Author Topic: Vaughan Williams's Veranda  (Read 242757 times)

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Harry

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2007, 11:29:00 AM »
Probably the next Vaughan Williams 'blindspot' I need to attend to is the Mass in G Minor.

Well the Mass will never pose a problem to me! ;D

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2007, 12:04:15 AM »
Which is the best RVW? ALL OF IT!  ;D  Well I am partial to the 8th, which is my favorite piece of music of all time.

As far as his obscure music is concerned, The Romance for Harmonica, Strings and Piano is excellent, I love his String Partitia, His Piano Concerto, his Oboe Concerto, His Tuba Concerto, all excellent!

There is something about his modal use, his distinct sense of rhythms through the symphonies, his undying passion for folk music, and his sense of classicism that makes his music really stick out to me. One of my favorite quotes from Vaughan Williams Studies by Alain Frogley is "the counterbalancing belief in things of the spirit," which is one of the themes presumed to be found in all Vaughan Williams' symphonies. This I believed is really capped in the 8th symphony. Currently I am reading Vaughan Williams and the Vision of Albion by Wilfrid Mellers.

Well, having lived now with RVW's music since I was about 13, 14 years old -- I can say that your, always, final verdict comes rather close to mine. I happen to have read Wilfred Meller's study on RVW and think his is one of the more original approaches to the music, the man and his times. (Can't think of a broader statement :-).

As to the symphonies, my special preference always switched between nos. 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9, also depending on the performance, of course. But again: it used to be no. 8 for a long time, especially for the sake of its first movement.

Lesser known pieces that are of my liking include all you mention, especially the Partita, but also the Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus (a sort of later, much more subdued, Tallis Fantasia revisited), the Poisoned Kiss overture, the Oxford Elegy, and even the Variations for Brass Band - to mention at random a few other pieces.

As to the late (1957 I think) Variations for Brass Band: I rather dislike the orchestration Gordon Jacob made of it, but am fond of it in it's orignal, more powerful version. I often read people hold it in a low esteem - but I cannot be the only one to think otherwise?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 12:06:09 AM by Christo »
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

karlhenning

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2007, 04:15:37 AM »
Lesser known pieces that are of my liking include all you mention, especially the Partita, but also the Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus (a sort of later, much more subdued, Tallis Fantasia revisited), the Poisoned Kiss overture, the Oxford Elegy, and even the Variations for Brass Band - to mention at random a few other pieces.

As to the late (1957 I think) Variations for Brass Band: I rather dislike the orchestration Gordon Jacob made of it, but am fond of it in it's orignal, more powerful version. I often read people hold it in a low esteem - but I cannot be the only one to think otherwise?

Thanks for reminding me of this 'un!  It is on an Eastman Wind Ensemble disc which (actually) I picked up for both the Hindemith Konzertmusik for winds (Opus 41) and the Husa Music for Prague 1968.

Curiously, this credits the scoring to E.W.E. director Don Hunsberger . . . wonder where it needed to vary from the Ur-text . . . ?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2007, 04:18:27 AM »
"Epithalamion" is my favourite lesser-known work by Vaughan Williams.  A late work of great beauty:

The CD below is an interesting and unusual coupling

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Oxford-Elegy-Epithalamion/dp/B0000057ZP/ref=sr_1_2/026-5773581-7374844?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176984931&sr=1-2

There is an even finer EMI version (with "Riders to the Sea") but it seems to be out of print and very expensive on Amazon UK, hence the link to this one.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2007, 04:48:44 AM »
Thanks for reminding me of this 'un!  It is on an Eastman Wind Ensemble disc which (actually) I picked up for both the Hindemith Konzertmusik for winds (Opus 41) and the Husa Music for Prague 1968.
Curiously, this credits the scoring to E.W.E. director Don Hunsberger . . . wonder where it needed to vary from the Ur-text . . . ?

The question is easily solved, I would say. I have the record you mention in my player; my edition starting with the Toccata Marziale from 1924 that is the origin of a central musical idea from the first movement of the Sixth Symphony btw.

The booklet calls the RVW piece the "Variations for Wind Band" - Winds instead of just a Brass Band. Wasn't it especially brass bands the English got so well accustumed with thanks to a.o. their Mining Districts and the Salvation Army?

Anyhow, the E.W.E. director Donald Hunsberger is conducting a couple of wind instruments too, in his version.
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

karlhenning

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2007, 04:55:29 AM »
Of course!  More coffee is needed, here in New England!  ;)

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2007, 05:20:06 AM »
Of course!  More coffee is needed, here in New England!  ;)

What? Don't you grow coffee there, in your colonies? But what do you grow there, then, in your plantations :-) ?
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

karlhenning

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2007, 05:32:26 AM »
All the coffee we grow in Massachusetts is for export  ;D

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2007, 06:16:30 AM »
BTW: one of my other favorites being - the Mass. I hope you will be trying it again. And talking about personal RVW favorites: I would also add the Three Portraits from The England of Elisabeth, especially as conducted by Andre Previn, and also Flos Campi (there are many fine versions of it available).

(But then: there's very little RVW that I'm not fond of. The only pieces that come to mind are the Sea Symphony, that I like but not love, and some of the songs. (Also, I don't think that much of his film music is thát special, even if I adore the England of Elisabeth music.)
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Catison

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2007, 06:17:44 AM »
The brass band I play in is going to perform his Henry the Fifth Overture, which was originally written for brass band.  It is an awesome piece; I just wish we could play it well enough to do it justice.

Brass bands are huge in Britain, mainly centered around mining and farming communities as bands of the 'working' class.  The traditional literature is marches and other short pieces, but in the middle of the century, composers started writing symphonic literature for them.  Now there is a huge repertoire, mainly from British composers, of many great symphonic pieces.  Brass bands have a very strict orchestration. They only use cornets, alto horns, and flugal horns.  No trumpets or french horns allowed.  Additionally, there are baritones, euphonium, trombones, Eb tuba (my instrument), and BBb tuba.  The requirement is that all the instruments have a conical bore, which leads to a very specific sound.  For me its one of the best sounds in the world ;).
-Brett

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2007, 06:24:27 AM »
The brass band I play in is going to perform his Henry the Fifth Overture, which was originally written for brass band.  It is an awesome piece; I just wish we could play it well enough to do it justice.

Interesting piece! It used to be left out of all the 'official' RVW lists of compositions, and I only heard it accidentally, 25 years ago, in some (Swedish?) recording. But I still remember I couldn't find a trace about it in some of the then available books on RVW.

There must be one or two recordings by now. Michael Kennedy lists it as an 'Overture for brass band' in his Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams as having received its first performance only in 1979, by the University of Miami Wind Ensemble under Frederick Fennell, and having been published only as late as 1981. One of those ''early'' performances must have been the one I heard in those days.
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Catison

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #51 on: April 19, 2007, 06:31:35 AM »
Interesting piece! It used to be left out of all the 'official' RVW lists of compositions, and I only heard it accidentally, 25 years ago, in some (Swedish?) recording. But I still remember I couldn't find a trace about it in some of the then available books on RVW.

There must be one or two recordings by now. Michael Kennedy lists it as an 'Overture for brass band' in his Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams as having received its first performance only in 1979, by the University of Miami Wind Ensemble under Frederick Fennell, and having been published only as late as 1981. One of those ''early'' performances must have been the one I heard in those days.

If you want  a good recording, this classic from Grimthorpe is the best way to go.

-Brett

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #52 on: April 20, 2007, 11:41:50 PM »
BTW: one of my other favorites being - the Mass. I hope you will be trying it again. And talking about personal RVW favorites: I would also add the Three Portraits from The England of Elisabeth, especially as conducted by Andre Previn, and also Flos Campi (there are many fine versions of it available).

(But then: there's very little RVW that I'm not fond of. The only pieces that come to mind are the Sea Symphony, that I like but not love, and some of the songs. (Also, I don't think that much of his film music is thát special, even if I adore the England of Elisabeth music.)

You are right. The England of Elizabeth is best heard in the Previn version. I actually saw the documentary film for which it was written (typical of its time, 1950s) when they showed in at the Barbican in London before Hickox performed the first ever performance of the 1913 version of A London Symphony for c 90 years!

A Sea Symphony is also my least favourite VW symphony although I have come to appreciate it more over time. The "Concerto Accademico", "Partita" and Suite for Viola are other works that don't really grab me the way that much of VW does.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #53 on: April 21, 2007, 04:21:42 AM »
You are right. The England of Elizabeth is best heard in the Previn version. I actually saw the documentary film for which it was written (typical of its time, 1950s) when they showed in at the Barbican in London before Hickox performed the first ever performance of the 1913 version of A London Symphony for c 90 years!

What about the other extracts from The England of Elizabeth Muir Mathieson (if I spell his name correctly) did take from them? Have they been recorded, and are they somehow available too?
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Greta

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2007, 10:34:53 AM »
This is highly recommended:



Superb sound, elegant and sprightly performances, a great collection from Chandos. The concertos are so fun, that Piano Concerto is wonderful, don't know how it stayed off my radar for so long. All fine pieces.

I'm partial to the Violin Concerto and The Lark Ascending, I didn't really become familiar with them until discovered a favorite film score of mine, The Village by James Newton Howard, was strongly influenced by these. Hilary Hahn recorded that score and her Lark Ascending CD back to back, not sure of the timeline but there may have been some connection there. Indeed a strong similarity, poignant singing violin writing, except the Howard score is more mournful. Really one of the better ones to come out of Hollywood in a long time.

I like Vaughan Williams a lot but need to become more familiar with his symphonies. He's my uncle's favorite composer, so he educates me when he's over. :) His favorite piece ever is Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and he's dying to hear it live, but not much Vaughan Williams is done performed around here, unfortunately.

Quote
Brass bands have a very strict orchestration. They only use cornets, alto horns, and flugal horns.  No trumpets or french horns allowed.  Additionally, there are baritones, euphonium, trombones, Eb tuba (my instrument), and BBb tuba.

Brett, I have friends in Europe who play in brass bands, and it is a wonderful sound, I have some of their recordings, and the arrangers over there are do some really nice things with well-known classical pieces. One of my favorites is the Black Dyke Band, technically astonishing.

A Dutch friend also plays in a "fanfare band", I didn't realize it was a separate entity but it's quite interesting actually, basically a brass band instrumentation with a large range of saxophones (my instrument!). A unique and colorful sound. He said it was primarily a Dutch thing, and indeed the composer Johan De Meij often publishes his pieces separately for that specific orchestration.


Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #55 on: April 21, 2007, 02:00:55 PM »
A Dutch friend also plays in a "fanfare band", I didn't realize it was a separate entity but it's quite interesting actually, basically a brass band instrumentation with a large range of saxophones (my instrument!). A unique and colorful sound. He said it was primarily a Dutch thing, and indeed the composer Johan De Meij often publishes his pieces separately for that specific orchestration.'

Great that you mention this. 'We' (the not-so-few Dutch in this forum) won't refer to these types of Dutch musical traditions that often, and often feel obliged to accept the dominance here of Anglo-Saxon concepts and realities. But actually, 'we' have this strong Fanfare tradition of our own, which absolutely differs from the British Brass Band, though it is of at least the same semi-professional level. (Just as indeed 'our' choral tradition might even be 'stronger' than the much better-known British manifestation of it. Though the Danes in this forum might state a similar claim.).

Anyhow, I love Vaughan Williams' compositions in this field, and can't think of a Dutch equivalent of the same level, as Hendrik Andriessen didn't produce much in this direction, even if Henk Badings did.. Johan de Meij is indeed the best known representative of this thread in the Dutch musical tradition, and worth a hearing. 
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2007, 08:59:19 AM »
What about the other extracts from The England of Elizabeth Muir Mathieson (if I spell his name correctly) did take from them? Have they been recorded, and are they somehow available too?


They can be found in Vol 2 of the Chandos series of VW film music  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline sound67

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #57 on: April 22, 2007, 10:39:08 AM »
Which is an expansion of Mathieson's material. The Mathieson suite was recorded by André Previn as part of his LSO RVW cycle.

Thomas
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karlhenning

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2007, 11:37:24 AM »
The English Folk Song Suite may be minor RVW, but it's good, clean fun.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2007, 11:18:46 PM »
The English Folk Song Suite may be minor RVW, but it's good, clean fun.

One of my favourites actually, especially the middle movement. I like it both in its band and orchestral form.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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