The Best of Vaughan Williams

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Devotees of the composer might argue that a collection called The Best of Ralph Vaughan Williams ought to be at least a 30-disc set containing all his symphonies, operas, and oratorios, plus a large selection of his songs, concertos, and other orchestral works. But since a large part of the purpose of a best-of collection is to introduce listeners unfamiliar with the composer to sample his work, a single-disc selection is probably more effective. For this purpose, the A&R department at Naxos has assembled 10 tracks for this best-of the great English modernist. Some of the selections were inevitable: how could the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," the "Fantasias ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Devotees of the composer might argue that a collection called The Best of Ralph Vaughan Williams ought to be at least a 30-disc set containing all his symphonies, operas, and oratorios, plus a large selection of his songs, concertos, and other orchestral works. But since a large part of the purpose of a best-of collection is to introduce listeners unfamiliar with the composer to sample his work, a single-disc selection is probably more effective. For this purpose, the A&R department at Naxos has assembled 10 tracks for this best-of the great English modernist. Some of the selections were inevitable: how could the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," the "Fantasias on Greensleeves," and, of course, "The Lark Ascending" not be included? Others are more unlikely: is the "Prelude" to the film 49th Parallel really one of Vaughan Williams' best pieces? But on the whole, this collection lives up to its name and will serve to introduce listeners to the composer. The performances themselves are a mixed lot. Some, like baritone Roderick Williams' account of "Linden Lea" and tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson's of "Silent Noon," are among the finest ever recorded, while others, including most of the orchestral recordings, are good enough as far as they go but they cannot compare with the great recordings of these works by Boult and Barbirolli. Still, the sound here is clear and clean, the selection is fair and wide, and the result is an engaging introduction to one of the twentieth century's best-loved composers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/2008
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 730099683524
  • Catalog Number: 8556835
  • Sales rank: 114,194

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 49th Parallel, film score (The Invaders): Prelude - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Andrew Penny (2:17)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byAndrew Penny
    Performed byAndrew Penny, RTÉ Concert Orchestra
  2. 2 Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, for 2 string orchestras - Ralph Vaughan Williams & James Judd (15:13)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byJames Judd
    Performed byJames Judd, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  3. 3 Linden Lea, song for voice & orchestra ("In Linden Lea;" "A Dorset Song") - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Roderick Williams (2:40)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Performed byRoderick Williams
  4. 4 Symphony No. 2 in G major ("A London Symphony"): 1. Lento - Allegro risoluto - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Kees Bakels (8:08)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byKees Bakels
    Performed byKees Bakels, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  5. 5 The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite, for orchestra from the incidental music: Overture - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Kees Bakels (9:33)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byKees Bakels
    Performed byKees Bakels, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  6. 6 Silent Noon ("Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass"), song for voice & piano (The House of Life No. 2) - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Anthony Rolfe Johnson (4:39)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Performed byAnthony Rolfe Johnson
  7. 7 Variants (5) of 'Dives and Lazarus' for string orchestra & harp (or harps) - Ralph Vaughan Williams & David Lloyd-Jones (6:11)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byDavid Lloyd-Jones
    Performed byDavid Lloyd-Jones, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  8. 8 Symphony No. 1 for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra ("A Sea Symphony"): 2. On the Beach at Night, alone - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Bournemouth Symphony Chorus (10:27)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byPaul Daniel
    Performed byBournemouth Symphony Chorus, Paul Daniel, Christopher Maltman, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  9. 9 Fantasia on Greensleeves, for harp, flute & strings (arranged by R. Greaves; from the opera "Sir John In Love") - Ralph Vaughan Williams & James Judd (4:37)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byJames Judd
    Performed byJames Judd, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  10. 10 The Lark Ascending, romance for violin & orchestra - Ralph Vaughan Williams & English Northern Philharmonia (15:07)
    Composed byRalph Vaughan Williams
    Conducted byDavid Lloyd-Jones
    Performed byEnglish Northern Philharmonia, David Lloyd-Jones
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