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Vaughan Williams A London Symphony and Oboe Concerto CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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£13.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Performer: Stéphane Rancourt (oboe), Sir Mark Elder (conductor)
  • Orchestra: Hallé
  • Conductor: Sir Mark Elder (conductor)
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hallé
  • ASIN: B005SDDE1G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,580 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Vaughan Williams, Symphony No.2 'London' - Halle Orchestra
  2. Vaughan Williams, Concerto in A minor for oboe and strings - Halle Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Hallé returns with a disc of Vaughan Williams in works chosen to illustrate the full range of colour and highly accomplished playing of the award winning ensemble under its Musical Director, Sir Mark Elder. Latest release for award winning label in the English repertoire at which it excels. Features Hallé Principal Oboist Stéphane Rancourt as soloist. The London Symphony and Oboe Concerto were both personal favourites of the composer and contain some of his finest writing. Vaughan Williams claimed that the Symphony "should stand or fall as 'absolute' music" but, as Michael Kennedy says in the authoritative note which accompanies the disc, in this work direct references to "street cries, the Abbey chimes, the Cockney's mouth-organ and accordion, are raised to the level of great art." The Concerto for Oboe and Strings contains virtuosic writing for the soloist, against exquisite string writing, in a work whose early material derived from sketches the composer had prepared for the Scherzo of his 5th Symphony.


Elder brought out exactly the right sound from the orchestra ... the passages of hobgoblin mystery that stalk through the Scherzo had a kind of Shakespearian earthiness. --The Daily Telegraph

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If I am not mistaken, this is the first recording of A London Symphony since Richard Hickox's pioneering 1913 original version on the Chandos label released in 2001. Here we have the more familiar 1936 final edition of the score. Sir Mark Elder, it seems to me has suddenly blossomed as an interpreter of Vaughan Williams' music. This is a monumental score and he approaches it as such and overall it is a very good performance, with excellent recording, but I have some reservations. The recording was taken from a live (2010) performance at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, but you would hardly know it, no audience sound is perceptible. The hushed opening is magical, after the murmurings in the basses the symphony slowly arises from the mists into daylight and off we go into the busy streets of the capital, tremendous forward momentum, colour and atmosphere that this kaleidoscopic first movement needs. Elder adopts almost exactly the same timings for each movement as his great predecessor Sir John Barbirolli in the recording he made with the Hallé in 1957. The difference is however in mood, Elder's version is a majestic and truly symphonic account but lacks at times the passion and intensity of Barbirolli. This is particularly noticeable in the slow movement, which despite beautiful playing and recording never reaches the intense rapture captured in the earlier recording. Then to the scherzo, which for me lacked the bounce and excitement that the composer's sprung rhythms should bring to this lively but mysterious nocturne. The finale is much more successful and after the anguished opening and sombre march the music builds in grandeur before the chimes usher in the nicely judged epilogue and the symphony fades into silence.Read more ›
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By Crebes on 21 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Vaughan Williams is a quintessential English composer and his works reflect what it is to be English, similar to Elgar. This work portrays a feel of London in its busy and quieter moods and is a typical work of the composer. Anyone who likes the feel of being English will like this.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The best recording of the London Symphony I have ever heard! Strongly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x977e9ef4) out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x975f7f60) out of 5 stars *** 1/2 Despite excellent sound, the performance of A London Sym. isn't very memorable 9 Dec. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Vaughan Wiliams's A London Symphony (his preferred title rather than Symphony no. 2) is as familiar to the British as it is unfamiliar to us in America (in a catalog of over 4500 broadcast concerts, I find no U.S. performances), and favorite recordings necessarily include RVW's two great devotees, Boult and Barbirolli, along with a recording of the complete original score under Richard Hickox. For this 2007 CD Sir Mark Elder conducts the last revised version from 1936, two decades after the premiere. It's tauter and shorter but no less atmospheric than the first one. An ideal performance doesn't simply evoke London in varying moods from dawn to dusk, from repose to boisterous traffic - it would also convey the great affection that has built up around A London Symphony over the years.

Elder doesn't aim for that ideal, however. He gives us strong contrasts - after the hushed opening, the sudden arrival of city activity lands like a cannon shot - along with vivid sound and a focus on detail rather than sweep. The Halle Orch. plays twice as well as it ever did under Barbirolli, and there's nothing to disparage in the performance, which goes along quite enjoyably. But the Edwardian world has left few emotional footprints in this music, so far as I could feel. There's no core of enthusiastic energy in evidence. I don't speak, however, as someone who has kept his ear glued to every recording of the score since thee Flood.

The pairing is appealing - the Oboe Cto. written for the once-renowned Leon Goosens (brother of conductor Eugene), whose twangy nasal tone was a touchstone of British woodwind sound in its day. Barbirolli's wife, Evelyn rothwell, was also an oboist and first chair in the Halle. Here we get the present first char, Stéphane Rancourt, whose technique is first rate, as Lady Evelyn's wasn't exactly. The Oboe Cto. is a wartime work (1944), but like RVW's Sym. no. 5 doesn't betray a response to armed conflict. The wistful first movement is even marked Rondo pastorale, which is the symphony's prevailing mood. Unexpectedly, the soloist isn't given a long, lyrical melody but instead almost constant passagework, a bit reminiscent of the Nielsen Flute Cto.

The composer seems to think of the oboe as a country instrument tooted to keep time for dancing - there's a dance in the second half of the first movement, followed by a brief (2:46 min.) Menuet and Musette as second movement. The finale is the major movement - longer and more complex than the others, with faster toodling on the oboe. But i'm afraid that toodling feels like the operative word throughout. The concerto isn't top-drawer Vaughan Williams, and its movements are too similar in their bucolic lightness.

In all, a recording to buy if you want A London Symphony in updated sound with a sophisticated approach.
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