Top critical review
12 people found this helpful
Michael Kennedy The Works of Vaughan Williams
on 18 February 2012
I was looking forward to reading this book, albeit having read previous reviews on Amazon.
The reviews were accurate - Kennedy is an ardent disciple and whatever problems there were in the musical world they were avowedly not Vaughan Williams'. Having said that Vaughan Williams is a unmistakeable - surely the mark of a great composer. A musical hero in the same way as is Sibelius.
The book sticks fairly strictly to Vaughan Willams' published works - one only gets a glimpse of the rest of his life.
The book now available in paperback is a copy of the second edition; a third might be advisable. The Amazon paperback is actually a facsimile, printed for Amazon,by the look of it, and at £28 plus for a paperback is not cheap. There are a number of typographical errors I would not have expected, together with idiosyncratic spelling which a more compelling editor might have queried and some of the lettering is missing in places.
Perhaps these are small details and minor quibles, but not at that price. Even the paper has the feel of a facsimile printing - it needs looking at. An interesting book, then, but on reflection I would have chosen to buy an original secondhand edition. I felt short-changed by the product, rather than the content.
I shall have to read the biography by Ursula VW, his second wife, to give another perspective on his life.