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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 
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CD:  $22.99
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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:  8 Customer Reviews )
 Music to sip wine and watch the sunset August 23, 2020 By G. Tolmas (Sacramento, CA) See All My Reviews "No surprises Just good edge of consciousness music with which to contemplate one's daily deeds" Report Abuse
 A Bargain June 20, 2019 By Jasper L J. (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "As other reviewers have pointed out, the performances of the symphonies are somewhat unidiomatic. This fact does not include the Sixth and Eighth Symphonies, which are perhaps the finest performances currently available on CD. The sound engineering is consistently exemplary. Most annoying problem: The soprano soloist in the Sea Symphony (No. 1) has a persistent vibrato that detracts from the music. What’s needed here is a clearer sound, an “English” soprano, as some might put it. Still, this set has some wonderful performances, and it’s a great buy." Report Abuse
 Excellent ensemble, good to outstanding interpret July 19, 2018 By Wendell B. (Clayton, DE) See All My Reviews "Well recorded and beautifully played. Highlights of the set for me: #s 3,4,5,and 6. Numbers 4 and 6 are maybe the best available, at least of the numerous ones I have. As I mentioned in the headline, the ensemble playing and balances are excellent. Downside-no notes and the 5th Symphony seems to be recoded at a lower level than the others, but still has terrific dynamic range; I just have to set my volume a little higher." Report Abuse
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