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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2; The Lark Ascending
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Andre Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2; The Lark Ascending
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

André Previn recorded this symphony twice, the first time around for RCA with the London Symphony Orchestra. That was, and is, a very fine performance, but this one is finer still. His tempos have slowed somewhat since tha...  more »

     
   
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Amazon.com
André Previn recorded this symphony twice, the first time around for RCA with the London Symphony Orchestra. That was, and is, a very fine performance, but this one is finer still. His tempos have slowed somewhat since that first version, but the truth is that you'd never notice unless you listened to music with a stopwatch. Vaughan Williams said that of all of his symphonies, this one was his personal favorite, and it's easy to understand why. The music has a very personal tunefulness and vigor, while the orchestration has a subtlety that clearly reflects the composer's period of study with Ravel. If you don't come away from this excellent performance thinking that the slow movement isn't among the most beautiful pieces of music in the universe, then listen again. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

A great performance marred by bad sound
N. Daniele Pietro | Milano, MI Italy | 03/27/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This is a cd that it's very difficult to rate. As a performance it's marvelous, one of the most impressive releases from Previn , always a perfect interpreter of RVW and British music in general. The "official" Amazon review says it perfectly. The problem is the sound which is, in my opinion, well below Telarc's standard. The quality of the sound is not bad in itself, but something must have gone wrong with the engineering. The dynamics, in fact, are incredibly exaggerated: for example, if you pump up the volume at the very beginning (ok, I know that the music has to gradually rise from pianissimo, but if you don't do that you won't hear anything for several minutes! ) then the big orchestral outbursts will result unbearably loud and coarse. I' ve never been able to find a volume level good for the whole cd. I have the other, equally splendid Vaughan Williams/Previn/Telarc (the Fifth), and that has no similar problems, so it's either a bad technical act or a somewhat damaged cd that I bought. (how, though? Somebody had a different experience?) All in all , it's a real pity...."
Incredible, not flawed, recording.
N. Chongsiriwatana | Chicago, IL USA | 07/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I cannot disagree that it's hard to find one volume level withwhich to listen to the entire recording. I first heard this piece at aconcert and one of the things that struck me about it were the drastic contrasts between peacefulness and quiet at one time and near violence the next. This recording really makes that apparent, and although it may be uncomfortable to the listener, perhaps that's the way it should be. It was, after all, written around WWI--who knows, but it just may contain World War related commentary. The second movement is incredibly beautiful. It gets loud there, too, but climactically so, and you probably won't want to turn it down. I don't really think engineering went wrong here. It's just the way the piece is. To record it with the soft parts louder and the loud parts softer would be to rob it of what it tends to evoke--surprise, dramatic contrast, beauty juxtaposed with something unsettling."
Buy this for The Lark Ascending Alone...
Andrew Funk | 01/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The rest of the performances on this album are great, but the real gem here is Barry Griffiths solo on The Lark Ascending. Absolutely wonderful musicianship...this is a piece that relies entirely on the ability of the violinist. A beautiful interpretation."