Notes and Editorial Reviews
Andrew Manze has established himself as one of the leading interpreters of Vaughan Williams Symphonies. His 2012 BBC Proms performances drew critical acclaim, and were highlights of that season's Proms. ONYX Classics will release one volume a year, completing the cycle in the spring of 2019 with Symphonies 7&9. It was RWV’s friend and fellow composer George Butterworth who in 1912 suggested he write a purely orchestral symphony. RVW told him he had absolutely no plans to do so, but Butterworth was a very perceptive friend and colleague, and the premiere took place in 1914. Called ‘A London Symphony’ (RVW considered himself a Londoner), RVW thought a better title would be ‘A Symphony by a Londoner’. On New Year’s Eve that year RVW joined the army and went to the trenches in France. Butterworth would be killed by a sniper at the Somme in 1916. The 8th Symphony of 1955 is a tightly written, brilliant and innovative work that shows RVW’s creativity at full stretch. Although outwardly a sunny work, shadows of the 6th and 7th symphonies lurk in the background at points throughout this brilliant symphony.
Manze keeps a tight rein but lets the music blossom. The RLPO and its excellent soloists make a warm, lustrous sound.
– Guardian (UK)