Ralph Vaughan Williams: Hodie; Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Hodie; Fantasia on Christmas Carols

by Hilary Davan Wetton
     
 

Somewhat surprisingly, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Christmas cantata, Hodie (1953-54), is one of his least recorded works, yet this is one of the most melodious, accessible, and emotionally compelling among his late masterpieces and deserves much greater representation on CD. Naturally paired on this 2007 Naxos release with the popular Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912),… See more details below

Overview

Somewhat surprisingly, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Christmas cantata, Hodie (1953-54), is one of his least recorded works, yet this is one of the most melodious, accessible, and emotionally compelling among his late masterpieces and deserves much greater representation on CD. Naturally paired on this 2007 Naxos release with the popular Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912), Hodie receives a splendid treatment from Hilary Davan Wetton and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in some ways reminiscent of the great 1965 recording by David Willcocks and the London Symphony Orchestra on EMI, both in its rugged orchestral strength and in the poignant tenderness of the vocal numbers. Willcocks had wonderful resources in his vocalists, Janet Baker, Richard Lewis, and John Shirley-Quirk, but Wetton has comparable talents in soprano Janice Watson, tenor Peter Hoare, and baritone Stephen Gadd, who is also the soloist in the Fantasia. The eloquence of these singers is matched by the purity of the St. Catherine School Middle Chamber Choir, and complemented by the spectacular sound of the 200-voice Guildford Choral Society, which has a magnificent dynamic range and is movingly expressive in both works. This is a remarkably deep and spacious recording, and listeners will note with pleasure the fine details in the orchestration of Hodie, especially in the sparkling percussion parts.

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Editorial Reviews

Daily Telegraph - Matthew Rye
Hilary Davan Wetton conducts vivid performances of both works, and there is characterful singing from soloists and choruses.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/20/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313043972
catalogNumber:
8570439

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Fantasia on Christmas Carols for baritone, chorus & orchestra  - Ralph Vaughan Williams  - Stephen Gadd  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Hilary Davan Wetton  -  Guilford Choral Society  - John Fox
  2. Hodie (This Day), Christmas cantata for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' chorus, chorus & orchestra  - Ralph Vaughan Williams  - Stephen Gadd  - Peter Hoare  - Andrew Lamb  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - Janice Watson  - Hilary Davan Wetton  -  Guilford Choral Society  - John Fox  -  Women of the Guildford Choral Society  -  St. Catherine's School Middle Chamber Choir

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