Perfect and otherworldly
A. Gelder | Abbotsford, Victoria Australia | 10/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a rock musician but I must say that there is little other music on this green earth that is as gorgeous as that of Vaughan Williams. Some folk and country airs can touch the melancholy that VW can, some of Bach's or Ravel's pieces maybe. But when I hear music like Flos Campi 2nd and 6th movements, or the beautiful short pieces that comprise Six Studies in English Folk Song ... well, they leave me breathless. Parts of Flos Campi sounds like VW has distilled all the tinsel and magic, childlike wonder and true peace of something as hard to define as Christmas and made it into music. Serenade to Music in it's pure orchestral form still remains a glorius composition, even without the vocalists. My, when it hits that early theme in the latter part with full force and orchestra ... And the lovely Linden Lea and that wonderful Suite ... Almost too much. I sometimes program this and some of his major works, such as Tallis, Dives and Lazarus and The Lark Ascending (when I have some time to spare!): it's a big 'wow' factor. VW's music is unashamedly beautiful, capturing the sweetest folk elements and conjuring up the spirit of the wildest and most remote parts of Britain (in my head at least). This music is something else and I can't recommend it highly enough."
A fine collection, well recorded, & a bargain, to boot!
B. FILBERT | Oregon, USA | 10/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection of pieces is a real treat for RVW fans. The recordings of Flos campi (surely one of RVW's most unusual and mystical works, somehow managing to capture the elusive emotional/spiritual environment of the Song of Solomon) and the Suite for Viola and Orchestra (rarely recorded, but a delectable mixing of folk-song, Bach, Bartok-like passages, and rich, resonant melodies redolent of autumn) would be enough in themselves. Couple them with the Six Studies in English Folksong for clarinet & piano (a rare piece of Vaughn Williams chamber music) and the ravishing instrumental version of Serenade to Music, and you have a truly admirable set. This is an assemblage of a number of earlier recordings: in this case, I think, the cream has been skimmed and put into one convenient two-disc collection. The recorded sound is good throughout, and the notes well-written and interesting - an excellent Chandos release."