Author Topic: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.  (Read 6229 times)

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Offline Christo

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #120 on: September 13, 2017, 10:07:52 PM »
I've seen much support for Dona nobis pacem. Such an awesome setting of poignant texts.
What strikes me, is that so many different works are mentioned: apparently RVW is a composer of more than the Tallis Fantasia.  8)
… 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 André

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #121 on: September 14, 2017, 07:01:59 AM »
What strikes me, is that so many different works are mentioned: apparently RVW is a composer of more than the Tallis Fantasia.  8)

Hey, you bet ! Few XXth Century composers have run as diverse a workshop as RVW. Only the solo instrument medium seems to have escaped his protean interest. A  comprehensive yet still stingy list would contain a minimum of 15 items !

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #122 on: September 14, 2017, 08:32:29 AM »
[...] apparently RVW is a composer of more than the Tallis Fantasia.  8)

But, that is indeed one exquisite score  0:)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #123 on: September 14, 2017, 11:01:18 AM »
What strikes me, is that so many different works are mentioned: apparently RVW is a composer of more than the Tallis Fantasia.  8)

Of course, His oeuvre is vast, including practically all forms. There is plenty to choose from. I like the Tallis Fantasia a lot, but I didn't include it in my list. BTW, Sancta Civitas may be in another new list. This guy was very talented, I'm more and more amazed. There is none composition I don't like.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #124 on: September 14, 2017, 11:33:21 AM »
Time to change up my list a bit:

Symphony No. 6
Flos Campi
Dona nobis pacem
5 Mystical Songs
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis


I’m still quite happy with this list of mine overall, but I’d probably substitute Symphony No. 6 with Symphony No. 5.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #125 on: September 14, 2017, 05:06:57 PM »
Here is my 'alternative' top VW five list.

Fantasia on the Old 104th Psalm Tune - I've always loved craggy work for piano, choir and orchestra.
Pilgrim's Progress - possibly his masterpiece - I've been very lucky to see it live twice
String Quartet No.2 'For Jean on Her Birthday' - occupies the same sound world as Symphony 6
Scott of the Antarctic Film Music - just released in its entirety on Dutton for the first time - very atmospheric and I'm fascinated by Captain Scott's doomed expedition to the South Pole.
Epithalamion - a late neglected oratorio. I even had a nice exchange by letter with Ursula Vaughan Williams about it (she wrote the libretto). It's a really lovely, gentle work. Do listen to it if you like VW's music - I often play it.
If I exclude the Scott music I'd included 'An Oxford Elegy' for narrator and orchestra which I like very much. I've noticed that all the works I've chosen are comparatively late VW compositions.

Another great, lesser known, work is the short bleak but moving one act Opera 'Riders to the Sea'.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 09:08:13 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Christo

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #126 on: September 14, 2017, 10:16:33 PM »
Here is my 'alternative' top VW five list.
Another five 'great, but lesser-known':

Three Portraits from The England of Elizabeth (1955) - orchestra
The Bridal Day, a Masque (1938) - even finer in this original version IMO than the cantata Epithalamion that RVW made of it
Variations for Brass Band (1957)
Suite for Pipes (1939) - recorder quartet
Four Hymns for Tenor and Strings (1912)
… 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 opaquer

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #127 on: September 14, 2017, 10:47:03 PM »
THE WASPS
Piano Concerto
A Sea Symphony
Sinfonia Antartica
Dark Pastoral for Cello & Orchestra
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 10:50:26 PM by α | ì Æ ñ »

Autumn Leaves

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #128 on: September 15, 2017, 01:44:51 AM »
No order:

The Lark Ascending
Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis
Symphony #8
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony"
Toward The Unknown Region

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #129 on: September 15, 2017, 06:04:14 AM »
No order:

The Lark Ascending
Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis
Symphony #8
Symphony #3, "A Pastoral Symphony"
Toward The Unknown Region

A strong list!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #130 on: September 15, 2017, 06:13:51 AM »
Epithalamion - a late neglected oratorio. I even had a nice exchange by letter with Ursula Vaughan Williams about it (she wrote the libretto). It's a really lovely, gentle work. Do listen to it if you like VW's music - I often play it.

I do need to revisit this.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #131 on: September 15, 2017, 07:04:26 AM »
I do need to revisit this.

Lovely gentle late night music Karl.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #132 on: September 15, 2017, 07:06:51 AM »
Another five 'great, but lesser-known':

Three Portraits from The England of Elizabeth (1955) - orchestra
The Bridal Day, a Masque (1938) - even finer in this original version IMO than the cantata Epithalamion that RVW made of it
Variations for Brass Band (1957)
Suite for Pipes (1939) - recorder quartet
Four Hymns for Tenor and Strings (1912)
Great list. Must look out for 'The Bridal Day'. The Brass Band Variations is featured on the forthcoming CD of A London Symphony (1920 Version) on Hyperion. Another lesser-known work that I really like is the Concerto for Two Pianos.
"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: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #133 on: September 15, 2017, 07:13:01 AM »
Lovely gentle late night music Karl.

I loaded all the RVW which I had converted to "soft copy" onto my phone, but I must not yet have converted this CD, Jeffrey!  Must remedy that this weekend!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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

Offline Christo

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #134 on: September 15, 2017, 10:37:01 AM »
Must look out for 'The Bridal Day'.
It is the 'missing link' (1938) between the 'oriëntal not-so-subdued erotic mysticism' (my words for lack of a better characterization) of Flos Campi (1925) and the intensely nostalgic but again also mystic lyricism of An Oxford Elegy (1949). I always thought that Flos Campi stands alone in his output, until I heard The Bridal Day - and saw this unexpected chain of compositions, starting perhaps with the Four Hymns for tenor, viola and strings (1914) and also Merciless Beauty for tenor, two violins and cello (1921).

The Brass Band Variations is featured on the forthcoming CD of A London Symphony (1920 Version) on Hyperion.
It's very welcome, as there is hardly any really good version available until now. The re-orchestration for Winds is less convincing, nor is Gordon Jacob's orchestral version. Virtuoso brass, nothing else will do.  8)

Another lesser-known work that I really like is the Concerto for Two Pianos.
More so than the original version? I love that one too, especially when played so well as by Thomson and Shelley:
… 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 k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #135 on: September 15, 2017, 10:46:33 AM »
It's very welcome, as there is hardly any really good version available until now. The re-orchestration for Winds is less convincing, nor is Gordon Jacob's orchestral version. Virtuoso brass, nothing else will do.  8)

Damn. The Veranda remains a dangerous place.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Top 5 Vaughan Williams works.
« Reply #136 on: September 16, 2017, 04:57:16 AM »
It is the 'missing link' (1938) between the 'oriëntal not-so-subdued erotic mysticism' (my words for lack of a better characterization) of Flos Campi (1925) and the intensely nostalgic but again also mystic lyricism of An Oxford Elegy (1949). I always thought that Flos Campi stands alone in his output, until I heard The Bridal Day - and saw this unexpected chain of compositions, starting perhaps with the Four Hymns for tenor, viola and strings (1914) and also Merciless Beauty for tenor, two violins and cello (1921).
It's very welcome, as there is hardly any really good version available until now. The re-orchestration for Winds is less convincing, nor is Gordon Jacob's orchestral version. Virtuoso brass, nothing else will do.  8)
More so than the original version? I love that one too, especially when played so well as by Thomson and Shelley:

Yes, I prefer the two piano version - probably because I came to know the work through the Vronsky/Babin/Boult LP coupled with Symphony 8 and featuring that wonderful late painting of VW by Sir Gerald Kelly (not completed until after the composer's death - in 1961). The painting is held by the National Portrait Gallery in London although not on display.  ::) :'( :(
I think that version more significantly emphasises the percussive qualities of the piano which are a characteristic feature of the work.
That Chandos CD is excellent in all respects as I love both works and it features a lesser-known photo of the composer in old age.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 04:58:49 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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