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Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Symphony No. 4; The Lark Ascending / David Coucheron, violin; Jessica Rivera, soprano; Brett Polegato, baritone. Robert Spano; Atlanta Symphony Orch. & Chorus

Album Summary

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Dona nobis pacem
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 4 in F minor
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : The lark ascending
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Robert Spano, conductor of the prestigious Atlanta Symphony since 2001, leads the orchestra and guest soloists in three highly distinctive and distinguished works by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). Written in 1936, Dona nobis pacem uses, as its centerpiece, Walt Whitman's Civil War poem Dirge for Two Veterans, a work the composer also set to music prior to WWI. Together with additional text, a portion of the Latin Mass serves as a recurring leitmotif and the source of the work's title. The trajectory of the cantata's text and music reflects the hope for a brighter future. The Lark Ascending's (1919) brief orchestral introduction leads to a lengthy solo violin cadenza. The majestic, delicate music establishes the soloist's role as the embodiment of the lark's beautiful song and noble flight. In the final measures the orchestra is silent as the violinist plays another extended cadenza, toward its soaring, hushed conclusion. Completed in 1934, the Fourth Symphony was initially deemed austere, harsh, and violent. Although somewhat inspired by the events of that time, the towering furies of which Vaughan Williams was so capable, his fire, pride and strength were all revealed, as were his imagination, lyricism and experimentation with purely musical ideas.

American Record Guide, January/February 2015
Spano's reading may be the favorite of many listeners, and it certainly is prized by me. Still, Dona is more typical of VW than is the violent Fourth Symphony, and that brings Boult into play. Boult's power in reserve, nobility, and his uncanny ability to mold phrases are ideal for Dona Nobis Pacem, and I slightly prefer him to Spano. Both are superior to the over-romantic and indulgent Robert Shaw, also from Atlanta ( July/Aug 1998). Telarc's somewhat covered recording does not help that one. The above two works are both connected with war in some rather obvious way. With the calm, sweetly lyrical Lark Ascending, the link is the fact that VW began it in the shadow of the Great War and finished it in 1919 after returning from service as an ambulance driver in that conflict. The soloist, concertmaster David Coucheron, plays with lyrical understanding of the British idiom and a beautiful. This is a slightly slow and beautiful rendition of a beautiful work. Meltzer's notes are not lengthy, but they are interesting and include some of VW's correspondence about the symphony. Texts for Dona Nobis Pacem are included. No admirer of these works should miss this.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Hall, (02/21/2014-02/22/2014).



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Works Details

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Dona nobis pacem
  • Performers: Brett Polegato (Baritone); Jessica Rivera (Voice)
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Ensemble: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
  • Notes: Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia (02/21/2014-02/22/2014)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1936

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 4 in F minor
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Notes: Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia (02/21/2014-02/22/2014)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1931-1934

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : The lark ascending
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Notes: Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia (02/21/2014-02/22/2014)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914