Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphonyby Robert Spano
Vaughan Williams's "Sea" Symphony is less a symphony than a grand oratorio for chorus, soloists, and orchestra. A four-movement setting of poems by Walt Whitman, it's an opulent, sumptuous work of near-operatic reach -- qualities that are marvelously captured on this fine recording by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus. Spano's high-energy conducting style seems ideal for such a large-scale, vivid score, and he navigates Williams's long-breathed phrases with the assurance of a weathered captain. He may not focus on the music's warmth and richness, but there is no lack of excitement to his performance; indeed, the musicians seem to embrace this music with just the right degree of buoyant enthusiasm. Listen to the clangorous brass fanfare at the outset, for instance, and the choral declamation, "Behold! The Sea!," which flows into a lush D Major evocation of the open ocean. Still, the second movement, titled "On the Beach at Night, Alone," achieves a wonderfully hushed tranquility. The chorus remains the first-class ensemble it was under its legendary former director, Robert Shaw, singing with estimable balance and diction, and the orchestra is in top shape, too, playing admirably for its new director. (This is Spano's second recording with Atlanta since taking over the podium there in 2001.) Soprano Christine Goerke is a superb soloist and is well matched by Brett Polegato, the baritone. Telarc's recording is spacious and sonorous, with plenty of depth to the sound, making for one ocean voyage that's certain not to leave you high and dry.
- Release Date:
- Symphony No. 1 for soprano, baritone, chorus, & orchestra ("A Sea Symphony")
Performance CreditsRobert Spano Primary Artist
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