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Leonard Slatkin conducts Vaughan Williams


Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 7902492   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Hugh BeanDavid JonesDavid MasonThomas Allen,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraPhilharmonia Chorus
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

For years consumers had two choices in this music (at least in stereo): Previn (RCA) and Boult (EMI). Neither was perfect, and for the same reason. Both started and ended well, but faded in the middle, particularly in the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies. Boult’s relative placidity was not unexpected, but Previn’s certainly was. Then the CD era burst upon us; but their labels continued to push Boult and Previn even when new cycles joined them from Naxos, Teldec, Chandos (twice), EMI (again, twice) and RCA (again). The best of these were the sets directed by Vernon Handley and Leonard Slatkin respectively, and between them Slatkin’s takes the prize.

Slatkin makes one small miscalculation: his tempo in the first movement of “A
Read more London Symphony” is a bit too quick to convey all of the music’s savagery, but short of that these are all splendid performances. In particular, he absolutely nails the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies. They equal anything currently available. Handley offers a marvelous Second Symphony, but his middle period works, Nos. 3-6, good as they are interpretively, suffer from some odd balances (in “A Pastoral Symphony” especially) and diffuse recorded sound. The Fifth Symphony, in particular, was recorded at a very low level that hardly benefits this predominantly gentle piece.

Slatkin’s Fifth, by contrast, is a highlight of the set. His “Pastoral” Symphony too combines Previn’s incisiveness with Boult’s more flowing tempos. The “Antartica” really glitters and features some spectacular sonics in its third movement. Slatkin gets the percussion timbres in the finale of the Eighth just right, and his Ninth has unusual vitality and rhythmic force. The fillers are also uniformly well done, and include some of Vaughan Williams finest short works (Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, Tallis Fantasia, and the Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus”). In short, fans of the composer are spoiled for choice, but this inexpensive reissue should form the centerpiece of your collection.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 8 in D minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Hugh Bean (Violin), David Jones (Cello)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 26 Minutes 50 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 9 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  David Mason (Flugelhorn)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956-1957; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 33 Minutes 57 Secs. 
3.
Flourish for Glorious John by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 1 "A sea symphony" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone), Benita Valente (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1909; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1992 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 67 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
Symphony no 2 "London" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Jane Marshall (English Horn), John Chambers (Viola)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913/1920; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 44 Minutes 12 Secs. 
6.
Norfolk Rhapsody no 1 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  John Chambers (Viola)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1906; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 45 Secs. 
7.
Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Matthias Feile (Cello), Hugh Bean (Violin), Nicholas Whiting (Violin),
John Chambers (Viola)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1919; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 15 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 3 "Pastoral" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Linda Hohenfeld (Soprano), Nigel Black (French Horn), Hugh Bean (Violin),
Mark David (Natural Trumpet), Jane Marshall (English Horn), John Chambers (Viola)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
Length: 36 Minutes 17 Secs. 
9.
Symphony no 4 in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Kenneth Smith (Flute)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931-1934; England 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 40 Secs. 
10.
Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
Date of Recording: 06/21/1992 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
11.
Symphony no 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1943; England 
Date of Recording: 04/1990 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, Watford, England 
Length: 37 Minutes 38 Secs. 
12.
Symphony no 6 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1947; England 
Date of Recording: 04/1990 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, Watford, England 
Length: 33 Minutes 56 Secs. 
13.
Symphony no 7 "Sinfonia antartica" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Linda Hohenfeld (Soprano), John Anderson (Oboe), Leslie Pearson (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1952; England 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 44 Minutes 13 Secs. 
14.
Variants (5) of 'Dives and Lazarus' by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15.
Sea Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Very good but not outstanding March 29, 2016 By Bernard A J. (Kansas City, MO) See All My Reviews "I have heard these recordings before, and at the price offered on them, they are a steal even though you do not get program notes. Therefore it has been great to hear them again. The sound and playing are of demonstration class, but the performances of some of the symphonies are not really in the idiom we normally hear with VW. You would need to go to Previn on RCA - now Sony or Handley on EMI - probably Warner Classics now, for a complete cycle, and unfortunately they are out of print. Hopefully Sony and Warner Classics will bring them out again in an inexpensive box issue. You can't go wrong on either of them, and they are the ones that I have in my collection that best represent Vaughan Williams. In the meantime though, if you don't want to wait, Slatkin offers a very good alternative." Report Abuse
 Completely pleasurable listening March 26, 2016 By Lillian K. (Hartford, CT) See All My Reviews "Anyone who likes Vaughan Williams' music definitely should have this CD. The variety of the contents and as well as the quality of the performance are excellent." Report Abuse
 bare bones, good buy February 9, 2015 By David K. (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "I could find no fault with the performances or the sound quality. And the price is ridiculously low for a six-disc set. But in one sense you get what you pay for - bare bones. Not one program note. No information about the music whatsoever, beyond the track listings. If this is not important, then consider it a very good buy." Report Abuse
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