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Vaughan Williams - A Sea Symphony CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Paul Daniel
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (1 Sept. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000AQRYM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,119 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
18:28
Album Only
2
30
10:23
Album Only
3
30
7:47
Play in Library Buy: £0.99
 
4
30
27:16
Album Only

Product Description

Disc 1 1. Song for All Seas, All Ships - (18.26) 2. On the Beach at Night, Alone - (10.23) 3. (Scherzo): The Waves - (7.46) 4. The Explorers: Grave e molto adagio - (27.19)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ralph Vaughan Willias has long been a favourite composer of mine and I have been impressed by his symphonies. Well, all except this one. I have thought of this as something of a magnificent failure that reaches impossibly high, especially for a first symphony, has some great moments, but ultimatley fails as a symphonic whole. This recording has made me change my mind.

I have not found that any of the previous recordings managed to present the piece as a coherent whole, and presumed that this was the fault of the music itself. Previously the most successful tactic, as used by Boult, was to go at the piece with maximum energy and trust that the forward momentum would iron out any kinks in the musical structure.

Paul Daniels has tried a different approach, he has keyed into the atmospheres of the various movements to create cinematic style soundscapes. The approach has worked brilliantly. He has been aided by sympathetic sound engineers who have clearly miked up orchestra, chorus and the two soloists so that they can be mixed both for maximum effect and coherence.

This approach pays big dividends in the second, third and fourth movements. I still have some questions about the first movement, though it is brought to a wonderful atmospheric ending here as the singers drift out of reach.

To me this is a thoroughly English interpretation of the Symphony, Indeed, with Christopher Maltman's generously full baritone the work takes on a Shakespearean tone, nowhere more so than in the deftly handled slow movement 'On the beach at night'.

All in all I have found this recording to be something of a revelation.
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Format: Audio CD
This new release competes most obviously with the recording issued last year featuring the Atlanta Symphony under the direction of their new music director, Robert Spano. I found that recording to be a little disappointing, and surprisingly that was at least partly because I found the usually sterling sound from Telarc to be a bit over-bright and hard-edged. One cannot make that complaint about this new Naxos release, but there are a few other quibbles about this otherwise fine recording.
The 'Sea Symphony,' Vaughan Williams's first, written just after he'd returned from his few months studying with Ravel, was my first RVW symphony back in the 1950s. I knew it even before the most popular one, the 'London' Symphony, No. 2. My introduction was Sir Adrian Boult's classic mono recording which many consider to be, even yet, the finest ever made. But that recording's sound, alas, shows its age. [I dug out my old LP just to give it another listen after a number of years. It is also out on a mid-priced CD on EMI and I believe it is still widely available. My old impression remains; it is a very fine performance. I will admit that perhaps I like it because it was my first recording, but apparently others feel the same about it.] Since the Boult there have also been fine recordings by Previn, Slatkin and Hickox that I've heard. I like all three, and particularly like the choral sound of the London Symphony Chorus in the Hickox recording.
Naxos has put out its own RVW symphony set with all but the 1st and 4th conducted by Kees Bakels with the orchestra on this CD, the Bournemouth Symphony, that recording-est of non-London British ensembles.
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First rate orchestral playing, soloists, choir and sound quality. The soloists are recorded a little close but I soon got used to that. I saw this music performed when I was a young student and rather made fun of the very victorian sounding words, starting with "Behold the sea". This symphony is rather neglected, probably partly because of this but also, of course, because of the size of the forces required. But it is marvellous music, Vaughan Williams at his (young) best. If you don't know the music buy this bargain-priced recording.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a superb performance of this great symphony. It ranks with the best - Boult (both recordings) and Handley. The recorded sound has been criticized, but I can find little wrong with it. The soloists are recorded a little close, but when they sing as well as they do here, does that really matter? Paul Daniel has also given us a superb account of the fourth symphony, and the other seven symphonies in the Naxos series (conducted by Kees Bakels) are also very good if not displacing Previn and Handley at their best. All are available as a boxed set.
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Format: Audio CD
RVWs first rewards repeated listening, and it took a few years before it really seeped into my soul. This recording is wonderfully balanced, and all the more dear to me being made in my home town (just opposite the bus station: well you need something to bring you back to Earth after an hour of this :o)
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A very good interpretation and a good recording. Naxos are to be congratulated. The soloists were excellent as was the orchestra
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have just tried out all the recordings I could find, borrow or steal of this symphony - Boult in stereo, Spano, Haitink, Handley, and this one - and (perhaps surprisingly) Daniel was my clear favourite. Fantastic sound, good chorus, strong baritone (only occasionally a bit gritty) and lovely soprano. The whole thing just - well, transcendent at the end. At Naxos price, one of the great bargains.
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