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Vaughan Williams: The Sons Of Light; Holst, Parry

Release Date: 09/04/2007 
Label:  Lyrita   Catalog #: 270   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsGustav HolstCharles Hubert Parry
Performer:  Teresa CahillSir David WillcocksSheila Armstrong
Conductor:  Sir David WillcocksDavid Atherton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraBach ChoirRoyal College of Music Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This set of lovely vocal music by three British masters continues the very welcome re-release on CD of Lyrita Recorded Editions. The Holst work is from that composer's earlier period (1904). An ecstatic setting of a passage from Leaves of Grass, this 20-minute work for soprano and orchestra shows the composer's creative imagination and great skill at orchestration but not yet his distinctive voice. David Atherton conducts with a sure hand, and Sheila Armstrong is the excellent soloist, with a lovely high pianissimo.

The other two pieces are choral/orchestral works from their respective composers' late years, previously released on a single LP conducted by David Willcocks. Hubert
Read more Parry's Ode on the Nativity (1912), for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, is one of his masterpieces; shockingly, it appears that this is the only recording in commercial release. Teresa Cahill's voice is less ethereal than Armstrong's, yet it is highly effective, as is the singing of the Bach Choir and Royal College of Music Chorus. The same forces (minus the soloist) star in Vaughan Williams' The Sons of Light (1950). Ursula Vaughan Williams' poetry evokes the night sky (the Zodiac in particular), beautifully realized in her husband's imaginative orchestral writing and in this performance.

The Holst and Vaughan Williams have received fine recordings by David Lloyd-Jones on Naxos (CD and multi-channel DVD-A and SACD versions), yet these Lyritas are just superior enough--even sonically--to be preferable, despite the higher price-tag.

--Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

The Sons of Light by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Teresa Cahill (Soprano), Sir David Willcocks ()
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bach Choir,  Royal College of Music Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; England 
Date of Recording: 03/1980 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 20 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
The Mystic Trumpeter, Op. 18 by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Sheila Armstrong (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Atherton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904/1912; United Kingdom 
Length: 19 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Colin Matthews. 
Ode on the Nativity by Charles Hubert Parry
Performer:  Sir David Willcocks (), Teresa Cahill (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bach Choir,  Royal College of Music Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; England 
Date of Recording: 03/1980 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 24 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in English and Latin. 

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