Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss; The England of Elizabeth; Bucolic Suite; In the Fen Country; Fantasia on S

Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss; The England of Elizabeth; Bucolic Suite; In the Fen Country; Fantasia on S

by Martin RummelMartin Rummel


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The majority of recordings of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams are English or American, and as the booklet to this Capriccio release observes, he has never really entered the Central European repertory. That makes the offering here by the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz under Karl-Heinz Steffens doubly notable. First, the album's strong performance on British sales charts, among buyers who have plenty of domestic product to choose from, might be taken as a seal of approval. Second, and more important, Steffens delves into some works that aren't exactly part of the common run even in Britain, and that must have been all but unknown to his German players. The idiomatic results are thus impressive, and there are a few real finds. Sample the Andante slow movement of the "Bucolic Suite," a compact piece of lyricism that shows the influence of Dvorák on the young composer (the work dates from 1900) yet has the flavor of the composer's pastoral idiom to come. "In the Fen Country," from four years later, expands on the ideas of the earlier work. Two works of the 1920s open the program, the overture to the opera "The Poisoned Kiss" and a fine "Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes" for solo and orchestra, played with just the right lilt by solo cellist Martin Rummel. Only the final "Three Portraits from The England of Elizabeth," taken from the score of a 1955 film by that name, falls short with its hackneyed musical depictions of Sir Francis Drake ("Explorer"), Shakespeare ("Poet"), and Elizabeth herself ("Queen"). This is an offbeat release that might become part of any serious Vaughan Williams library.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/04/2017
Label: Capriccio
UPC: 0845221053141
catalogNumber: 5314
Rank: 183233


  1. Portraits (3) from The England of Elizabeth, suite for orchestra (arranged by Mathieson)
  2. In the Fen Country, symphonic impression for orchestra
  3. Bucolic Suite, for orchestra
  4. Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes, for cello & orchestra ("Sussex Rhapsody")
  5. The Poisoned Kiss, overture

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