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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 / Elder, Halle Orchestra

Vaughan Williams / Halle Orchestra / Elder
Release Date: 07/09/2013 
Label:  Hallé   Catalog #: 7533   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This series has been inconsistent, but these are good performances. In the Fifth Symphony, Elder adopts brisk tempos that serve the piece well. The music itself is so mellow and lovely that it can very easily drift about listlessly, especially in the outer movements. There’s no risk of that here, and the result has a freshness that never compromises the music’s luminous serenity. The Romanza, although still the longest movement in the symphony, hasn’t quite the hushed intensity of Slatkin’s version (RCA), and the playing of the Hallé doesn’t quite match that of the best London orchestras–especially the LSO for Previn–but this is still impressive and convincing.

The Eighth is also quite well done, with only one caveat.
Read more The vibraphone, which does so much to characterize the opening movement and episodes in the concluding Toccata, simply has to be more prominent. Boult (EMI) is ideal here. There really is not point in the composer’s purposeful emphasis on unusual sonorities only to have them downplayed. At least everything else is vivid and sharp, with the strings-only Cavatina especially well-shaped. I can’t say that we actually needed more versions of this music–it’s no longer a rarity on disc–but these interpretation do hold their own despite strikingly cheap and ugly cover design. If you collect this music, you will enjoy them.

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

1.
Symphony no 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1943; England 
Date of Recording: 11/09/2011 
Venue:  Live  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester 
Length: 38 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 8 in D minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
Date of Recording: 02/03/2012 
Venue:  BBC Studios, Mediacityuk, Salford 
Length: 28 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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