Author Topic: Vaughan Williams's Veranda  (Read 326150 times)

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Offline Oates

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3320 on: May 17, 2018, 05:06:49 AM »
Oh, I didn't read this before posting my message - there was also a bizarre CD containing Boult's early recording with a photo of members of the expedition on the front cover (not the classic one of them all looking dejected at the Pole). The CD is bizarre as it also featured Shackleton making a remarkably uninteresting speech in the upper class English accent also shared by Vaughan Williams. Bax, like Shostakovich had a rather high-pitched, squeaky voice. The CD also featured a 'sing-a-long' song about the Scott expedition. I decided not to join in. Just in case you missed it the song features at the beginning and end of the CD!

The singalong song sounds seriously weird given the inherent tragedy of the event - maybe it stems from the days (pre-Roland Huntford) when this was seen as spiritually uplifting and morale boosting patriotic affair. Or maybe the song was a pre-Eurovision ode to sneaky Norskis and their underhand ways!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3321 on: May 17, 2018, 05:36:24 AM »
I must admit I haven't heard the Barbirolli recording. How does that compare to the Boult (for example)? I seem to remember it's part of a 2 cd set. Another recording I have considered buying is the Vernon Handley . I like his VW cycle,generally.
Barbirolli recording of what? Not sure if you mean Sinfonia Antartica, Symphony 6 or the Laughing Policeman Song.

I'll assume the former as it is or was part of a fine EMI two CD set.

Barbirolli conducted the premiere. It's a fine atmospheric version which I wouldn't be without. Having said that, Barbirolli's somewhat warmer way with VW's music doesn't, in my opinion, suit the bleak, icy wilderness of the South Polar plateau. I think that Boult's more objective approach suits Sinfonia Antartica wonderfully (Decca version).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3322 on: May 17, 2018, 05:39:48 AM »
The singalong song sounds seriously weird given the inherent tragedy of the event - maybe it stems from the days (pre-Roland Huntford) when this was seen as spiritually uplifting and morale boosting patriotic affair. Or maybe the song was a pre-Eurovision ode to sneaky Norskis and their underhand ways!

Well, here's a link to a review of that bizarre CD, written by me actually  0:)

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Oct11/antartica_CD41024.htm

I think the cover photo could be of Shackleton and Wilson rather than Scott but he could be there too - who knows?

PS It is Scott as well - I just read the review!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 05:44:58 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3323 on: May 17, 2018, 06:01:18 AM »
Well, here's a link to a review of that bizarre CD, written by me actually  0:)

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Oct11/antartica_CD41024.htm

I think the cover photo could be of Shackleton and Wilson rather than Scott but he could be there too - who knows?

PS It is Scott as well - I just read the review!

Fine review, many thanks for the link.

The photo is of (l to r) Shackleton, Scott and Wilson.

The excerpts conducted by Ernest Irving are also available on a Dutton disc 'from Vaughan Williams' attic'.

The Boult 1953 recording was the first I ever heard, I bought the later stereo Boult recording. I don't like the spoken superscripts, Previn originally had them as well (Ralph Richardson). RVW never intended them to be spoken - movements 3 & 4 are to be played without a break - though earlier postings suggest he authorised (or acquiesced) in early performances with them.

Edit: The album is available on Spotify. The song has a whiff of D'Oyly Carte about it. I think Shackleton's items are fairly (!) interesting but his delivery is boring, possibly he wasn't used to making recordings. His accent wasn't as bad as I expected from your comments.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 06:41:17 AM by Biffo »

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3324 on: May 17, 2018, 07:23:46 AM »
Barbirolli recording of what? Not sure if you mean Sinfonia Antartica, Symphony 6 or the Laughing Policeman Song.

I'll assume the former as it is or was part of a fine EMI two CD set.

Barbirolli conducted the premiere. It's a fine atmospheric version which I wouldn't be without. Having said that, Barbirolli's somewhat warmer way with VW's music doesn't, in my opinion, suit the bleak, icy wilderness of the South Polar plateau. I think that Boult's more objective approach suits Sinfonia Antartica wonderfully (Decca version).
Sorry,vandermolen. That was a sloppy post for me! I was referring to Barbirolli's recording of the Sinfonia Antarctica. I would like to hear his recording of the Laughing Policeman,though! ;D Your description does convey the recording I might expect from him.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3325 on: May 17, 2018, 08:52:44 AM »
Fine review, many thanks for the link.

The photo is of (l to r) Shackleton, Scott and Wilson.

The excerpts conducted by Ernest Irving are also available on a Dutton disc 'from Vaughan Williams' attic'.

The Boult 1953 recording was the first I ever heard, I bought the later stereo Boult recording. I don't like the spoken superscripts, Previn originally had them as well (Ralph Richardson). RVW never intended them to be spoken - movements 3 & 4 are to be played without a break - though earlier postings suggest he authorised (or acquiesced) in early performances with them.

Edit: The album is available on Spotify. The song has a whiff of D'Oyly Carte about it. I think Shackleton's items are fairly (!) interesting but his delivery is boring, possibly he wasn't used to making recordings. His accent wasn't as bad as I expected from your comments.
Thanks - glad you liked the review. Pity we have no recording of Scott. Ralph Richardson had a sore throat on the day of the recording. It makes you want to cough-along to the music.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3326 on: May 18, 2018, 05:39:50 AM »
I must admit I haven't felt like that about his narration. I did start thinking his voice might be a bit gruff after you mentioned that in an earlier post. If I have a packet of Fisherman's Friends open on the table,the next time I listen,I'll know who to blame! ;D
Having said that,I didn't know he actually did have a sore throat! Frankly,I'm quite happy with his narration. I prefer Gielgud,though;and the mono sound seems to add a feeling of foreboding;although,that may be just my imagination. Like those old black and white films that you know wouldn't have been quite so good in colour! I suppose there will be another Sinfonia Antartica eventually. Please don't let it be Simon Callow!!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3327 on: May 18, 2018, 06:11:54 AM »
I must admit I haven't felt like that about his narration. I did start thinking his voice might be a bit gruff after you mentioned that in an earlier post. If I have a packet of Fisherman's Friends open on the table,the next time I listen,I'll know who to blame! ;D
Having said that,I didn't know he actually did have a sore throat! Frankly,I'm quite happy with his narration. I prefer Gielgud,though;and the mono sound seems to add a feeling of foreboding;although,that may be just my imagination. Like those old black and white films that you know wouldn't have been quite so good in colour! I suppose there will be another Sinfonia Antartica eventually. Please don't let it be Simon Callow!!

LOL (Fisherman's Friend comment). No, please not Simon Callow - although I'm sure that even he will be better than Mrs Thatcher narrating the Lincoln Portrait.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3328 on: May 18, 2018, 06:27:38 AM »
I am not a fan of works that have a narration, even a minimal one like the SA. I have never made it to the end of the Elder/Halle recording of The  Wasps with its interminable narration. Also, I don't like An Oxford Elegy though it is years since I heard it and only have it on LP. I know a lot of people think very highly of Bliss' Morning Heroes but again the narration kills it for me.

Oddly (perversely?) I don't mind spoken dialogue in operas as long as there isn't too much of it and, preferably, it is in a foreign language.

To be even more inconsistent (or perverse) I didn't mind Simon Callow in the recent recording of Martinu's Epic of Gilgamesh.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3329 on: May 18, 2018, 06:42:27 AM »
I am not a fan of works that have a narration, even a minimal one like the SA. I have never made it to the end of the Elder/Halle recording of The  Wasps with its interminable narration. Also, I don't like An Oxford Elegy though it is years since I heard it and only have it on LP. I know a lot of people think very highly of Bliss' Morning Heroes but again the narration kills it for me.

Oddly (perversely?) I don't mind spoken dialogue in operas as long as there isn't too much of it and, preferably, it is in a foreign language.

To be even more inconsistent (or perverse) I didn't mind Simon Callow in the recent recording of Martinu's Epic of Gilgamesh.
Actually, you are right about Simon Callow's Martinu narration - it was much better than all his mock-Dickensian over-acting.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3330 on: May 18, 2018, 06:49:51 AM »
Approval, always.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3331 on: May 21, 2018, 12:27:07 AM »
I posted this in the listening thread but think it worth recommending here both for the beautiful recording and performance (slower than usual) of On Wenlock Edge and for the inclusion of the lovely early Piano Quintet from 1903-5:

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3332 on: May 21, 2018, 12:06:51 PM »
I posted this in the listening thread but think it worth recommending here both for the beautiful recording and performance (slower than usual) of On Wenlock Edge and for the inclusion of the lovely early Piano Quintet from 1903-5:



I don’t know that recording, Jeffrey, but as it contains two of my current favorite RVW works I ought to check it out! The Piano Quintet, especially, is just gorgeous. I have a hard time imagining the recent Naxos recording being topped, though...
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3333 on: May 21, 2018, 02:36:14 PM »
A question regarding Sinfonia antartica: Do you prefer the version with or without narration? Or does it matter? Does the narration add to the experience or is it distracting to you?

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM</a>
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3334 on: May 21, 2018, 02:52:40 PM »
A question regarding Sinfonia antartica: Do you prefer the version with or without narration? Or does it matter? Does the narration add to the experience or is it distracting to you?

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM</a>

I’m not a fan of the narration myself, so I can definitely do without.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3335 on: May 21, 2018, 08:38:45 PM »
I don’t know that recording, Jeffrey, but as it contains two of my current favorite RVW works I ought to check it out! The Piano Quintet, especially, is just gorgeous. I have a hard time imagining the recent Naxos recording being topped, though...
I think you'd enjoy this performance Kyle. The performances are quite wonderful IMHO.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3336 on: May 21, 2018, 08:41:43 PM »
A question regarding Sinfonia antartica: Do you prefer the version with or without narration? Or does it matter? Does the narration add to the experience or is it distracting to you?

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM</a>

I'm very interested in the Captain Scott disaster story and the history of polar exploration generally so I'm happy to have the narration but enjoy it just as much without. Gielgud/Boult is my favourite version with or without narration. I like Boult's later EMI recording. Must listen to Haitink which I know is rated highly by some.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3337 on: May 22, 2018, 01:46:41 AM »
A question regarding Sinfonia antartica: Do you prefer the version with or without narration? Or does it matter? Does the narration add to the experience or is it distracting to you?

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3nbEmvKUKbM</a>

I defer to Jeffrey, whose knowledge of the score is likely better than my own;  but my sense (subject to verification) is that the texts are superscriptions, rather than narration, per se.  So, while I love the texts for what they are, and appreciate their relevance to the music, I find recorded insertions of the text (nodding towards the Sarge here) hectoring/lecturing  8)
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3338 on: May 22, 2018, 04:16:13 AM »
I defer to Jeffrey, whose knowledge of the score is likely better than my own;  but my sense (subject to verification) is that the texts are superscriptions, rather than narration, per se.  So, while I love the texts for what they are, and appreciate their relevance to the music, I find recorded insertions of the text (nodding towards the Sarge here) hectoring/lecturing  8)

The texts are superscriptions. As I said earlier, movements 3 & 4 are to be played without a break, something that can't happen if they are interrupted by a narrator/speaker. In the score (p 99), the last bar of Movement 3 has the instruction ' Segue No 4' .

The score can be found as a link from this Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinfonia_antartica#External_links. The article also has a brief discussion of the superscriptions.

Barbirolli gave the first performance and also made the first recording - he has no narrator. I find the spoken superscriptions intrusive and don't think they wear well, however distinguished the speaker.

Meanwhile, jumping from another thread, I have been listening to 'On Wenlock Edge' from Ian Bostridge with Bernard Haitink and the LPO - I had forgotten I had this version. It is beautifully played but I still prefer the chamber version - for me, it is more direct, the full orchestra softens the impact.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3339 on: May 22, 2018, 04:23:41 AM »
The texts are superscriptions. As I said earlier, movements 3 & 4 are to be played without a break, something that can't happen if they are interrupted by a narrator/speaker. In the score (p 99), the last bar of Movement 3 has the instruction ' Segue No 4' .

The score can be found as a link from this Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinfonia_antartica#External_links. The article also has a brief discussion of the superscriptions.

Barbirolli gave the first performance and also made the first recording - he has no narrator. I find the spoken superscriptions intrusive and don't think they wear well, however distinguished the speaker.

Meanwhile, jumping from another thread, I have been listening to 'On Wenlock Edge' from Ian Bostridge with Bernard Haitink and the LPO - I had forgotten I had this version. It is beautifully played but I still prefer the chamber version - for me, it is more direct, the full orchestra softens the impact.

Thanks.

(And, I wonder if I have heard the chamber version of On W. Edge . . . what a great companion that would make to the Schoenberg Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte!)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot