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

> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act III Scene 1: Vanity Fair: Buy! What will ye buy! (Lord Lechery, Pilgrim, Demas, Judas Iscariot, Simon Magus, Worldly Glory, Madam Bubble, Madam Wanton, Chorus)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act III Scene 1: I buy the truth! (Pilgrim, Pontius Pilate, Usher, Lord Hate-Good, Envy, Superstition, Pickthank, Malice, Lord Lechery, Chorus)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act III Scene 2: The Pilgrim in Prison (Pilgrim)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act IV Scene 1: The Pilgrim meets Mister By-Ends (Boy, Pilgrim, Mister By-Ends, Madam By-Ends)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Entr'acte —
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act IV Scene 2: The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains: Who so dwelleth … (First Shepherd, Third Shepherd, Second Shepherd, Pilgrim)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act IV Scene 2: The Lord is my Shepherd (Voice of a Bird, Pilgrim, The 3 Shepherds, Messenger)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Act IV Scene 3: The Pilgrim reaches the End of his Journey (Voices from Heaven)
> The Pilgrim's Progress - Epilogue (Bunyan)

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: Adrian Thompson (Tenor); Anne-Marie Owens (Mezzo Soprano); Donaldson Bell (Baritone); Richard Coxon (Tenor); Gidon Saks (Bass Baritone); Robert Hayward (Bass); Christopher Keyte (Bass Baritone); Peter Coleman-Wright (Bass); Susan Gritton (Soprano); Pamela Stephen (Mezzo Soprano); Francis Egerton (Tenor); Jonathan Fisher (Baritone); Rebecca Evans (Soprano); Gerald Finley; Mark Padmore; 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