3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony (original version) (Audio CD)
With his London Symphony VW found his distinctiove voice as a symphonist. The grand gestures of the Sea Symphony have been replaced by a more refined palate of orchestral sounds, from the mists of Bloomsbury evoked in the Lento, which look forward to the quiet reflection of the Pastoral and 5th symphonies, to the anguished cry that opens its finale, mirrored in the simlar start to the 6th Symphony. Elsewhere, VW captures the street cries and bank holiday spirit of pre 1st World War London, ending his work with the majesty of the Thames, gliding through the city on its way to the sea. Hickox and the LSO capture all the 'sounds of a great city' in this outstanding recording.
As to the use of the 1913 version: there are few occasions when one can say that the first version of a work may actually be 'better' than its revision, but I think one can safely suggest that here. The sections restored to the Scherzo (especially) and the Finale are not only passages of real quality, but they improve the overall balance of the work. When comparing this with the revised version, it is evident that they smooth out what now seem to be rather abrupt transitions in the revision.
This may well become Hickox's legendary recording following his early death last year, a worthy testament to a great conductor. Recommended unreservedly.