Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is the eagerly awaited final volume in our historic series of Vaughan Williams’s Symphonies, started about twenty-five years ago by the late Richard Hickox, and recently continued by that other expert in British repertoire, Sir Andrew Davis. The album features an exceptional cast and a rare combination of repertoire. While the indefatigable piano duo Louis Lortie and Helene Mercier tackle the virtuosic Double Piano Concerto, the baritone Roderick Williams OBE offers breathtaking interpretations of the rarely heard, yet passionate Four Last Songs, in Anthony Payne’s delicate and imaginative orchestration, premiered at the BBC Proms only four years ago. Vaughan Williams based the disc’s centrepiece, the majestic Sinfonia Antartica, on music he had written for the film Scott of the Antarctic only a few years before, stunningly evoking the implacable, frozen landscape of the Antarctic. All are supported by the impeccable Bergen orchestra and choirs and recorded in surround-sound. This album is a very special one, as is the now complete series.
The conductor lavishes the full extent of his conducting skill on the symphony, convincing all skeptics and leaving nothing to chance. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and double choir, along with soprano soloist Eriksmoen, do a truly remarkable job in creating atmosphere and sustaining it.
– The Arts Music Lounge (Lynn René Bayley)