Notes & Reviews:
Vaughan Williams valued the opinions of close friends on his new works, even if he did not always follow the advice given. In the early years, it was to his first wife Adeline as well as to fellow composers George Butterworth and Gustav Holst that he would turn. Later, the circle of advisers widened, to include Sir Arthur Bliss, Gerald Finzi and Herbert Howells, the conductors Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Malcolm Sargent. These lucky few were invited to ‘play-throughs’ of Vaughan Williams’ new works. Such first hearings were arranged for piano, or two pianos. Vaughan Williams sketches for the Sixth Symphony and Michael Mullinar’s two-piano arrangement with various interpolations by the composer can be found in the British Library. Alan Rowlands edited the two-piano arrangement for this recording making use of the final orchestral published version to fi ll in any gaps. Joined here by Adrian Sims, Rowlands helps us hear for the first time what a ‘play-through’ actually sounded like. The program is rounded out with a selection of Ireland transcriptions.