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The Essential Vaughan Williams / Willcocks, Boult, Bean, Barbirolli, Et Al


Release Date: 06/24/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 07992   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Hugh BeanIan PartridgeMeriel DickinsonShirley Minty,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Adrian BoultSir David WillcocksSir John BarbirolliSir Neville Marriner,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia OrchestraCambridge King's College ChoirLondon Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Impossible to imagine a better introduction to RVW’s marvellous diversity.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’ death this year EMI have released a 30-CD set of his "Masterworks"; a comprehensive introduction to his body of work. If you don’t want to stretch that far, however, then this 2-CD collection will do very nicely indeed.

If any label was to do a retrospective of Vaughan Williams’ work then it is wholly appropriate that it should be EMI. Their archive contains an unrivalled collection of recordings that have come to be seen as definitive, and in many cases are the only recordings of that work. They have plundered their treasury to provide a superb compendium here. It
Read more all begins with Hugh Bean’s classic account of The Lark Ascending which evokes the still timelessness of a summer’s day under Boult’s expert direction. Boult is also on call for his classic Serenade to Music with a top collection of soloists who suggest happy memories of a bygone era, quite fitting in the light of this work’s origins. Boult’s set of symphonies is also used to provide the movement from the Sinfonia Antartica as is his Job from the same 1970s set. The other major orchestral contributions come from Sir John Barbirolli whose justly famous accounts of Greensleeves and the Tallis Fantasia are given here. His spellbinding Tallis Fantasia is the most marvellous account of the work I have come across: the performances elicited from each constituent group blend into a marvellous whole, helped by the splendid EMI sound which places you in the centre of what feels like a vast acoustic surrounded by the participants. If you don’t have this recording then buying this set is worth it for this track alone.

EMI stalwart David Willcocks turns up happily often too. He conducts the Jacques Orchestra in a marvellously sonorous Dives and Lazarus. He conducts many sung items too, including the magical opening of the G Minor Mass and one of the Five Mystical Songs. The hymns are marvellously and professionally sung, though not with too much polish, which is important for congregational pieces. The solo singing from English legends like Janet Baker and John Shirley-Quirk is most welcome and the various folksongs are treated like the excellent music they are. Even David Daniels gives a marvellous other-worldly feel to Orpheus with his Lute.

With performances like this all collected together for the first time, this set is a guaranteed winner. It would be easy to complain about some omissions, but that would be churlish in light of the riches on offer here. Every aspect of Vaughan Williams’ output is represented - except the concertos and operas - and it’s impossible to imagine a better introduction to the marvellous diversity of his work. After this it would be fitting to explore the heavier repertoire such as the symphonies, but this forms an excellent springboard.

-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. The lark ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Hugh Bean (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914/1920; England 
Length: 14 Minutes 45 Secs. 
2. Serenade to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Partridge (Tenor), Meriel Dickinson (Alto), Shirley Minty (Alto),
Susan Longfield (Soprano), Christopher Keyte (Bass), Kenneth Bowen (Tenor),
Norma Burrowes (Soprano), Marie Hayward (Soprano), Alfreda Hodgson (Alto),
Gloria Jennings (Alto), John Carol Case (Bass), Sheila Armstrong (Soprano),
Richard Angas (Bass), Wynford Evans (Tenor), Bernard Dickerson (Tenor),
John Noble (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
Length: 13 Minutes 17 Secs. 
3. Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1919; England 
Length: 16 Minutes 13 Secs. 
4. Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Dame Janet Baker (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
5. Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Hugh Bean (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Ralph Greaves. 
6. House of life: no 2, Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Julius Drake (Piano), Ian Bostridge (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
7. English Folk Song Suite: no 1, March "Seventeen Come Sunday" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gordon Jacob. 
8. English Folk Song Suite: no 2, Intermezzo "My Bonny Boy" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gordon Jacob. 
9. Songs of travel: no 1, The vagabond by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  David Willison (Piano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1904; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
10. On Wenlock Edge by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Frances Mason (Violin), Ian Partridge (Tenor), Christopher Wellington (Viola),
Eileen Croxford (Cello), David Parkhouse (Piano), Hugh Bean (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Music Group of London
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: England (1908 - 1909). 
11. Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes (3) for Organ: no 2, Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
12. Mystical Songs (5): no 4, The call by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
13. The wasps: Overture by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; England 
Length: 10 Minutes 13 Secs. 
14. Loch Lomond by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Christopher [Audio Producer] Bishop (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Madrigal Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
15. Ca' the Yowes by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Christopher [Audio Producer] Bishop (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Madrigal Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs. 
16. Variants (5) of 'Dives and Lazarus' by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Length: 11 Minutes 27 Secs. 
17. O taste and see by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  James Lancelot (Organ), Ivan Sharpe (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Martin Neary
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
18. Job: Scene 8 by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927-1930; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
19. Bushes and Briars by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baccholian Singers of London
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Hebert Pierce. 
20. Traditional English Carols (8): no 8, Wassail Song by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baccholian Singers of London
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Hebert Pierce. 
21. English Hymnal: no 4, For all the saints by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Conductor:  Philip Moore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  York Minster Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1905; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 10 Secs. 
22. Traditional English Carols (8): no 6, The truth sent from above by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
23. English Hymnal: O little town of Bethlehem by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Francis Grier (Organ), Thomas Armstrong (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
24. Blake Songs (10) for Voice and Oboe: no 5, The lamb by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Partridge (Tenor), Janet Craxton (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
25. Symphony no 7 "Sinfonia antartica": 2nd movement, Scherzo "Moderato" by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1952; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
26. Orpheus with his lute by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Martin Katz (Piano), David Daniels (Countertenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1901; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
27. English Hymnal: no 1, Come down, O Love divine by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Thomas Williamson (Organ)
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1906; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
28. English Hymnal: All people that on earth do dwell by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Benjamin Bayl (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Wallace Collection,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Roy Douglas. 
29. Mass in G minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Robin Doveton (Tenor), John Eaton (Boy Soprano), Nigel Perrin (Boy Alto),
David Van Asch (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920-1921; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
30. The blessed Son of God by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 

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