Spitirted and Authoritive Performances
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 08/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a highly interesting CD of the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted by a legendary champion of English music - Sir Henry Wood.
This disc has the world premiere recording of Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music, with a text from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, which was written to commemorate Sir Henry Woods' 50th anniversary as a conductor. The work was premiered on October 5, 1938, and this recording was made ten days later with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The text is included in the booklet.
The other works on this disc come from 1936. There is a spirited account of TheWasps Overture and an impressive performance of A London Symphony with the Queen's Hall Orchestra. The symphony is beautifully played with nice attention to the orchestral colors. The disc closed with the Fantasia on "Greensleeves." The transfer to CD is excellent with no noise or distortion. The sound is, of course, mono but what these performances lack in digital sound quality is made up for by the performances themselves.
Historically Valuable Recording
D. A Wend | 02/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this collection contains many historically important recordings of Vaughan Williams, I find the sound quality is not up to Dutton's usual audio magic. Much of it sounds distorted and does not contain many of the upper level frequencies Dutton usually pulls out of the grooves of these old 78 r.p.m. recordings. At the same time, the bass frequencies do resonate in abundance and their richness provides the redeeming virtue for this disc. This collection is historically important because of the eminence of Sir Henry Wood as a musician of his day as well as his collaboration and relationship with the composer. Indeed, the 'Serenade to Music' is even dedicated to him on the occasion of his fifty years as a conductor. If you enjoy historical recordings, by all means, enjoy this one. At the time, do not expect the usual audio quality that one often hears from Dutton's historical releases."