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Vaughan Williams: Hodie / Fantasia on Christmas Carols CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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  • Vaughan Williams: Hodie / Fantasia on Christmas Carols
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  • A Carol Symphony
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  • Finzi: In Terra Pax | A Christmas Anthology (Christmas Music) (City of London Choir) (Naxos)
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Hilary Davan Wetton
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (29 Oct. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000WPJ6EO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,580 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Fantasia on Christmas Carols
  2. Hodie

Product Description

Product Description

A collection of Vaughan Williams' Christmas choral works

Review

In Hodie there is an attractive medieval flavour to these settings of Christmas texts, with sharp cross-rhythms, which is well brought out on Naxos with Janice Watson an excellent, creamy-toned soprano. The main vocal items are linked by narration in recitative, with the recording bringing excellent separation of the different elements, including the organ. The brassy March of the Three Kings brings a colourful oriental flavour. The much better-known Fantasia on Christmas Carols, dedicated to the leading folk-songs collector, Cecil Sharp, makes an ideal coupling, similarly well performed, making this Naxos disc a fine alternative to the EMI pairing.*** --Penguin Guide,Jan'09

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great CD. I had always thought that Hodie, despite great moments of inspiration (such as the marvellously inspiriting conclusion)was a rather inferior score to earlier choral scores like Sancta Civitas and Dona Nobis Pacem, but Hilary Davan Wetton's new Naxos (super-budget) version has forced me to revise my earlier view. I still believe that the beautiful Sancta Civitas is Vaughan Williams's choral masterpiece ( although Dona Nobis Pacem and the late, neglected Epithalamion are, respectively, works of great power and beauty) but Hodie comes across as a much greater score in this recording. The main reason for this, I think, is because the conductor takes many crucial sections at a considerably slower tempo than David Willcocks in his fine EMI recording (although the overall timings are very similar) or Richard Hickox in his disappointing later recording (also EMI). Wetton thus invests the score with greater power and dignity. The whole work hangs together much more effectively here than in either earlier recording (although I would not want to be without the Willcocks version, especially for the unsurpassed conclusion "Ring out, ye crystal spheres": one of the best moments in all Vaughan Williams).

Another advantage here is the recording (made at Cadogan Hall, London). It is much clearer than the Willcocks or Hickox versions, with the organ making a much more audible contribution. Janice Watson, Peter Hoare and Stephen Gadd are outstanding soloists and all credit to the Guildford Choral Society and RPO and their conductor.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Being a lover of Vaughan Williams's music and near to Christmas time I was interested to try his Cantata, Hodie: Fantasia On Christmas Carols. I do like some of his other choral music such as his wonderful Sea Symphony and dramatic Flos Campi for Orchestra and Choir. I wasn't disappointed and this is a powerful and moving recording of Hodie, with strong singing by the three soloists (Soprano, Tenor and Baritone) and Choirs, especially the boys' Choir that sings the narration for the Cantata. Hilary Davan Wetton is the conductor and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra provides a fine cushion of sound in this quality NAXOS recording made in 2007.
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I suppose RVW, who was already over 80 when he wrote this, was ambitiously going for a modern-day Messiah. In the event it just isn't very good, as if he was trying to make up with noise what he by then lacked in creative energy. Periods of pointless racket alternate with flaccid quietude, and there's far too much sturm und drang (a lot of it reminiscent of Job: a Masque For Dancing) to allow any Christmas feeling in. I forced myself through a couple of listens, but my finger was itching for the 'stop' button pretty much throughout.

As for the Fantasia, it's like Carry On music.
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