Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 3 "Pastoral" & No. 6 CD
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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Dir. Kees Bakels
Top Customer Reviews
Kees Bakels delivers one of the finest interpretations of this work, comparable to Previn's RCA recording from the 1960's. The wonderful Sixth Symphony is also performed superbly by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
If you want a budget recording of these symphonies, this should definitely be your first choice. However, I also believe that this recording is superior to many full price versions.
Here Kees Bakels leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in performances of Vaughan Williams symphonies that are clearly built on the classic interpretations of Adrian Boult. Yet a whole wealth of new detail has been revealed.
Take the Third , the `Pastoral Symphony'. Adrian Boult gave us instrumental lines floating above Rothko like blocks of orchestra accompaniment. More recently Vernon Handley gave us a rich impressionistic interpretation. Bernard Haitink took the Symphony into the mainstream of European late romantic music, accenting the lyrical argument in the music. Kees Bakels marshals his forces precisely. The music is so focused that it sounds like orchestral chamber music. The contrapuntal relationships between the lines for various instruments and groups of instruments are accentuated . We are given an interpretation that is moving in a neo-classical direction. And why not? It was composed in the 1920's, and not long before Vaughan Williams neo-classically leaning small concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
This is the least `Pastoral' third I have heard. Even in the slowest movement, the second, where so many versions find a glowing evocation of the countryside, this version remains insistent. Not everyone's cup of tea. But the effect this has is to make this the saddest, most mournful version I have heard. This seems appropriate for a Symphony that began as sketches while Vaughan Williams was on active service on the Western Front during the first World War.Read more ›
It could be argued that the second VW symphony on this disc – the sixth – is another wordless requiem after another world war, or is it a march into a new future? Certainly, Bakels’s interpretation of the march at the end of the first movement could be seen as false optimism. (Compare the fifth symphonies of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.) And Bakels’s interpretation of the second movement is full of foreboding, the tension of which is released for a while in the third, but which is again reconstructed ready for the contrasting moderato in the epilogue. But despite the fine playing of the excellent Bournemouth Symphony, this interpretation somehow lacks punch – or perhaps I was just in a cold mood when I played it.
All the same, Bakels’s and the BSO’s take on the VW symphonies on Naxos can be wholeheartedly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as difficult as the Fourth, or as gentle as the Second or as inspiring as the Sea Symphony: but good to have, all the same.
It seems to me that Kees Bakels and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, playing excellently throughout, give us a view of The Pastoral Symphony and the 6th Symphony which enable... Read morePublished on 8 July 2014 by Andrew C. Mitchell