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on 27 May 2008
`The Vaughan Williams Experience' it says. The by line` 20 essential masterpieces from a timeless English Composer' was no doubt concocted by some young creative genius who was listening to the Ting Tings on his ipod at the time. The 2CDs have 20 tracks from 11 works.

Here they are -


Fantasia On Greensleeves
Linden Lea
London Symphony: Lento and Scherzo
Sea Symphony (No. 1) Scherzo (The Waves) and The Explorers (Last movement)
Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis


The Wasps Overture
Job - 2 scenes from the Ballet
Symphony No. 5 Scherzo and Romanza
Symphony No. 6 Allegro and Moderato
Sinfonia Antarctica (Symphony No. 7) Prelude
The Lark Ascending

Not a bad selection as they go. Except that all but Linden Lea are the interpretations of Andrew Davis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. His interpretation of Vaughan Williams is hardly profound. He takes the music to be 16th century English Choral music orchestrated by Ravel. He doesn't know how to hand its folk song influences or it's more violent passages. Some works don't fare too badly. I actually bought his version of the Sea Symphony after hearing it in a record shop. But that was before I had heard better interpretations. The Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis is competent but uninspired. Violinist Tasmin Little is charming in The Lark Ascending. But Davis doesn't understand Symphony No. 6 at all. What does he do with the darkness, violence and fury? Leave it out.

Just one other problem - who actually wants to listen to parts of Vaughan Williams' works? Perhaps you are looking to buy something for someone who like Vaughan Williams, or just classical music in general. Do them , and yourself a favour! Buy a disc or set with complete works on it. The person you have bought it for will thank you. Or have you heard the favourites on Classic FM: The Lark Ascending, Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis etc., and want to explore further?. Buy something with complete works on. There are plenty of discs and sets to choose from.
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