EMI's new 30-disc box-set is one of the truly outstanding contributions to Vaughan Williams' 50th anniversary celebrations. In one collection listeners now have virtually his entire output in recordings ranging from the very good to the exceptional: this set is a tribute of EMI's long-standing commitment to British music (now sadly curtailed).
Vernon Handley's magisterial cycle of the symphonies is beautifully played and recorded, and the major choral works and operas are all presented in excellent performances and recordings. There are some omissions (of course, since EMI did not record absolutely everything Vaughan Williams wrote) but these can be easily rectified through the additional purchase of the opera 'The Poisoned Kiss' and the original version of the 'London' Symphony (both conducted by Richard Hickox on Chandos), the early chamber music (Nash Ensemble on Hyperion), 'Willow Wood' and 'The Sons of Light' (both on the same outstanding Naxos disc).
As seems to be the custom with these large sets, the collection is presented in a very sturdy box with the discs housed in paper sleeves. With just a track listing supplied, I would also strongly suggest purchasing Michael Kennedy's excellent 'The Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams' (Clarendon Paperbacks).
Above all, this is an outstanding bargain which I would recommend without reservation.