9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
What a pleasure,
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This review is from: Vaughan Williams: The Nine Symphonies (British Composers) (Audio CD)
The CDs are in cardboard sleeves but I don't think that should be a worry and the box includes an atractive booklet about the symphonies. This is my first integral set of them but I have on LP Boult's recordings of 'A Sea Symphony' and 'A London Symphony'. I also have other VW CDs by others such as Haitink, Barbirolli, Handley, Bakels and Thompson. I bought this Boult set because I like both his EMI recordings of the 'Sea' and 'London' symphonies and wanted them on CD. I much prefer Sheila Armstrong's contribution at the close of the First to Felicity Lott's, the soprano on Haitink's excellent recording, but Lott doesn't move me as Armstrong does, who almost reduces me to tears. I realise that sometimes individual records are better than some others, for example, some critics think that Andrew Davies' Sixth is the very best, and buying what critics recommend is one approach to building a collection so long as you can afford it and are prepared to keep buying , because what are regarded as the best recordings constantly changes. This, of course, is where good box sets are very useful and this is a very good box set.
I haven't been at all disappointed by Boult's EMI set and yes, Sheila Armstrong's singing still almost reduces me to tears and not a single performance is less than very good. Overall,I prefer Hatink's'London' but Boult draws out the haunting beauty of the lavender seller in the second movement better than either Haitink or Barbirolli. If it was possible to wear out the CD of the Fifth and Ninth (I should add that I'm still reeling from the performances of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth symphonies at the Proms last year), I probably would have done so by now.
Wonderful set, fine sound and great value.