Vaughan Williams - A Sea Symphony CD
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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)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful fusion of choral and orchestral music. My favourite of all VW's symphonies. Good price. Well packaged. Arrived before time. FabulousPublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I had to buy this to learn it as my choir is singing it later this year. However, it'sa not a piece I enjoy.Published on 26 Jan. 2014 by S. Martin
I bought this symphony partly for research for a project that I am currently engaged in but also because Vaughan Williams has been compared to Gustav Holst. Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2013 by Gary Flint