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Vaughan Williams: Sancta Civitas; Dona Nobis Pacem

Album Summary

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Dona nobis pacem
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Sancta Civitas (The Holy City), oratorio
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Although Vaughan Williams described himself as "a cheerful agnostic", he was not only steeped in the traditions of the Anglican Church, but sensitive to the mystical significance "of what lies beyond sense and knowledge". Written in 1936, his cantata 'Dona nobis pacem' sets powerful Biblical texts alongside those by Walt Whitman and John Bright and is both a warning that mankind was sliding disastrously towards another war and a plea for a world without strife. The oratorio 'Sancta Civitas', one of his most original choral works, strikingly deploys vocal and orchestral forces to depict the battle between good and evil from the Book of Revelation.

"... These performances under David Hill are fine, responsive to the beauty and the terror. Comparing the recordings with the same coupling made for EMI in 1992, Richard Hickox conducting, one may find no compelling reason to exchange the one for the other, though preferences do arise in favour of each. The new Dona nobis pacem has the stronger initial impact, with the timpani's sudden fortissimo striking like the first bomb over a sleeping city. The forward orchestral presence places the chorus at a slight disadvantage, and the words are somewhat easier to follow in the earlier recording. That also benefits greatly from Bryn Terfel's singing of the baritone part, warmer in humanity as well as tone than Matthew Brook's. Hill's other soloists, Christina Pier and Andrew Staples, do well (though the mind goes back to the soprano of the first performance in 1936, Renée Flynn, who with a voice of comparable lyric quality infuses an element of dramatic authority). There is perhaps not much in it, but these performances under David Hill impress as more impassioned than Hickox's and the recorded sound has a keener range and depth of perspective." - Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Choral nominee

"These performances under David Hill are fine, responsive to the beauty and the terror" -Gramophone Magazine

"David Hill directs both these works with a strong sense of their overall shape... Anyone coming to these works for the first time through these recordings is unlikely to be disappointed." -BBC Music Magazine ****

"[Vaughan Williams] would have appreciated these fine soloists, chief among them Matthew Brook, who turns anything he sings to gold. There are some beautiful moments in the Dona Nobis Pacem, with the choir and orchestra in serene form...VW devotees will find much to enjoy here." -The Observer

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Concert Hall, The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset, UK (09/26/2009-09/27/2009).



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Works Details

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Dona nobis pacem
  • Performers: Christina Pier (Baritone); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Notes: Concert Hall, The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset, UK (09/26/2009-09/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1936

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Sancta Civitas (The Holy City), oratorio
  • Performers: Andrew Staples (Tenor); Matthew Vocal] (Baritone)
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Notes: Concert Hall, The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset, UK (09/26/2009-09/27/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1923-1925