Listen  5. Symphony No. 6 in E minor: I. AllegroBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 7:35£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Symphony No. 6 in E minor: II. ModeratoBournemouth Symphony Orchestra10:00Album Only
Listen  7. Symphony No. 6 in E minor: III. Scherzo: Allegro vivaceBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 6:00£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Symphony No. 6 in E minor: IV. Epilogue: ModeratoBournemouth Symphony Orchestra10:01Album Only

Product Description

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Dir. Kees Bakels

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pike TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jan 2006
Format: Audio CD
Peter Warlock once disparagingly commented that the Pastoral Symphony reminded him of a cow looking over a gate - a damning verdict for what must be one of Vaughan Williams' finest works, but understandable as this music doesn't immediately reveal its secrets. Even the composer himself remarked that 'the symphony is in four movements, all of them slow'. However, this symphony is actually one of the composer's most intense utterances - a work that is now recognised as being a elegy for the First World War. Vaughan Williams was on active service in France during World War One and said that the local countryside provided the initial inspiration for this symphony.
Kees Bakels delivers one of the finest interpretations of this work, comparable to Previn's RCA recording from the 1960's. The wonderful Sixth Symphony is also performed superbly by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
If you want a budget recording of these symphonies, this should definitely be your first choice. However, I also believe that this recording is superior to many full price versions.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Davis on 12 Feb 2009
Format: Audio CD
What is the difference between the merely good and the excellent? How does one interpreter build closely on the work of another, and yet create something new and arresting, that reveals a whole wealth of new wonders? The answer? Perfect attention to detail!

Here Kees Bakels leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in performances of Vaughan Williams symphonies that are clearly built on the classic interpretations of Adrian Boult. Yet a whole wealth of new detail has been revealed.

Take the Third , the `Pastoral Symphony'. Adrian Boult gave us instrumental lines floating above Rothko like blocks of orchestra accompaniment. More recently Vernon Handley gave us a rich impressionistic interpretation. Bernard Haitink took the Symphony into the mainstream of European late romantic music, accenting the lyrical argument in the music. Kees Bakels marshals his forces precisely. The music is so focused that it sounds like orchestral chamber music. The contrapuntal relationships between the lines for various instruments and groups of instruments are accentuated . We are given an interpretation that is moving in a neo-classical direction. And why not? It was composed in the 1920's, and not long before Vaughan Williams neo-classically leaning small concerto for Violin and Orchestra.

This is the least `Pastoral' third I have heard. Even in the slowest movement, the second, where so many versions find a glowing evocation of the countryside, this version remains insistent. Not everyone's cup of tea. But the effect this has is to make this the saddest, most mournful version I have heard. This seems appropriate for a Symphony that began as sketches while Vaughan Williams was on active service on the Western Front during the first World War.
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By Andrew C. Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 July 2014
Format: Audio CD
It seems to me that Kees Bakels and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, playing excellently throughout, give us a view of The Pastoral Symphony and the 6th Symphony which enable us to compare them as responses to war. In the First World War Vaughan Williams, in his forties, served in France and saw men die in the ambulance. Many of his friends were killed, including George Butterworth. In the Second World War he was in his seventies. His Pastoral Symphony has an elegaic feel and seems to speak as a requiem. It is slow. It is contemplative and there are many beautifully taken solos, particularly from the violin, double reeds, the natural trumpet and the natural horn. ( a kind of battlefield memory).The wordless singing of Patricia Rozario, in the final movement, is a haunting lament. The Sixth Symphony is full of boiling anger. It starts with a scream that tumbles down through the orchestra. And the symphony ends with a fourth movement in a kind of wraithlike desolation. Vaughan Williams did not want the sixth to be interpreted as a war symphony, but confirmed Shakespeare - "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded by a sleep."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Shire on 2 July 2010
Format: Audio CD
English and yet so worldly. A strong individual style; yet sounds linking it to wider Europe. Enjoy it for the tunes, style and emotions it can find. Listen and think - it's time well spent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A Vaughan Williams Discovery (Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3) 19 Oct 2000
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on
Format: Audio CD
On the surface, the Third (1922) and Sixth (1947) Symphonies by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) could not contrast more starkly. Subtitled "Pastoral," the Third appears to exemplify the notion of "English music" as a low-key celebration of rural lifeways and folk-song in dialect; the rather more abstract Sixth seems to be the eruptive reaction of an aging philosopher to the state of perpetual, institutionalized war ("Cold War") that followed the victory over Germany and Japan in 1945. The Third undulates quietly in minor modes while the Sixth explodes with dissonance and violence. Consider, however, the fourth-movement Finales of both symphonies: Each proceeds quietly, rarely rising above "piano" in the dynamic indications; both equivocate between major and minor and ultimately seem to revert to minor mode. Vaughan Williams made it clear that the Finale of the Third commemorated his service in the Ambulance Corps in France in World War I, and can certainly strike the listener as elegiac in tone; commentators imputed to the Finale of the Sixth the notion that it depicted a world blasted and depopulated by atomic weapons. Vaughan Williams denied this, but only by quoting Prospero's oblique acknowledgment of mortality from Shakespeare's "The Tempest": "We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded in a sleep." In fact, the Third and Sixth Symphonies belong to a single aesthetic, one in which the salient event is the disappearance of old ways of life having to do with the immemorial rhythms of the countryside. It makes sense, then, to couple these two symphonies, as Kees Bakels has done in his Naxos survey of the Vaughan Williams symphonies. The benchmarks against which new recorded performances must compete are the recordings by Sir Adrian Boult, who set down the Sixth as early as 1949 and made the first recording of the "Pastoral" in the early 1950s. Bakels has a more supple way with these scores than Boult, who could be wiry and stiff (although powerful and forthright). As the Boult interpretations become scarce, Bakels' newer, better sounding, and considerably less expensive readings become more attractive. His Third is lean and modern and yet movingly nostalgic when the wordless soprano joins the orchestra in the Finale. He calculates the performance to deemphasize the work's association with gentler scores like the "Norfolk Rhapsody" or "The Lark Ascending." Bakels' Sixth, while slower in the First Movement than the original 1949 recording under Boult, manages to be even more bellicose and cataclysmic. Save for the Finale, all of movements take longer under Bakels than under Boult, but this results in no slackening of the tension. Fine performances in fine sound.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Pastoral Symphony 7 Feb 2008
By Tim Hawkins - Published on
Naxos has produced a vibrant recording in the form of two Vaughan Williams Symphonies - No. 3 and No. 6. To start, the sixth symphony on this CD sounds great, and is a testimony to Vaughan Williams more dissonant style. In complete contrast is the third, or "Pastoral," symphony. It is here where the orchestra really impresses. The strings are very well-balanced and stunning with their timbres and nuances. Delicate woodwinds accompany the strings, along with distant brass. Overall, this recording truly manifests itself on every level of Vaughan Williams musical purposes. The program of both these symphonies on one disc displays musical contrast, an excellent notion when it comes to discovering a composer's different styles. Overall, this album is highly recommended both on an artistic level and a production level.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A penny for the old guy? 22 Jan 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
At the present moment this album sells for a penny at Amazon Marketplace, so I feel compelled to draw attention to how well Kees Bakels - who is totally unknown to American concert audiences - conducts these two Vaughan Williams symphonies. Constant Lambert was a composer and in his day a noted composer with a sharp tongue. He famously referred to Vaughan wiiliams's style as "too much like a cow looking over a gate." Being English doesn't mean you have to love the pastoral (or RVW's stubborn traditionalism in harmony). Generally, his Sym. 3, originally titled A Pastoral Symphony without a number attached, is considered to be his most bucolic, echoing in its style many shorter works like the Norfolk Rhapsody no. 1.

No one wrote better music in this vein, and if you love it, Bakels delivers an assured reading in excellent sound. Naxos's cheapo cover art and dull design used to go hand-in-hand with sub-par sound and dodgy orchestras. No more - the Bournemouth Symphony are as good as one could wish, shy of one of the big London orchestras, and the dynamic range and clarity of the recorded sound are impressive. Bakels's reading can compare with the best. That's almost as true for his version of Sym. 6 from 1947. The Third and sixth are both postwar symphonies, each from a different era, and yet they never refer directly to the war.

The huge leaps and titanic force of the Sixth's opening bars can be played to suggest strife and struggle, and some annotators claim that the saxophone solo in the Scherzo refers to a jazz musician whom the composer was fond of - he was killed during the blitz, and this solo has been considered an elegy, just as the last movement of the third is an elegy for the Fallen in WW I. Be that as it may, Bakels doesn't bring out the implicit violence that other conductors find in the sixth. I don't hold it against him since his own approach is thoroughly musical and enjoyable.

This pairing is good enough - and cheap enough - to encourage any lover of Vaughan Williams's nine symphonies to check out the rest of the Naxos cycle. All of it is done by Bakels except for Sym. 1 and 4, which are handled superbly by Paul Danaiel.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fine Vaughan Williams at a Discount Price 6 Feb 2014
By TONY L. ENGLETON C.N.M.T. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
02-06-2014 This CD contains the Vaughan Williams Symphonies #3 and #6, ifreom recording sessions in mdi-November or [...] This is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra undere their Music Director Kees Bakels. This digital recording festures over 71 minutes of wonder ful music by the Englishman Ralpf Vaughan Williams.
The Symphony #3 is first. It is known as the Pastoral Symphony, partly due to the fact that 3 of it's 4 movements are marked in some kind of slow tempo, the first being an molto moderato, of 11:10. Written in 1922 and revised in 1955, this Symphony lasts 37:30 and begins in the winds, almost, as it sounds, in mid phrase, before the first chair violin offers a lovely fdigure, barely 25 seconds into the music. The good news is that this idea will return a few times in the form of a motiffThis initial movement is filkled with wquiet, soft and tranquil music and , in dorder to critique it, I had to concentrate hard to avoid being carried off by this mezmerizing material As I listen on this bitterly cold early February morning, temp .was -10 degrees, my newer headphones again pay for themselves with an intraorchestral perspective, helpful in assessing the winds, for instance. The composer had already given ther world his first two Symphonies, plus the beautiful rhapsody for violin and orchestra, The Lark Ascending so his musical "language" had been established for some time now.
The Lento moderatois next with it's evocative distant horn call, as the composer often used this instrumjent. The sense of space and time created by this music is an alluring aspect of much of Vaughan Williams's material. Bakels holds the tempo steady, and almost as an extensioin of the beginning Molto moderatol. The wonderfully imaginative Englishman had much yet to write as he was , at the time of the 3rd Symphony, 50 years old.He would live for another 28 years returning more than a fgew times to this pastoralal theme in future works.
The moerato pesante is a big, robust section, running nearly 6 and a half minutes, it seres as the work's scherzo. Pesante means weitiness, and in this marking of Moderato pesante, the entire movement is to be equally weighted and sonund on the "heavy" side. The full depth of the Bournemouth Symphony, under Bakels, get exactly that treatment. A good, herty , beefy feel for the music forms a neat contrast with it's surroundings. If there is, as I am sure there is a folk song flavor to this music, this 6"27 3rd movement surely is based on one of them. Aboiut half was through , near the 3:30 or so mark, the music tries shifting gears back to the pastoral mood, but the big, rich splashy flavor pessists, and insists on more appearances. The music however, returns to the "pastoral" with a quiet conclusion.
The Finale is a Lento--moderato maestoso, led off by timpani roll of "distant" vvolume and then the wordless melody is presented by the work's soprano soloist, Patricia Rosario. Adhereing nicely to the movement's beautiful tempo markings, Bakels brings the orchestra up through warm and consoling music, rich and memorable. I liked it immediately, paerhaps because it has a sort of Tallis Fantasy tone to it. Again, the solo violin of Brendan O'Brien gets a moment to shine and the haps add to the genial atmosphere. This lushm green 10:35 is rewarding in it's simplicity rapture exquisitely by the Naxos engineers. This label is fastly becoming a serious competitor to such recording heavyweights asd EMI, DGG and London. Also, trhe Petrenko/Liverpool Philharmonic Shostakovich project is also helpingthe Naxos label 's quality. These CDs are not just cheap ,and throw away disks to first learn a new piece and then go out and get a higher priced and presumed better reading. No, they are able to stand on their own, nicely. A very good Pastoral from Mazestro Bakels and his Bournemouth Symphony and a solid way to learn this lovely and evocative composition. Highly recommended.

The Symphony in e-minor, #6, opens with a violent outburst from forte orchestra not tunlike the beginning of the 4th, then settles into a jaunty, and quirky rhythm. For the life of me, I can't get out of my minds the film music for the 1956 epic tale, Moby Dick, based on the sea adventure classic by Melville. I'm guessing the movie's composer was familiar with Ralpf Vaughan Williams, at lest this work, written in 1946 and was premiere by the BBC Symphony Orchestra the following year. some critics at the time, dubbed it his War Symphony, but the composer never verified the War as a contributing factor, prefering the best description to be just pure music. Scored for a large orchestra with exspanded wind and percussion sections, the chaos fof the first movvement's opening gives way soon to a jaunty and jaggerd rhythm, with all the choirs being featured as a sort of "concerto grosso" form., whose material again reminds me of the Gregory Peck film, Moby Dick's battle with the whaling crew. The ferocity of the great Leviathan makes it's presence quite effectively. AT THE 05:58 mark, the strings, with harps in tow, present to us a big, sweeping and rich melody, wahing away all the stress of the first half of the movement. However the mood suddenly reverts back to the beginninggat about 07:16, to the wildness we're heard but this is short lived. A transition at the conclusion moves us sttraight into the 2nd movement's Moderato of 10:00. Performed without pause this is highly effective. Bakels smooth leadership this blending on the run with poise and grace. The Moderato as a whole has an ominous tone to itIt is here in these early 2nd movement pages that I could hear a slight tinge of war, as a general backdrop to this Symphony, a somewhat mechanized presentation, that sounds as if it will be aroiound for a while. The music struggles to ewercome this moody and bleak landscape, all the while seeking a peaceful haven. Distant timpoani rolls remind us of the great conflict the world had just endured persistant toots from the brassare heard as the music swells to a forte level in the 7 minute regionas the tension is carefully monitored by Kees Bakels very astutely and not fully allowed to spill overunder the pressure of this menacing theme being hammered out by brass and percussion. Finally , at 09:00, the english Horn steps forward to the spotlight for a plaintive and dark soloaboe a softer orchestra, the brass now having been subdued, or perhaps, just resting for a return. Again, as in the previous Symphony, Vaughan Williams transitions to the next movement on the fddly. We now find ourselves in the Scherzo, an Asllegro vivvace, played with all the rage and sharpness the composer intended. this is a very different style We've seldom, if ever, heard from the composer, and I found it interesting and exciting. The Bournemouth's percussion section rants and rages throughout this pointed and razor sharp material. I particularly enjoyed the xylophon. Yet again for the second time in this Symphony, the final movement gets the same continuous treatment as in the Pastoral Symphony. ZThis time the on the fly move is to a concluding epilogue, in moderato tempo. It is dark, moody and bleakwith tiny hints of the planets by his close froend, Gustav Holst. The end, when it comes to the 6th, is sudden, quiet and unexpected. It caught me off-gaurd and I didn't care for it. i imagine the work's premiere audience may have felt a similar way as I did. Anyhow, happy listening and God bless you, Tony.
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