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Vaughan Williams: The Pilgrim's Progress / Hickox, et al

Album Summary

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : The Pilgrim's Progress
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This premiere digital studio recording of Vaughan Williams's powerful and moving epic follows a highly successful performance at the Barbican Hall, London, in November, 1997.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
John Noble was a fine Pilgrim on the old Boult recording, but Gerald Finley brings not only a voice that's as good and well suited but also a dramatic quality that is more colourful and intense. But Boult's cast is very strong, with several of the short parts, such as the Herald (Terence Sharpe) better sung than as here (Robert Hayward).

In the Valley of Humiliation the voice of Apollyon comes as an amplified sound from off-stage, but on record the trick is to catch an overpowering terror, and this they managed better on EMI, partly by virtue of having Robert Lloyd to strike it, and also by the producer's decision to bring it closer. Nor, in the comparison, is there any sense of a confrontation of 'bright young feller' and 'grand old fuddyduddy'.

Boult doesn't sound like an old man, any more than Hickox sounds like a youngster.

Hickox has a big canvas for the recorded sound, and achieves a clearer texture from EMI.

The newer version also has Gerald Finley, and is a fine performance anyway.


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Works Details

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : The Pilgrim's Progress
  • Performers: Donaldson Bell (Baritone); Peter Coleman-Wright (Bass); Richard Coxon (Tenor); Francis Egerton (Tenor); Rebecca Evans (Soprano); Gerald Finley; Jonathan Fisher (Baritone); Susan Gritton (Soprano); Robert Hayward (Bass); Christopher Keyte (Bass Baritone); Anne-Marie Owens (Mezzo Soprano); Mark Padmore; Gidon Saks (Bass Baritone); Pamela Stephen (Mezzo Soprano); Adrian Thompson (Tenor); Jeremy White (Bass); Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
  • Notes: The Colosseum, Watford, London, England (11/05/1997-11/09/1997)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1949