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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
As a newcomer to classical music, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams was one of the first pieces that I truly fell in love with. I looked around on Amazon, read some of the more learned reviews, and finally settled on this recording. If you're a newbie like me and are looking for a recording of the The Lark Ascending, THIS is the recording that you're probably...
Published on 20 May 2009 by Curlynob

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Vaughan Williams
If you want an introduction to some of the orchestral work of Vaughan Williams this CD is a good start. It so happens that all 4 tracks are favourites of mine, so I could go wrong.

The only disappointment is that there is some noise during the sublime Lark Ascending - it sounds like a 747 taking off in the background - which spoilt my enjoyment somewhat. There...
Published 20 months ago by rab


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, 20 May 2009
By 
Curlynob (Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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As a newcomer to classical music, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams was one of the first pieces that I truly fell in love with. I looked around on Amazon, read some of the more learned reviews, and finally settled on this recording. If you're a newbie like me and are looking for a recording of the The Lark Ascending, THIS is the recording that you're probably familiar with from Classic FM. I'm listening to it right now, and I truly believe it is one of the most spellbinding and beautiful pieces of music ever written. Of course here you get the full 16 minutes and not just the 4 minute clip that you tend to hear on the radio or on compilation CDs.

What I wasn't prepared for was the Talis Fantasia. A stunning piece of music that sends shivers through your entire body. You'll recognise it, even if you don't think you know it. It was featured in the 2003 film Master and Commander but has also heavily influenced film composers like James Horner whose themes for Troy and Field of Dreams both draw inspiration from it.
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Tallis Fantasia?, 7 Nov 2008
By 
Lordy (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
Whilst all the reviews are 5 star for this cd, I think it is worth noting a couple of points that may be helpful for anyone not particularly well aquainted with RVW. For my money the version of the Tallis Fantasia on this disc is the best I have heard from the many available. You really get the sense of awsome grandeur and spirituality that I think were intended. Many versions, by really great conductors/orchestras somehow fall short. For that reason alone this is an essential purchase. However, as an added bonus you also get one of my favourite RVW pieces, the very beautiful and moving Dives and Lazarus, which must be one of the most lovely melodies in English music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable, sublime, 14 Jan 2012
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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If I had to save one disc from the proverbial fire, it would probably be this one. No only does it contain one of the finest recordings of my favourite piece of music ever composed, the Tallis Fantasia, but also a benchmark performance of The Lark Ascending, with the wonderful Iona Brown`s virtuosic violin sweeping and swooping us along on skittish wings of languid melody.
Between these two timeless works is the brief, delectable Fantasia On Greensleeves, which features the silvery, mellifluous flute playing of William Bennett.
But the surprise - the hidden gem - for many listeners may well be the 13-minute Five Variants Of `Dives And Lazarus`, as lovely as the Lark or the Fantasia, and as melancholy as they are (for the most part) uplifting. When VW discovered the tune "in a copy of English Country Songs" as the excellent sleevenotes tell us, the composer "had that sense of recognition - here`s something which I have known all my life, only I didn`t know it."
Well, quite. That is exactly how I felt when I first heard these pieces. In fact I shall never forget how I was introduced to the Tallis Fantasia. I was sharing a flat in Finchley forty years ago with several others. One day, two of my fellow male tenants stuck a pair of headphones over my ears and said, with great eagerness, "Listen to this!" I did, was in a state of bliss for all of its fifteen minutes, and knew I would love the work all my life. So much so that I wish to have it played at my funeral...
VW has, over the last century or so, had some daft things said about his music. No, it isn`t "cowpat music" nor is it in some way idealistically "English", though of course much of it - especially the pieces here - is redolent of the English countryside, with that hard-to-pin-down strain of melancholy hidden deep in the English character, and which is one of its most attractive traits. (I am able to be half-objective, being half-Welsh - a melancholy race if ever there was one!)
I do hope lovers of this music will go on to explore all VW`s other works, his nine
astonishing symphonies - truly the journey of a life - as well as his choral and chamber works. But he really did create, with these pieces, something unique to his peculiar genius. Internationally, he and Elgar must surely be the most undervalued of composers. A great pity. I imagine anyone with a heart and spirit would give a lot to have composed the Fantasia or the Lark...
Great English music?
Great music.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure relaxation !, 13 Jan 2009
By 
Mrs. Lynne Park (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A lovely collection of Vaughan Williams whose pieces for me totally encapsulate the English landscape. I was listening to this CD recently, whilst it was snowing and was looking out onto the garden watching a tiny goldcrest land on my apple tree. The silent, soft and slow fall of the large snowflakes were so in tune with the beautiful, gentle music. The tiny fluttering little bird on the branch appeared to be putting on a performance to the exquisite music especially for me!

Music which you can lose yourself in and which wraps itself around you like a warm cozy blanket.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 9 May 2007
By 
Cloud 9 (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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I have had a 2nd hand vinyl copy of this for years and can never decide which of these pieces I love the most, they make me feel so happy. They sound like one of those warm summer afternoons that go on forever. I'm now going to get the cd so I can put it on my i-pod and take it with me everywhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Vaughan Williams album, 10 Sep 2011
By 
Andrew R. Barnard (Leola, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Vaughan Williams has become enormously popular in the 50+ years since his death. And it's no wonder. No other composer can match him in his laid-back, pastoral spirit that will inevitably relax and calm your spirit. And this CD features his most popular works, most notably his Tallis Fantasia and the nearly immortalized The Lark Ascending. And that's not to mention the stunning arrangement of the ever-popular Greensleeves, and the dark, melancholy Five Variants.

Marriner and ASMF give performances of these essential pieces that are probably not rivaled elsewhere. These are not overly sentimental performances, but neither is the music simply run through. Marriner and ASMF have incredible insight into the true nature of these pieces. Just listen to their rendition of The Lark Ascending. You feel yourself being lifted up with the lark while the entire world around you is exploding in beauty and song. Iona Brown's violin solo is tender and affectionate, not to mention Marriner and ASMF's orchestral accompaniment. And then there's the Tallis Fantasia. Here Marriner pulls an incredibly full sound from his orchestra in contrast to the gently reflective soloists. In the climax, Marriner does not create hysteria but rather lets the music speak for itself. The Greensleeves Fantasia becomes deeply thoughtful, thanks to the lush strings and wonderful flute playing of Williams Bennett. Marriner's conducting is particularly insightful in the Five Variants. Too many conductors take this piece at a fast pace. Marriner's tempo is slow while still breathing. For me, the piece is an autumnal reflection on regrets of the past.

The sound quality of this recording is quite good, especially if you consider its vintage - the early 70's. For the wonderful performances you'll get of such wonderful pieces, you'd be a loser is you didn't buy it. Highly, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Buy This!, 25 Dec 2010
This is one of those CD'S which must be purchased. I listen to this CD every week without fail. The music on this CD is beautiful, sublime, moving, inspirational and brings a tear to my eye upon every listening.

If Vaughan Williams is new to you this is a great place to start. I did and now I own nearly a dozen recordings of his music.

'Dives and Lazarus' is one of the greatest pieces of 'english' music ever written.

Just purchase now. You will not be dissapointed.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in a meadow and not a care in the world, 5 Sep 2008
By 
Not really had a lot to do with classical music but flicking through the radio channels the other day found the "FANTASIA A THEME BY THOMAS TALLIS" by RVW and was instantly gobsmacked and researched more about his work and the rest is history...a great CD and cannot stop playing it...i am even listening to it as i write this, the title of my message says it all.
enjoy
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frenchie, 21 May 2008
Loved it~the Tallis fantasia is glorious~if you like music that fills your head...this is for you.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending ASM Marriner, 9 April 2009
By 
Julian J. G. Baker (London UK) - See all my reviews
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All the performances on this CD are excellent. Although originally recorded 35 years ago the sound is still as fresh as Iona Brown's violin playing is wonderful.
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Vaughan Williams: Tallis Fantasia; Fantasia on Greensleeves; The Lark Ascending etc.
Vaughan Williams: Tallis Fantasia; Fantasia on Greensleeves; The Lark Ascending etc. by Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner
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