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Boult Conducts Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult
Boult Conducts Vaughan Williams
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1

No conductor is more closely identified with the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams than Sir Adrian Boult, who twice recorded all the symphonies as well as other major works. His 1949 recording of the powerful Sixth Symphony ...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
No conductor is more closely identified with the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams than Sir Adrian Boult, who twice recorded all the symphonies as well as other major works. His 1949 recording of the powerful Sixth Symphony captures the potent emotions of the work to a far greater degree than did his later EMI stereo recording. A welcome bonus is Boult's 1950 remake of the driving Scherzo, incorporating the composer's revisions. A Song of Thanksgiving is an incidental work commissioned by the BBC to celebrate the end of World War II. Despite moments of interest, it is not representative of VW at his best. The Lark Ascending, however, is one of the composer's most beautiful works, and it's given a performance of rapt intensity by Boult and violin soloist Jean Pougnet. --Dan Davis
 

CD Reviews

Historic and contemporary - simply the best
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane | Fife, Scotland | 01/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"They don't come better than this. This version of the VW 6th., conceived when the music was still almost white-hot (the symphony received over 100 perormance in its first two years) beats all rivals on interpretation and is remarkably good sonically too. VW paid particular tribute to Boult's skill in moulding the desolate (and difficult) final movement, but every moment of this performance breathes commitment. 'The Lark Ascending' is as fine here as on any other CD (Jean Pougnet is the soloist) and again the sound is very faithful and beautiful. Having the revised version of the symphony's scherzo is indeed a bonus, and a very interesting one, and of course you can programme the CD to play either in the contxt of the symphony as a whole. In addition to all of that the disc is absurdly cheap. You really can't go wrong with this."
A Spirited Performance
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 08/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a white-hot reading of Ralph Vaughn Williams Sixth Symphony. Written during 1944 through 1947, and was first performed in 1948 with Sir Adrian Boult conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The symphony was recorded in February 1949 with Sir Adrian conducting the London Philharmonic which is presented on this CD. However, in early 1950 Vaughan Williams altered the Scherzo inserting a new theme for the brass, so the same forces returned to the Abbey Road studios to record the new Scherzo. The CD gives both the original and revised movement.

The Sixth Symphony has provoked a lot of discussion as to its meaning, particularly since Vaughn Williams had been written off as a composer of pastoral music like the Fifth Symphony; here was something with a lot of fire and energy that caught people by surprise. Many, including Sir Malcolm Sargant, believed that the symphony was about the Second World War with the final Epilogue movement as a vision of the world following a nuclear war. The composer denied all of this and referred to the last movement as "an agnostic's Paradiso." The symphony is noteworthy in that it uses a saxophone to impart a jazz flavor to sections of the music.

The CD also includes "A Song of Thanksgiving" originally titled "Thanksgiving for Victory" that was written for the defeat of Nazi Germany and was broadcast on the morning of May 13, 1945. The recording on this disc dates from 1951 and is scored for orchestra, chorus, soprano soloist and speaker. The recording of A Lark Ascending is from 1952 with Jean Pougnet as soloist. This is a beautiful recording of this important work, based on a poem of the same name by George Meredith. The re-mastering of the music is excellent although not up to digital standards, but this is a recording of the Sixth that one should not be without and is a real bargain.
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