Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 9 in E minor
This page lists all recordings of Symphony No. 9 in E minor, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) on CD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.
Vaughan Williams’ ninth and final symphony was first performed in 1958, at a time when British music was reaching a new phase in its evolution.
This enigmatic symphony remains one of the final monuments of a particular age of composition, and is scored for large orchestra, including three saxophones and a flügel horn.
Originally the work had a programme attached to it, following Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles; notes on the sketches referred to “Wessex Prelude” and “Salisbury”, and two in the second movement are “Stonehenge” and “Tess”. This movement has since been shown to be a direct depiction of Tess’ arrest and execution; and the symphony as a whole ends ambiguously, with the final chords suggesting to some a bleak and cheerless ending and to others that “the light we sought is shining still”.
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