This must surely be one of the most important recordings of British music of the decade - if that isn't too rash a judgement to make, only 20 months into that decade. If we are to believe the publicity, this is the only recording which will ever be made of the original version of 'A London Symphony', but no-one will ever accuse Richard Hickox, the LSO and the Chandos engineers of not making the most of this one-off opportunity. The performance is immaculate, and the recording sensationally good, with a wonderful depth and detail of sound. Those who know the work well will probably find the first couple of hearings disconcerting and disorienting. The first movement is its old familiar self, and lures the listener into a false sense of security; thereafter the familiar music veers off from time to time onto strangely unfamiliar paths down which the listener finds himself reluctant to follow, wanting to stay on the old well-trodden route. Initially, I didn't like what was happening: in the slow movement, for instance, we are denied the satisfying resolution of the majestic climax, which in the original version is interrupted and curtailed. My first feelings were: "The old boy was right to revise it!" but after repeated hearings I am beginning to wonder if VW's revisions didn't in some ways reduce the imaginative scope of the work. The revised version is certainly more succinct and more symphonically tidy, but, as they become more familiar with VW's first thoughts, many listeners may begin to feel that he made huge sacrifices when he removed so much of the work. For me, the greatest sacrifice was the stately hymn-tune which this recording restores to the last movement. VW later described it as 'a bad hymn tune', but for me it is one of his most haunting melodies, and I am staggered that its creator could dismiss it so easily. Anyone remotely interested in British music should buy this disk.