An above average 5th Symphony in oddly constructed program
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 10/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoy this version of Vaughan Williams' 5th Symphony more than others I've heard by Boult, Handley and Previn because Hickox approaches the score more on the basis of orchestral execution than developing the quiet pastoral flavors of the English countryside that characterize most versions of the music. In other words, Hickox spends less time interpreting the music and more time playing it than the others.
Hickox, who has gained fame in the CD world for having one of the first authentic recordings of the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and for squeezing the Verdi Requiem onto a single CD, is faster than most conductors in this music. He takes a meatier, more muscular approach.
Yet Hickox is just as mellow in the lengthier quiet sections of the score as his famous countrymen and delivers more in the bigger moments with his orchestra right in step with him. The London Symphony Orchestra brass, in particular, are outstanding in this issue with the strings providing strong support and wonderful elocution throuhout.
The sound on the Chandos CD is outstanding in every way with brilliance, depth and unmatched clarity. You can hear every instrument, every voice and every little thing every time.
What I don't like about this CD is the odd program built around the main dish, which is the symphony. There is nothing particularly wrong with any of Vaughan Williams choral selections that fill out this CD. However, at about 37 minutes for the symphony, there was plenty of room on the disk to include another VW symphony. That would have made this full price issue more valuable, in my opinion.
If you enjoy characterful vocal music by Vaughan Williams that never gets too dramatic, you'll find this CD every bit the equal to what the other reviewers here said. If you seek the more substantial and longlasting contributions of the composer, you may wish to look elsewhere for a better pairing, though. "
firstname.lastname@example.org | Huntsville, AL | 04/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard this album on public radio last night. Mr. Williams has reached up to touch heaven with this beautiful music. I am no musician, but I do know what moves my spirit and this is it. There is a resonance in his music that continues to stir the soul long after the strings fall silent."
Touched by God
Virginia music lover | northern Virginia United States | 12/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are a few instances where one feels a composer has, perhaps through some divine help or inspiration, reached a long way towards things eternal. Some Beethoven is like that. VW's 5th Synmphony is one of those pieces. Listen to it several times around midnight."
Uplifting and Entertaining
Karl W. Nehring | Ostrander, OH USA | 08/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chandos and Maestro Hickox present us the Fifth Symphony in a framework of other works (some in premiere recordings) with a spiritual purpose, thus underscoring the searching nature of the symphony. This is a beautiful disk that is uplifting as well as entertaining, and marvelously recorded. Even if you already have several versions of this wonderful symphony in your collection, you will definitely want to add this one. Kudos go to Chandos for such a thoughtful production."