Vaughan Williams’s incidental music for ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ has seldom been heard in its original guise since the 1906 premiere; yet further reason to acquire an outstanding interpretation of the composer’s Symphony No 5.
The compelling reason for buying this disc is the performance of the Fifth Symphony. It’s a fine one; indeed, I think it may be the highlight to date of Martyn Brabbins’ cycle.
It only remains to say that producer Andrew Keener and engineer Simon Eadon have done a fine job; the recorded sound is excellent.
There are four more symphonies to come from Martyn Brabbins and the BBCSO. I hope we don’t have to wait unduly long for them though recording large-scale works such as VW symphonies is just the sort of activity that may fall victim to the present Covid restrictions.
– MusicWeb International
If you need a reason to opt for this eloquent recording, with so many fine versions around, it’s this: the incidental music for Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is performed in its original 1906 guise. With contributions from folk voice Emily Portman, mezzo soprano Kitty Whately, baritone Marcus Farnsworth, the BBC Symphony Chorus and a quartet from the BBC Singers, it’s a rewarding novelty and part of the continuing exploration of a composer whose reputation seems unstoppable.
– Guardian (UK)