Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5; Toward the Unknown Region; Serenade to Music; The Wasps Overture

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Back again, it's John Barbirolli's classic 1962 recording of Vaughan Williams' "Fifth" Symphony. This time, however, it's not alone as it was on LPs in the sixties and seventies or coupled with Barbirolli's equally ecstatic 1965 recording of Arnold Bax's Tintagel as it was on its initial CD release in the eighties and nineties, but rather joined by a goodly portion of the English modernist master's shorter orchestral works recorded by Malcolm Sargent in 1957. Since the mastering is exactly the same as the previous digital reissue, the sound and performance are exactly the same, too, meaning that the sound is glowing and the performance is rapturous. Barbirolli's love for ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Back again, it's John Barbirolli's classic 1962 recording of Vaughan Williams' "Fifth" Symphony. This time, however, it's not alone as it was on LPs in the sixties and seventies or coupled with Barbirolli's equally ecstatic 1965 recording of Arnold Bax's Tintagel as it was on its initial CD release in the eighties and nineties, but rather joined by a goodly portion of the English modernist master's shorter orchestral works recorded by Malcolm Sargent in 1957. Since the mastering is exactly the same as the previous digital reissue, the sound and performance are exactly the same, too, meaning that the sound is glowing and the performance is rapturous. Barbirolli's love for the music is obvious, his understanding of the score is complete, and his ability to draw glorious playing from the Philharmonia is nonpareil. For him, the London strings are sweeter, the woodwinds warmer, the brass mellower, and their blend almost supernaturally radiant. With flowing tempos and luminous textures, Barbirolli creates an exquisite reading of the "Fifth" that every enthusiast of English orchestral music ought to hear. The question is what context to hear it in. While more Vaughan Williams is always better, Sargent's Vaughan Williams is only so-so. His "Wasps Overture" has plenty of sting and his "Serenade to Music" has sufficient lyricism, but he never quite makes the music take wing and sing. The London Symphony Orchestra plays with professional polish, but seems uninspired by either the man on the podium or the music on the stands. On the other hand, Barbirolli's passionate "Tintagel" on the earlier CD release is one of the most compelling of all Bax recordings, and though Bax is indubitably no Vaughan Williams, Sargent is undeniably no Barbirolli, and the slightly cramped 1957 sound is no match for the lush 1965 sound. In the final analysis, then, the earlier reissue remains the CD release to beat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/22/2008
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • EAN: 5099921615122
  • Catalog Number: 16151
  • Sales rank: 378,067

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Wasps, incidental music for tenor, baritone, male chorus & orchestra: Overture - Ralph Vaughan Williams & London Symphony Orchestra (8:58)
  2. 2 Serenade to Music ("How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!") for 16 soloists (or soloists & chorus) & orchestra - William Shakespeare & Ralph Vaughan Williams (13:33)
  3. 3 Fantasia on Greensleeves, for harp, flute & strings (arranged by R. Greaves; from the opera "Sir John In Love") - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Ralph Greaves (5:06)
  4. 4 Toward the Unknown Region, for chorus & orchestra - Ralph Vaughan Williams & Peter Gellhorn (12:17)
  5. 5–8 Symphony No. 5 in D major - Ralph Vaughan Williams & John Barbirolli (38:28)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Barbirolli Primary Artist
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