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Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

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Vaughan Williams/McEwen: Flos Campi & Viola Concerto

Vaughan Williams/McEwen: Flos Campi & Viola Concerto


McEwen:

Viola Concerto

Vaughan Williams:

Suite For Viola And Orchestra

Flos Campi


Lawrence Power has established himself as the most sought-after violist of his generation and his sumptuous tone and persuasive interpretations have lead to many comparisons with the pioneering British violist Lionel Tertis. Indeed, the three works on this disc were written for Tertis, who did so much to broaden the instrument’s musical repertoire and raise its status to an accepted solo instrument.

The two Vaughan Williams works display an unabashed romanticism and pastoral elegance. Flos Campi, meaning ‘Flower of the field’, was completed in 1925 and puzzled audiences with its ambiguous form and unusual orchestration.

Despite the prominent solo viola and wordless chorus, it is neither a concerto nor a choral work. The seamless viola line moves in unity with the orchestra and the chorus appears as a body of instruments, creating an effect of mesmerizing beauty and calm. The little-performed Suite for viola and small orchestra was written ten years later and contains some of the composer’s most lyrical inventions.

The lush orchestration and memorable themes in Sir John McEwen’s 1901 concerto expose this large-scale work as a neglected gem of the viola repertoire and Power’s performance is sure to set a new benchmark. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, under the expert and unfailingly sensitive guidance of Martyn Brabbins, provides expert backing throughout.

“Lawrence is the perfect advocate for both [Vaughan Williams] works, with his rich, warm, sensuous tone and flamboyant virtuosity. His playing is just as persuasive in the Viola Concerto of the Scot John McEwan...This is easy-going late-Romantic music, with several nods to Brahms..the disc is unmissable for [Power's] immaculate VW” Sunday Times, 6th November 2011

“Lawrence Power, using an Italian viola made in 1610, plays with a tone as dark as a cello, and a technique as agile as a violinist's: the ideal combination. The largely neglected Scottish composer John Blackwood McEwen wrote his ambitious viola concerto in 1901 – a lyrical, almost Brahmsian work worth discovering...decidedly a favourite of 2011.” The Observer, 13th November 2011

“John McEwen’s Viola Concerto is a warm-hearted piece played with commitment by Power, while the two works by Vaughan Williams bring out the viola’s tender melancholy.” The Telegraph, 11th November 2011 ***

“[Power's] every phrase pulsates with an inner glow. He also captures unerringly the sense of mystery and veiled threat that haunts the unforgettable Flos Campi...The McEwen Concerto is a three-movement barnstormer in the Bruch tradition, which Power plays with a majestic virtuosity that fires on all cylinders.” Classic FM Magazine, February 2012 *****

“Power makes a strong case for [the Suite], investing in it playing of great power, focus and warmth...[Flos Campi] has not been better recorded than here.” Classical Music, 19th November 2011 ****

“Power's playing is wonderfully varied, at times delicate and poetical, at others broad, passionate and generous. This is especially so in the case of the two works by Vaughan Williams...This is a must-have for all lovers of Vaughan Williams and British music in general!” Gramophone Magazine, December 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2011

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Hyperion - CDA67839

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Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony

Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony

& other works


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 2 'A London Symphony'

1920 version

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Sound sleep

Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Mary Bevan (soprano), Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Orpheus With His Lute

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Variations for Brass Band

Royal College of Music Brass Band


Vaughan Williams’s London Symphony (the composer’s favourite of the nine) makes a rare appearance in its 1920 first publication. Three lesser-known works complete a highly desirable programme, while Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra understand how this music should be played like few others. This is mandatory listening.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Hyperion - CDA68190

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Scheduled for release on 27 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Vaughan Williams - Chamber Music

Vaughan Williams - Chamber Music


Vaughan Williams:

Six Studies in English Folksong

Phantasy Quintet

Violin Sonata in A minor

String Quartet No. 2 in A minor

The Lake in the Mountains


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Vaughan Williams - Choral Works

Vaughan Williams - Choral Works

from CDA66420, CDA66655, CDA66511 & CDA66569


Vaughan Williams:

Serenade to Music

Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Amanda Roocroft (soprano), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Martyn Hill (tenor), Maldwyn Davies (tenor), Anne Dawson (soprano), Linda Kitchen (soprano), Alan Opie (baritone), Gwynne Howell (bass), Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzosoprano) & John Connell (bass)

English Chamber Orchestra

Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Thomas Allen (baritone)

English Chamber Orchestra

Flos Campi

Nobuko Imai (viola)

English Chamber Orchestra

Five Mystical Songs

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

English Chamber Orchestra

Dona Nobis Pacem

A Cantata for soprano and baritone soli, chorus and orchestra

Judith Howarth (soprano) & Thomas Allen (baritone)

Corydon Orchestra

Four Hymns

for tenor, viola and strings

John Mark Ainsley (tenor) & Matthew Souter (viola)

Corydon Orchestra

O Clap Your Hands (Psalm 47)

Lord, Thou has been our refuge

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

The Pilgrim's Progress - A Bunyan Sequence

Text and music adapted by Christopher Palmer from the 1942 radio version of The Pilgrim's Progress.

Sir John Gielgud, Richard Pasco, Ursula Howells (speakers), Aidan Oliver (treble)

The City of London Sinfonia

A Song of Thanksgiving

Sir John Gielgud (speaker), Lynne Dawson (soprano) & John Scott (organ)

The London Oratory Junior Choir

Three Choral Hymns

Magnificat

Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Duke Dobing (flute) & Roger Judd (organ)

The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains

Bryn Terfel (baritone), Alan Opie (baritone), Adrian Thompson (tenor), Jonathan Best (bass), John Mark Ainsley (tenor) & Linda Kitchen (soprano)

The Hundredth Psalm 'O be joyful in the Lord'

Toward the Unknown Region


Issued to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Vaughan Williams’s death, this collection is tantalizing: it starts with one of the best-selling discs in the the catalogue, the Serenade to Music, and includes such favourites as the Five Mystical Songs and The Hundreth Psalm. There are also two intriguing pairings: in Dona nobis pacem, RVW warns of the impending doom of WWII, in A song of thanksgiving we hear his moving response to its successful conclusion; in The shepherds of the delectable mountains we hear an early working of Bunyan’s literary masterpiece, later extensively reworked in the landmark 1942 BBC radio production of The Pilgrim’s Progress featuring Sir John Gielgud and reprised here, this time in condensed form.

“The performances are splendid, graced by such soloists as Thomas Allen (Dona nobis pacem, Five Mystical Songs) and Bryn Terfel (The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains)..The rapturous Serenade to Music has a cast of 16 singers fit to rival those of the original recording. Anne Dawson’s top note on the word “music” is spine-tingling.” Sunday Times, 1st June 2008 ****

“Performances like these don’t come along very often; each one is an absolute winner, and with rich, atmospheric recording quality the satisfaction is of a very special quality” CD Review

“Best has a fine sense of VW as a dramatic composer, bringing tremendous urgency to Dona Nobis Pacem and real passion to the Five Mystical Songs. Best's Serenade to Music is the original, not least in matching the star quality of the singers, but also in its magical atmosphere. He equally evokes VW's sensuous side, not only in Flos Campi but also in the Magnificat with its ecstatic writing for female voices.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2008 *****

“Matthew Best and the Corydon Singers have made something of a speciality of English choral music, and this four-CD box-set showcases their beautiful sound and consummate musicality. They're mostly smaller-scale works, though Dona Nobis Pacem features, and there are some less well-known items such as the Song of Thanksgiving - which in the Corydon Singers' capable hands are just as appealing as the established favourites.” David Smith, Presto Classical, June 2014

Presto Disc of the Week

14th July 2008

Building a Library

First Choice - July 2017

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Hyperion - CDS44321/4

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Vaughan Williams: Dona nobis pacem & Hough: Missa Mirabilis

Vaughan Williams: Dona nobis pacem & Hough: Missa Mirabilis


Hough:

Missa Mirabilis

first recording

Vaughan Williams:

Dona Nobis Pacem

Christopher Maltman (baritone), Sarah Fox (soprano)


Colorado Symphony Chorus & Colorado Symphony, Andrew Litton

Dona nobis pacem became a somewhat unexpected hit for Vaughan Williams. A fervently anti-war plea from the heart composed in 1936 as a pièce d’occasion for the Huddersfield Choral Society, it remains to this day one of the composer’s most widely performed works. Coupled with it here is the first recording of Stephen Hough’s Missa Mirabilis (the title derives from an unfortunate motorway incident), a work which shares with the Vaughan Williams an ability to seem very much greater than the sum of its parts. Andrew Litton directs the Colorado Symphony and all-star soloists Sarah Fox and Christopher Maltman.

“Vaughan Williams's Dona nobis pacem is a work that wastes no time cutting to the quick, and nor does this performance of it: in the opening Agnus Dei soprano Sarah Fox is immediately intense and focused, the Colorado Symphony coiled and ready to spring on the explosive tutti that rips forth from the softer textures” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 ****

“Litton presides over another first-rate display.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

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Hyperion - CDA68096

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Vaughan Williams: Dona nobis pacem & Toward the Unknown Region

Vaughan Williams: Dona nobis pacem & Toward the Unknown Region


Vaughan Williams:

Dona Nobis Pacem

A Cantata for soprano and baritone soli, chorus and orchestra

Judith Howarth (soprano & Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Four Hymns

for tenor, viola and strings

John Mark Ainsley (tenor) & Matthew Souter (viola)

Toward The Unknown Region

O Clap Your Hands (Psalm 47)

Lord, Thou has been our refuge

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)


Corydon Singers, Corydon Orchestra, Matthew Best

Building a Library

First Choice - July 2017

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Hyperion - CDA66655

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Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs & Five Tudor Portraits

Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs & Five Tudor Portraits


Vaughan Williams:

Five Mystical Songs

Five Tudor Portraits


Sarah Walker (mezzo soprano), Henry Herford (baritione)

Guildford Choral Society, The Philharmonia Orchestra, Hilary Davan Wetton

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Helios - CDH55004

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Vaughan Williams: Hugh the Drover

Vaughan Williams: Hugh the Drover

(a romantic ballet opera)


Rebecca Evans, Bonaventura Bottone, Sarah Walker, Richard Van Allan, Alan Opie, Neil Jenkins

Corydon Singers & Orchestra, The New London Children's Choir, Matthew Best

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Hyperion Dyads - CDD22049

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Vaughan Williams: Mass in G and other works

Vaughan Williams: Mass in G and other works


Bingham, J:

Mass

Vaughan Williams:

Mass in G minor

Te Deum in G

O vos omnes

Valiant for Truth

A vision of aeroplanes


“A dramatic and intense reading from the choir which inspired the work's composition.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2006

“‘A stirring Vision of aeroplanes testifies to the choir’s extraordinary virtuosity which, under Baker, is clearly going from strength to strength … Hyperion has been making recordings in Westminster Cathedral almost since the day the company first came into being, and, as ever, the sound on this latest disc is gorgeous, full of depth, and with an ideal balance between, choir, organ and atmosphere” International Record Review

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Hyperion - CDA67503

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Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music

Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music

and other works


Vaughan Williams:

Serenade to Music

Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Amanda Roocroft (soprano), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Martyn Hill (tenor), Maldwyn Davies (tenor), Anne Dawson (soprano), Linda Kitchen (soprano), Alan Opie (baritone), Gwynne Howell (bass), Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano) & John Connell (bass)

Five Mystical Songs

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Flos Campi

Nobuko Imai (viola)


“Performances like these don’t come along very often; each one is an absolute winner, and with rich, atmospheric recording quality the satisfaction is of a very special quality” CD Review

“Strongly recommended!” Fanfare

“Profoundly moving” Gramophone Magazine

“Sometimes heard as a full choral work, the Serenade to Music takes on its greatest beauty in its original version for sixteen soloists. Matthew Best's soloists are certainly up to the task here, with some big names in the ranks and a sound that beautifully sits between choral and soloistic singing styles. Thomas Allen is a moving and believable soloist in the Five Mystical Songs; after just a few bars of the first number, Easter, I was convinced.” David Smith, Presto Classical, June 2014

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Hyperion 30th Anniversary - CDA30025

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