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Vaughan Williams conducts Vaughan Williams

Album Summary

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 4 in F minor
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 5 in D major
Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
No performance on record of Vaughan Williams's Fourth Symphony has ever quite matched this very first one, recorded under the composer's baton in October 1937. As Michael Kennedy says in his note for this reissue, it's 'taken at a daredevil pace', and more importantly has a bite and energy beyond any rival. If early listeners to this violent work were shocked by the composer's new boldness, here his conducting demonstrates the passionate emotion behind the piece. The remastered sound is so vivid and immediate, so full of presence, that in places one almost has the illusion of stereo before its time.

Barbirolli's premiere recording of the Fifth Symphony, made in February 1944 eight months after the first performance, is hardly less remarkable. This, too, has never been matched since for the stirring passion of the great climaxes in the first and third movements, with Barbirolli in each carefully grading the intensity between exposition and recapitulation. It's also a revelation to find him taking the triple-time of the Passacaglia finale much faster than latterday rivals, relating it more closely than usual to the great example of the finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, making it no pastoral amble but a searing argument.

Here again hiss has been virtually eliminated, but that has left the high violins sounding rather papery. Even so, there's no lack of weight in the big climaxes, with brass and wind atmospherically caught. An outstanding issue for all lovers of this composer's music, not just those who specialise in historic recordings.



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Works Details

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 4 in F minor
  • Conductor: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Ensemble: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 29 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1931-1934

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Symphony no 5 in D major
  • Conductor: John Barbirolli
  • Running Time: 36 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1938-1943