Some of Sir John Barbirolli's greatest recordings included music of his countryman, Ralph Vaughan Williams. This Vaughan Williams Fifth Symphony falls just a little short. It was recorded for EMI in the 1960s and the sound quality is vintage '60s EMI: warm and full, yet with plenty of detail. But, to my ears, the performance sounds just a tad "disconnected." I usually cherish Sir John's expressive eccentricities, but here the conductor's agogic distortions really do seem to get in the way of a coherent projection of the symphony's (considerable) architecture. On the other hand, the performance of Bax's gorgeous tone poem "Tintagel" is one of the greatest recordings of British music ever made. Every mood in this very moody, Tristanesque gem is expertly conveyed and Bax's elusive structure is masterfully underlined. Perhaps others will respond more enthusiastically to the VW symphony. But, to my taste, Sir Adrian Boult, Andre Previn, and the underrated Vernon Handley all provide more satisfying performances of what is one of VW's finest symphonies.