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Andre Previn conducts Vaughan Williams


Release Date: 05/27/2016 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 88875126952   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Heather HarperJohn Shirley-QuirkJames BuswellJohn Fletcher,   ... 
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraAmbrosian Singers
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 7 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The contents of this set are identical to RCA’s previous Previn RVW reissue, and the discs do not appear to have been remastered. André Previn’s Vaughan Williams symphony cycle arguably is the best such offering on the market today, particularly given the difficulty of finding the similarly fine Handley and Slatkin sets domestically (or at all!). In contrast to Boult’s famous EMI set, where his all-knowing conducting (he was a lifelong friend of the composer) occasionally takes on a relaxed and autumnal air, Previn’s consistently vibrant renditions reflect his fresh encounters with the music.

Not to say that he’s always faster–Boult is noticeably quicker in many instances–yet, especially in the case of Nos. 3 and 5,
Read more Previn sounds more energized and involved despite his slower tempos. Previn also has at his disposal the London Symphony, which provides exceptionally robust playing throughout. Case in point: compare the LSO’s playing in Previn’s potent and dramatic No. 6 with Boult’s generally listless London Philharmonic in the same work.

Previn’s gripping Sinfonia Antartica (sound clip) and his profoundly atmospheric A London Symphony rank among the finest versions available. However, Previn must yield to Boult in A Sea Symphony, where Boult’s grandiose vision and EMI’s ravishing recording make a tremendous impression. RCA’s sound, except for a dry and edgy No. 8 (did the master tape deteriorate?) is generally clear and well-balanced, with plenty of impact. Factor in the bonus works–the Violin concerto “Concerto accademico”, the Tuba Concerto, and the “Three Portraits” from The England of Elizabeth–and you’ve got a handsome package of memorable, recommendable performances. The bargain price makes it all the more irresistible.

– ClassicsToday (Victor Carr, Jr.) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 "A sea symphony" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Heather Harper (), John Shirley-Quirk ()
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1909; England 
Length: 65 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2 "London" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913/1920; England 
Length: 46 Minutes 20 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Violin in D minor "Concerto accademico" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  James Buswell (Violin)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; England 
Length: 15 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4.
The Wasps: I. Overture by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1909 
Length: 8 Minutes 59 Secs. 
5.
Symphony No. 3 for soprano or tenor & orchestra ("Pastoral") by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Heather Harper ()
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1921; United Kingdom 
Length: 38 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 4 in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931-1934; England 
Length: 33 Minutes 19 Secs. 
7.
Symphony no 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1943; England 
Length: 41 Minutes 7 Secs. 
8.
Portraits (3) from The England of Elizabeth, suite for orchestra (arranged by Mathieson) by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1955 
Length: 17 Minutes 34 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Tuba in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  John Fletcher (Tuba)
Conductor:  André Previn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
Length: 12 Minutes 19 Secs. 
10.
Symphony no 6 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1947; England 
Length: 34 Minutes 24 Secs. 
11.
Symphony no 9 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956-1957; England 
Length: 37 Minutes 50 Secs. 
12.
Symphony no 7 "Sinfonia antartica" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Sir Ralph Richardson (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1952; England 
Length: 42 Minutes 24 Secs. 
13.
Symphony no 8 in D minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
Length: 28 Minutes 34 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 All Good March 1, 2017 By Christian M. (Ann Arbor, MI) See All My Reviews "If you're a RVW nut, then you have three excellent VW Symphony cycles from which to choose.....the Boult (EMI), the Slatkin (RCA), and this, the early-1970s Andre Previn cycle with his London band. There are other VW cycles, both full and partial, some from the early stereo years with a range of conductors from Sargent to Barbirolli to Davis, and while these are very good reads, it's nice to have a complete cycle to really grasp the grand elegance and post-industrial fury that oozes from RVW symphonic writing. I have always been partial to this set for its heavenly reading of the 3rd Symphony. While Boult may have provided a delicious level of restraint and energy in his interpretations, Previn brings a striking post-war sensibility to these masterworks and I suppose this may be what brings me back to this set again and again. I think the EMI / Boult cycle was a better recording since the engineers at Abbey Road could make everything sound amazing, but Previn's read is one of the keepers." Report Abuse
 Everything said by below reviewer plus August 19, 2016 By Bernard J. (Kansas City, MO) See All My Reviews "I have said for some years that the Previn and Handley recordings were the best possible, and you could take your choice on them. The Previn though has now become my #1 choice by far. Sony's remastering of the sound (which I compared to my individual, circa 1985 recordings) is amazing. You hear the music in a whole new dimension, and it reinforces my opinion that the symphonies of Vaughan Williams are truly in a class by themselves. The price is a steal, and it should be in everyone's library - might make you a crazy fan of his just like me. I'm glad I took the chance to hear the remastered versions. I have never heard the Boult mono that the below reviewer mentions. I must check that out sometime as his later recordings of the symphonies weren't even on the cusp." Report Abuse
 This is the one you want August 9, 2016 By J. Miller (Wilmington, DE) See All My Reviews "I grew up with the Boult stereo performances of the Vaughan-Williams symphonies. The Sea and London symphonies are among my favorite pieces of any music in western civilization. During college, I played the second movement of Boult's London LP so often I wore it out and had to buy another copy. The complete Boult mono performances were the first of all, and all have a place in my heart, especially for Isobel Baillie's lovely soprano solos in Sea Symphony (definitive text delivery, and high B's right on target even at age 59; it marked the end of her prodigious recording career). Of the 5 complete sets I have purchased, Andre Previn's is the one to which I now return over and over. The recorded sound is vivid and warm, the performances are passionate, moving, and always brilliantly paced and structured. For the price, it's my desert island complete Vaughan-Williams symphonies set (I'll bring the single CD of the mono Sea Symphony along, too). And let it be known that Sir Andre's reading of the second movement of the London is beautiful beyond description." Report Abuse
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