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on 1 October 2013
I can agree with most of the sentiments of the first reviewer, this is an important recording beautifully played, sung and recorded throughout, a 5 star disc without doubt. The most significant pieces are the Three Impressions for Orchestra which date from 1902-4 and are here given their premiere recordings. On a first hearing I think even seasoned Vaughan Williams admirers would find it difficult to name the composer without prior knowledge. Usually you can pick Vaughan Williams`s music within hearing a few bars but not so here, though repeated listening reveals some of his early fingerprints. These are tone paintings, misty dawns, dark landscapes, the sun delicately playing on the waves but with no significant musical development, that came with the slightly later and more assured Symphonic Impression; In the Fen Country. They were discarded by the composer but now emerge as fascinating insights into his early development. The eponymous, The Solent is the most substantial of these impressions lasting nearly 12 minutes, a seascape that opens and closes with a haunting melody on clarinet that was used again in mature works, notably the Sea Symphony and the 9th Symphony, so it must have had a deep meaning for him. After a rather mysterious string passage the music lightens with the full orchestra evoking the sea and shore until a glorious climax leads to a return of the motif that opened this beautiful piece. Burley Heath is a delightful miniature depicting perhaps, a day in the New Forest region of southern England. Listeners will have no doubt about the influence of Brahms in some of the woodwind writing and although I don't think any folksong is used the music sounds otherwise quintessentially English and concludes with a short viola solo. Harnham Down is a richly scored, meandering piece that has a hint of the influence of Delius as well as Wagner and Debussy. Definitely music to just close your eyes and soak in. Following the purely orchestral music there are two orchestrated song cycles. Firstly, Songs of Travel (book 1) so only the first 3 songs of this famous song cycle, beautifully sung by Roland Wood whose rich baritone gives remarkable clarity to Robert Louis Stevenson's words. Then The Four Hymns for Tenor, Viola and Strings, which as presented here are an absolute gem. There are no superlatives for Andrew Kennedy's singing as his voice soars above the orchestra in moments of deep rapture and contemplation how Vaughan Williams conjures such ecstasy from the words of these old hymns is beyond me to describe. If you know the earlier and more famous Five Mystical Songs then you will find this work a joy. The CD concludes with incidental music from an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge , composed for a BBC radio play in 1951 and obviously episodic followed by Prelude on an old Carol Tune a sumptuous orchestral arrangement of the familiar tune,"This is the truth as sent from above". Albion Music are to be congratulated on this excellent and enterprising disc, essential for any lover of English music and at a bargain price.
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on 6 January 2015
This CD is a must for RVW fans, with the excellent and lovely descriptive pieces, of which The Solent is one part, premièred here! But for me the most exciting and wonderful revelation was Andrew Kennedy's voice in the exceptionally beautiful Four Hymns: astounding, exhilarating. The Hosannas in the first hymn sent shivers up my spine, so powerful and absolutely gorgeous. He is so well suited to RVW, and these have shot straight into my list of best-loved music - nestling nicely by Thomas Allen's rendering of the Five Mystic Songs. Not impressed by Roland Wood in the lovely Songs of Travel though, (Thomas Allen for me there) but no matter, the CD is an absolute must-buy for the other parts. Perfect playing by the RLPO under Paul Daniel of course, to be savoured and enjoyed.
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on 19 November 2013
If you love Vaughan Williams, this is the disc for you.I heard tracks from it on the radio. It is superb music, wonderfully performed and recorded
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on 5 December 2014
I bought this CD mainly because of hearing one of the pieces from "The Mayor of Casterbridge", on the radio, and being a fan of both Vaughan-Williams and Thomas Hardy, I was fairly sure I would like "The Solent". I have not played it many times yet, but it shows another side of Vaughan-Williams - writing the music for a Radio adaption of a novel. The other pieces on "The Solent" are also melodic and relaxing as you would expect from V-W. I would recommend this CD to anyone who likes Vaughan-Williams/English Pastoral music.
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on 29 December 2013
Really nice to find some Vaughan Williams works that we don't already have in our collection. This was such a good present. Thank you.
One person found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2014
A much appreciated addition to the RVW catalogue. This composer should be filling concert halls across Europe.
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on 15 November 2016
Very nice.
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on 24 April 2018
Fantastic V-W
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on 16 September 2014
Marvellously exciting unknown music. Performances and recording do it justice
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on 18 April 2016
Excellent selection of RVW rarities, beautifully played
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