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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7) / Toward the Unknown Region - Bryden Thomson
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Bryden Thomson, Catherine Bott
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7) / Toward the Unknown Region - Bryden Thomson
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1


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Incredible acoustics, sound
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I own just about every commercial version of Sinfonia Antartica that has been in print in the last 10 years or so, and this is one of my favorites. If you think that the Slatkin sounded a bit dry for the imagery of the Landscape movement, then this CD is for you. I think the Chandos engineers outdid themselves on this one, capturing the natural reverb of the building while not losing any clarity.However, there is one interesting pecularity to me about this recording: the big organ solo at the end of the Landscape movement is not big at all. In fact, it is rather quiet, and seems like it might have been subdued during mixing. At first, I thought this to be a huge drawback to an otherwise fantastic recording. But, after comparing this with my other recordings, I valued the chance to actually hear the orchestra creating a swirling, rising tide of sound from beneath organ. This especially contrasts the Haitink, where the organ solo is completely at the other end of the dynamic spectrum, obliterating the orchestral swells with pure sonic weight. I like both, so I end up with both at hand when I get the urge to listen to this piece.As an added bonus, the CD comes with "Towards the Unknown Region," which, if you haven't heard it, is also excellent, and a nice contrast to the winter chill of Sinfonia Antartica. Some others wrote regarding the Vaughan Williams Chandos CD series that they are having problems with playback. Alas, my copy never quite makes it through "Towards the Unknown Region" anymore. However, it did play well at one time, so I think it was damaged by me somehow (although I don't remember when!).If you love this piece, do yourself a favor and buy this recording. This work is one in which the different interpretations vary quite wildly, so you end up finding something you like in each one. There's a lot to like in this one.Also, check out the "Koss Classics" recording--the cymbal crash at the end of the introduction of the first movement is worth it alone! Some of my friends like the Slatkin because it includes a gigantic bass drum roll during the buildup before the organ solo in the Landscape movement. Not one of my favorites, but that little "addition" in that recording is of some interest.Hope I've been of some help..."
...Excellent performance
David | Spruce Grove, AB Canada | 08/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Sinfonia Antartica" and "Towards The Unknown Region" so deservely belong on the same c.d and I don't know of any other recording that pairs the two together.Sinfonia Antartica takes it's origin from the film Scott Of The Antaractic, the 7th of 11 film scores Vaughan Williams would write. He would rework it into a symphony form that would deal with the same cold harsh elements of nature except it won't dedicate all it's focus on Scott but from other sources as well.The first movement depicts the frozen Antartica with the haunting voice of Catherine Bott and female choir suggesting terror and fascination of the South Pole. The second movement (Scherzo) is on a lighter and playful side that evokes a mental image of whales and penguins. The heart of the symphony is the 3rd movement (Landscape), fragmented themes that interweave with disquietly orchestral colouring that reaches a climax with the sudden burst of sound from a organ. The 4th movement (Intermezzo) although a introduction of a oboe might suggest a warmer side, the movement ends in considerable tragedy. The 5th movement starts off optimistically making references to Captain Scott and crew braving the elements but the return of Catherine Bott and choir implements their fate."Towards The Unknown Region" taking it's text from a Walt Whitman poem, is essentially a song for chorus and orchestra and one of Vaughan Williams earliest works to have a huge impact on the public.I can't say that all 9 Vaughan William Symphonys that Bryden Thompson conducts with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Chandos label are top notch, some shine more than others and "Sinfonia Antartica" to me sticks out above other recorded works of the same Symphony and it does help to have a great companion piece along side it."
Splended Recording
A. Craig | Grand Junction,CO | 02/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my second Bryden Thomson, LSO recording. The first is a selection of Vaughan Williams orchestral works

that include the Norfolk Rhapsody no. 1. As for this recording it is just wonderful. The performances of both the

Symphony no. 7 " Sinfonia Antartica" and the choral work "Towaqrd the Unknown Region" are both excellent.

This is my second recording of the symphony, the first is the one by Andre Previn on RCA. On the Previn you have

the addition of a narrator performing the superscriprions that RVW put on the symphony. All of which are very well

read by Sir Ralph Richardson. Here there is no narrartion, which is just as well so you get to here the symphony

without any "breaks". "Toward the Unknown Region" is a new work to me, and is an excellent foil to the symphony.

I plan to get the rest of Bryden Thomsons recordings of the Symphonies of RVW, as his seem to be as good as any

other ones that are currently available."