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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 05:03:44 AM

Title: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 05:03:44 AM
It isn't right that Ralph has had to wait all this while for his own thread.

Still making my way through the Handley box, but the Romanza (Lento) from the Fifth Symphony, especially, was so utterly, spine-tingling ravishing, I had to repeat it.

Recent performances here in Boston of the Sixth Symphony and the Tallis Fantasia were particular highlights of the season, from this senator's standpoint.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 05:40:04 AM
Recent performances here in Boston of the Sixth Symphony and the Tallis Fantasia were particular highlights of the season, from this senator's standpoint.

I wish someone would program RVW in my neck of the woods! I don't understand why Nos. 4 & 7 in particular aren't preformed more often.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 05:44:04 AM
Must be trouble finding a wind machine for No. 7  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on April 12, 2007, 05:54:42 AM
Must be trouble finding a wind machine for No. 7  ;D

Especially now there's Global Warming!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 12, 2007, 06:09:38 AM
I wish someone would program RVW in my neck of the woods! I don't understand why Nos. 4 & 7 in particular aren't preformed more often.

O, you'll have to plan a trip to Stuttgart this June: Norrington has the Fourth programmed along with the Elgar Violin Concerto (Hilary Hahn).

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 06:17:29 AM
O, you'll have to plan a trip to Stuttgart this June: Norrington has the Fourth programmed along with the Elgar Violin Concerto (Hilary Hahn).

If I didn't have a violent allergy to everything Norrington does, I would consider it, if only to hear Hahn. She did a marvellous Goldmark here two weeks ago with the CSO, capped by an encore performance of a solo violin transcription of Schubert's Erlkönig. BTW, that reminds me, you still owe us a full acount of your trip to Berlin.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 06:20:53 AM
That is a terrific concert program . . . I admit, I mentally added a question mark to the conductor's name :-)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 08:15:28 AM
Still waiting for me to be heard is the complete set with Haitink on EMI.
I should start with that soon I guess! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 08:23:51 AM
Still waiting for me to be heard is the complete set with Haitink on EMI.
I should start with that soon I guess! :)

It's a great one. I just got that recently. Best Antartica without narration.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 08:33:47 AM
It's a great one. I just got that recently. Best Antartica without narration.

You are kidding me right?
Are you saying its without this irritating narration?
Then indeed it is a great one.
Heard some fragments from the 5th & 6th symphonies.
Awesome!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 08:38:15 AM
You are kidding me right?
Are you saying its without this irritating narration?
Then indeed it is a great one.
Heard some fragments from the 5th & 6th symphonies.
Awesome!

Yes, Haitink's Antartica is without narration. Boult has the traditionally used poems that RVW put in the original score. Leppard (Indianapolis SO) has a very fine recording with an alternative narration of excerpts from Scott's diaries, which I think works better. Allegedly, Leppard discussed this idea with RVW personally.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 08:49:01 AM
Yes, Haitink's Antartica is without narration. Boult has the traditionally used poems that RVW put in the original score. Leppard (Indianapolis SO) has a very fine recording with an alternative narration of excerpts from Scott's diaries, which I think works better. Allegedly, Leppard discussed this idea with RVW personally.

Well I will give it a spin tonight.
Thanks for this wonderful news.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 09:15:43 AM
The only Haitink I've heard is the Pastoral and the Fourth, and it is mighty good.

The superscripts to the five movements of the Sinfonia antartica are entirely absent from the Handley.  They are included on the Kees Bakels disc, but clumped together at the end, so they are easily avoided  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 09:22:18 AM
My fave is No. 8 in d minor . . . . . . .
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 09:22:47 AM
(That was unexpected)

 :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on April 12, 2007, 11:29:17 AM
I mentioned it in another thread - but I invite you all to Antwerp for :

Vaughan Williams Symfonie nr. 1, ‘A sea symphony’

Thursday 26 april 2007 | 19:45 | Open Repetition | Filharmonisch Huis

Vrijdag 27 april 2007 | 20:00 | Koningin Elisabethzaal

Soile Isokoski – sopraan | David Wilson-Johnson – bariton | Philippe Herreweghe – dirigent

deFilharmonie | KoorAcademie | Huddersfield Choral Society

This could be a very interesting start . I wasntable to find out if Herreweghe has plans to perform more RVW..!?

 

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 11:32:06 AM
I mentioned it in another thread - but I invite you all to Antwerp for :

Vaughan Williams Symfonie nr. 1, ‘A sea symphony’

Thursday 26 april 2007 | 19:45 | Open Repetition | Filharmonisch Huis

Vrijdag 27 april 2007 | 20:00 | Koningin Elisabethzaal

Soile Isokoski – sopraan | David Wilson-Johnson – bariton | Philippe Herreweghe – dirigent

deFilharmonie | KoorAcademie | Huddersfield Choral Society

This could be a very interesting start . I wasntable to find out if Herreweghe has plans to perform more RVW..!?

That sounds fantastic! Soile Isokoski is superb. I heard her do Sibelius and Mozart with Colin Davis/NYPO last year and Beethoven 9 with Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin. Her disc of Sibelius songs is a gem.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 12, 2007, 12:28:28 PM
If I didn't have a violent allergy to everything Norrington does, I would consider it, if only to hear Hahn.... BTW, you still owe us a full acount of your trip to Berlin.

That is a terrific concert program . . . I admit, I mentally added a question mark to the conductor's name :-)

Karl, O, I'm of two minds about Norrington: I love his HIP Beethoven and Berlioz but haven't been thrilled by much else he's done, including his RVW cycle (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 recorded so far, I believe). I bought the first installment (3 & 5), wasn't impressed (too fast and very cold, unemotional) and have avoided the rest. Still, it's not often one has a chance to hear RVW live in Germany and I'm not going to miss this. But, yeah, the big draw for me is Hahn.

Sarge

P.S. I'll probably write up the Berlin trip, and post some pics, tomorrow. I'm not feeling up to it now. I've been fighting a cold; I feel lethargic and mentally out of it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 12, 2007, 12:37:29 PM
Karl, O, I'm of two minds about Norrington: I love his ... Berlioz

Really? I find it execrable.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 12, 2007, 12:40:14 PM
Really?...

Really...

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Robert on April 12, 2007, 12:47:31 PM


I love all the Handley,and Previn. The  Bakels (7th) Boult 9 (everest)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 12, 2007, 01:17:02 PM
The only Haitink I've heard is the Pastoral and the Fourth, and it is mighty good.

Haitink's Seventh is magnificent, too; it's arguably the greatest recording ever of this fascinating piece. It deserved that Gramophone award (best orchestral record of 1986).

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Robert on April 12, 2007, 01:30:28 PM
Haitink's Seventh is magnificent, too; it's arguably the greatest recording ever of this fascinating piece. It deserved that Gramophone award (best orchestral record of 1986).

Sarge
Sarge,
I do not own any Haitinks VW. I cannot say its the greatest recording..I will have to listen for it as the seventh is one of my favs.....On the other hand, I  do not put much credibility into anything gramophone recommends...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 12, 2007, 01:40:59 PM
Sarge,
I do not own any Haitinks VW. I cannot say its the greatest recording..I will have to listen for it as the seventh is one of my favs.....On the other hand, I  do not put much credibility into anything gramophone recommends...

I don't either (if you don't know my history, I'll tell you: I'm one of the Gramophone bashers ;D )...but I have to say, when they're right, they're right.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 12, 2007, 09:36:36 PM
Haitink's Seventh is magnificent, too; it's arguably the greatest recording ever of this fascinating piece. It deserved that Gramophone award (best orchestral record of 1986).

Sarge

I think I bought a good set! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on April 14, 2007, 09:22:00 AM
Haitink: indeed a great set and as I remember a cheap buy, in the Netherlands, that is. But I caný say that Bernard beats Vernon Handley's set (EMI Eminence).

X
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 14, 2007, 09:36:52 AM
Haitink: indeed a great set and as I remember a cheap buy, in the Netherlands, that is. But I caný say that Bernard beats Vernon Handley's set (EMI Eminence).

X

It is a totally different approach, and it is good to have them both, instead of comparing. They can live happily together. :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on April 14, 2007, 09:38:20 AM
Right you are!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 14, 2007, 10:18:48 PM
Yes, Haitink's Antartica is without narration. Boult has the traditionally used poems that RVW put in the original score. Leppard (Indianapolis SO) has a very fine recording with an alternative narration of excerpts from Scott's diaries, which I think works better. Allegedly, Leppard discussed this idea with RVW personally.

Boult's EMI version of No 7 does not contain the spoken superscriptions before the music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on April 15, 2007, 05:28:26 PM
Boult's EMI version of No 7 does not contain the spoken superscriptions before the music.

The Boult Decca recording (the only one I have) has Gielgud reciting the poems.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 16, 2007, 01:59:39 AM
The Boult Decca recording (the only one I have) has Gielgud reciting the poems.

Yes, but Boult dispenses with them in the later recording on EMI.

Handley's recording of No 9 has the best harps at the end...a great moment, which I find very moving.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: tjguitar on April 16, 2007, 12:49:28 PM
Besides the 3 Chandos film music CDs, I only have:


(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/VaughanW_completeCFP.jpg)

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but what I like about the packaging of this box is that all the cd's are in individual jewel cases instead of sleeves in a box that most seem to be released in these days.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Don on April 16, 2007, 12:51:32 PM
Besides the 3 Chandos film music CDs, I only have:


(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Oct02/VaughanW_completeCFP.jpg)

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but what I like about the packaging of this box is that all the cd's are in individual jewel cases instead of sleeves in a box that most seem to be released in these days.

Wouldn't that make for a very wide box that wastes storage space?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: tjguitar on April 16, 2007, 12:55:55 PM
Wouldn't that make for a very wide box that wastes storage space?

Well you don't really need the box as all the jewel cases have front and back liner notes of their own....
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on April 16, 2007, 01:36:24 PM
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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on April 16, 2007, 02:27:52 PM
Another little Gem I found today...

Vaughan Williams' The Death of Tintagiles based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck of the same name (La Mort de Tintagiles)

(http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/280/285960.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 04:14:49 AM
Well, it is official:  I like A London Symphony, which means that I now like all the set of nine.  Not sure who the performers were in the recording I heard a couple of years ago.

So, with this favorable acquaintance with No. 2, and the love-at-first-hearing audition of Job, I feel that the Handley set has done its work.  Yet more than that, though, the recordings of Nos. 7, 8 & 9 in this set are even better than the Bakels Naxos recordings, which first 'sold' me on those pieces.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 04:15:28 AM
Vaughan Williams' The Death of Tintagiles based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck of the same name (La Mort de Tintagiles)

Dang! Maeterlinck strikes again!  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 18, 2007, 05:23:26 AM
Well, it is official:  I like A London Symphony, which means that I now like all the set of nine.  Not sure who the performers were in the recording I heard a couple of years ago.

So, with this favorable acquaintance with No. 2, and the love-at-first-hearing audition of Job, I feel that the Handley set has done its work.  Yet more than that, though, the recordings of Nos. 7, 8 & 9 in this set are even better than the Bakels Naxos recordings, which first 'sold' me on those pieces.

That makes me really glad mijn vriend! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 10:25:25 AM
Probably the next Vaughan Williams 'blindspot' I need to attend to is the Mass in G Minor.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on April 18, 2007, 10:29:00 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
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 18, 2007, 11:04:15 PM
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?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 03:15:37 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 . . . ?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2007, 03:18:27 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 19, 2007, 03:48:44 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 03:55:29 AM
Of course!  More coffee is needed, here in New England!  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 19, 2007, 04:20:06 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 :-) ?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 04:32:26 AM
All the coffee we grow in Massachusetts is for export  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 19, 2007, 05:16:30 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.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Catison on April 19, 2007, 05:17:44 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 ;).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 19, 2007, 05:24:27 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Catison on April 19, 2007, 05:31:35 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.

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/509/5091205.jpg) (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=10464)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 20, 2007, 10:41:50 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 21, 2007, 03:21:42 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?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Greta on April 21, 2007, 09:34:53 AM
This is highly recommended:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AUB.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44977733_AA240_.jpg)

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.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on April 21, 2007, 01:00:55 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. 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2007, 07:59:19 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  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on April 22, 2007, 09:39:08 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
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 25, 2007, 10:37:24 AM
The English Folk Song Suite may be minor RVW, but it's good, clean fun.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 25, 2007, 10:18:46 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on April 27, 2007, 05:20:14 AM
The English Folk Song Suite may be minor RVW, but it's good, clean fun.

Who said it was minor?

It has 'Seventeen come Sunday' which is brilliant!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on April 27, 2007, 05:44:34 AM
If a three-movement suite for Military Band running only eleven minutes is not a minor work, what is?  Für Elise and nothing else?  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on April 27, 2007, 06:35:23 AM
It might've already been mentioned before, but was is the recommended set of symphonies for this guy?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 27, 2007, 06:38:49 AM
It might've already been mentioned before, but was is the recommended set of symphonies for this guy?

I have Thomson(Chandos) and Previn (RCA - cheap as hell). Both are pretty good. THe Chandos sound is a bit much for me - kind of too revereberent so I slightly prefer the Previn. Many like the Slatkin set but I think it is OOP. There are two Boult sets out there but I am in general not a big Boult fan, he is just not interesting as a conductor.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on April 27, 2007, 06:45:46 AM
I have Thomson(Chandos) and Previn (RCA - cheap as hell). Both are pretty good. THe Chandos sound is a bit much for me - kind of too revereberent so I slightly prefer the Previn. Many like the Slatkin set but I think it is OOP. There are two Boult sets out there but I am in general not a big Boult fan, he is just not interesting as a conductor.
Thanks, I just checked out the Thomson and Previn sets.
Woooooooooooooowwwwwwwww!!!!  :o
The Previn set not only has the 9 symphonies, but much more, including a tuba concerto, has an average of a 5-star rating, and is only $20!!!!  :o
That's not something you see every day, good thing I asked. Well, that'll definetely be on my wish-list....  0:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 27, 2007, 06:56:22 AM
Thanks, I just checked out the Thomson and Previn sets.
Woooooooooooooowwwwwwwww!!!!  :o
The Previn set not only has the 9 symphonies, but much more, including a tuba concerto, has an average of a 5-star rating, and is only $20!!!!  :o
That's not something you see every day, good thing I asked. Well, that'll definetely be on my wish-list....  0:)

Beware that Amazon don't stock the Previn set. I ordered mine and it took over 2 months for them to ship  >:(

But you can't beat the price though. The Boult set (the one with 5 CDs, not the 8 CD version) is also available for around $20-$25 depending on availability at the time. The Thomson is quite expensive for some weird reason. But once in a while you catch a Musical Heritage Society incarnation of the Thomson set for cheap.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on April 27, 2007, 07:07:12 AM
Beware that Amazon don't stock the Previn set. I ordered mine and it took over 2 months for them to ship  >:(

ooh, yeah, that's definetely good to before buying
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on April 29, 2007, 07:27:41 AM
It might've already been mentioned before, but was is the recommended set of symphonies for this guy?

This one is the best bet for the entire set of nine:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MDJET9RXL._AA240_.jpg)

On this CD:

   1. Symphony No. 1, '(A) Sea Symphony'
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
      with Joan Rodgers, William Shimell
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   2. Symphony No. 2, '(A) London Symphony'
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   3. Symphony No. 8 in D minor
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   4. English Folk Song Suite
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   5. Symphony No. 3, '(A) Pastoral Symphony'
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      with Alison Barlow
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   6. Symphony No. 4 in F minor
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   7. Flos campi
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
      with Christopher Balmer
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   8. Concerto for Oboe and Strings in A minor
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      with Jonathan Small
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

   9. Symphony No. 5 in D
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  10. Symphony No. 6 in E minor
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  11. Symphony No. 9 in E minor
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  12. Fantasia on 'Greensleeves'
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
      with Colin Chambers, Mair Jones
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  13. Serenade to Music
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  14. Symphony No. 7, 'Sinfonia antartica'
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
      with Alison Hargan, Ian Tracey
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  15. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  16. Five Variants of "Dives and Lazarus"
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

  17. Job
      Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
      Conducted by Vernon Handley

There are greater individual performances of most of these works (Boult for No.1, Previn for No.3, Berglund for No.4, Andrew Davis for No.6, Haitink for No.7, Barbirolli for No.8), but the set has no weak moments in the symphonies and contains JOB as well. In Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 9 Handley is superb.

Haitink and Slatkin are wildly uneven: Haitink does a good 1st, a terrifc 2nd, an OK 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th, the best "Anatartica" - but a terrible 8th and 9th, Slatkin is great only in No.4 and No.9, terrible in No.2, undistinguished in Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7. Bryden Thomson's set is also very fine, he does a great "London" and fine 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th Symphonies, but the 1st is only OK, as is No.7. No.6 is a lacklustre performance. Previn/LSO still has the best "Pastoral" on offer, and the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th are all good. Nos 4 & 6 are not that great. Boult's two complete sets have their share of "classics" - nobody has ever done a greater "Sea Symphony" than Boult, and that accounts for both of his versions (mono and stereo sets). The Mono set has less polished playing but much more energy and finesse.

The worst set is the Naxos (Kees Bakels falls short of the mark in almost all of his contributions except in the 7th and 8th), followed by Andrew Davis (only his 6th can be recommended) and Hickox' recent cycle.

These symphonies are mostly true masterpieces, so you might consider buying individual performances instead:

No.1 - Boult/EMI (Stereo), Boult/Decca (Mono)
No.2 - Barbirolli (Dutton, stereo), Thomson (Chandos), Handley (EMI - the LPO performance!), Arwel Hughes (ASV), Haitink (EMI)
No.3 - Previn/RCA, or Boult/Decca (Mono), Thomson (Chandos)
No.4 - Berglund/EMI, Vaughan Williams (Dutton, mono), Handley, Thomson
No.5 - Handley, Previn/RPO (Telarc), Thomson, Hickox(!, Chandos)
No.6 - A.Davis (Teldec), Handley
No.7 - Haitink (EMI), Barbirolli (EMI, mono)
No.8 - Barbirolli (Dutton, stereo), Stokowski, Handley
No.9 - Thomson, Slatkin (RCA)

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on April 29, 2007, 09:38:51 AM
thanks for the recommendations!

wow, a true Vaughan Williams fan right here, huh?  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2007, 01:41:14 AM
Here's my list:

No 1 Boult (Decca)

No 2 Previn (RCA), Boult (EMI), Barbirolli (EMI, I know many prefer the earlier Dutton), Hickox (orig version 1913) Chandos, Handley (EMI not CFP version)

No 3 Previn (RCA)

No 4 Berglund (EMI), Thomson (Chandos) Mitropoulos (Sony)

No 5 Barbirolli (EMI) Hickox (Chandos)

No 6 Abravanel (Vanguard), Boult (Decca) Stokowski (Cala), Berglund (HMV n/a)

No 7 Barbirolli (EMI), Haitink (EMI)

No 8 Previn (RCA)

No 9 Stokowski (Cala), Boult (EMI or Decca/Everest), Slatkin (RCA), Thomson (Chandos)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on April 30, 2007, 01:45:14 AM
I totally forgot Abravanel in the 6th - great recording now available on DVD.

Also, Bernstein is good  in the 4th.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2007, 02:21:00 AM
Also, Bernstein is good  in the 4th.
Thomas

Thank you for adding Bernstein's Fourth. It's absence was the only quibble I had with your original list. Well, I do like Boult in the Ninth but can't fault your selections in this strange symphony (my favorite along with the Eighth).

1 - Boult EMI
2 - Barbirolli/Hallé
3 - Previn/LSO (but very fond of Boult too)
4 - Bernstein/NY Phil
5 - Handley/RLPO
6 - Davis/BBC
7 - Haitink/LPO
8 - Barbirolli/Hallé
9 - Boult/EMI

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 01, 2007, 04:03:13 AM
I agree; Bernstein's No 4 is excellent too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Benji on May 01, 2007, 12:31:37 PM
Who said it was minor?

It has 'Seventeen come Sunday' which is brilliant!

I recently bought a disc of Percy Grainger's choral music (J E Gardiner conducting), which includes his adaptation of this folk song and it's just so much fun (the whole disc is full of gems)!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Benji on May 01, 2007, 12:43:48 PM
Bernstein's 4th didn't sit well with me, though I can't remember why. Berglund is my man for the 4th, with Handley bringing up the rear. I even like Haitink in this (and in the 9th).

For the 6th I, again, prefer Haitink, though I am now very fond of Berglund in this too (thanks again, Jeffrey). I was disappointed with Davies after all the hype, I must say.

No argument from me about Previn being the man for the 3rd. That recording really was a revelation.

But anyway, I want to hear more about Riders to the Sea. I have only heard tantalising clips of the EMI recording and will wait patiently for its re-release.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2007, 02:36:10 PM
Bernstein's 4th didn't sit well with me, though I can't remember why. Berglund is my man for the 4th, with Handley bringing up the rear. I even like Haitink in this (and in the 9th).

I agree that Haitink does well with the Fourth.  I don't remember any disappointment with Handley in that work, though . . . will break it out again tomorrow!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 03, 2007, 03:09:41 AM
Bernstein's 4th didn't sit well with me, though I can't remember why. Berglund is my man for the 4th, with Handley bringing up the rear. I even like Haitink in this (and in the 9th).

For the 6th I, again, prefer Haitink, though I am now very fond of Berglund in this too (thanks again, Jeffrey). I was disappointed with Davies after all the hype, I must say.

No argument from me about Previn being the man for the 3rd. That recording really was a revelation.

But anyway, I want to hear more about Riders to the Sea. I have only heard tantalising clips of the EMI recording and will wait patiently for its re-release.

Yes, I  have added Berglund's No 6 to my list above, although it has long been unavailable (its only CD appearance, as far as I know, was a brief appearance on the original HMV own label series, where it was coupled with an underrated version of No 5 conducted by Alexander Gibson). Berglund's No 6 is a craggy, epic, sibelian interpretation.  Richard Abram at EMI tells me that there are plans for EMI to reissue these performances in their British Composers series but, since then, there have been cut backs at the EMI classical division.

"Riders to the Sea" is a hauntingly atmospheric work, more of a one act "music drama" rather than opera. The EMI Meredith Davies version is the one to have. It was coupled with "Epithalamion" Vaughan Williams's last choral work; a beautiful, haunting score. The booklet with the EMI release also contained the wonderful 1957/8 painting of Vaughan Williams by Gerald Kelly. It was perhaps my favourite disc in the EMI British Composers series.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on May 03, 2007, 04:51:37 AM
If a three-movement suite for Military Band running only eleven minutes is not a minor work, what is?  Für Elise and nothing else?  ;D

Oh, you mean 'minor' as in short, like a Chopin etude or a Debussy prelude.

Yeah, right 8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 03, 2007, 11:12:23 PM
"Riders to the Sea" is a hauntingly atmospheric work, more of a one act "music drama" rather than opera. The EMI Meredith Davies version is the one to have. It was coupled with "Epithalamion" Vaughan Williams's last choral work; a beautiful, haunting score. The booklet with the EMI release also contained the wonderful 1957/8 painting of Vaughan Williams by Gerald Kelly. It was perhaps my favourite disc in the EMI British Composers series.

I agree on both counts: An amazingly beautiful work, very concise at 40 minutes, and a great performance. Hickox' Chandos version is not bad, though - which is more than you can say for some of the other RVW he recorded for Chandos.

These are some recommendations for other, shorter RVW works:

- Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis - Sinfonia of London/Barbirolli (EMI GROC), RPO/Previn, and, most emphatically, Bournemouth SO/Constantine Silvestri (!!!, EMI British Composers)
- JOB (not really a short work at 50 minutes) - LPO/Boult (EMI)
- The Lark Ascending - Hahn/LSO/Davis (DG), Chang/LPO/Haitink (EMI), Pougnet/LPO/Boult (Dutton, mono), Bean/LPO/Boult (EMI)
- Piano Concerto: Shelley/RPO/Handley (Lyrita, coupled with another great work, the "Dynamic Triptych" by John Foulds)
- all the choral works on EMI, either by Boult or by Willcocks
- sting quartets by the Maggini Quartet, on Naxos, if only 1st: Britten Quartet on EMI

Thomas

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 04, 2007, 05:25:54 AM
The EMI CD with Job (Boult) and the double Piano Concerto (Vronsky/Babin/Boult) is my favourite recording of both works, although Boult's earlier Belart and Everest versions of Job are also very good.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Iconito on May 09, 2007, 09:50:54 AM

Please excuse my astounding ignorance. I was looking for Janine Jansen videos on youtube last night (I was told she can play the violin, too! (http://www.millan.net/minimations/smileys/clown.gif)) and I found this version of The Lark Ascending, which is now the first and only Work by VW I know...

My question: Is this piece really representative of VW’s style?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MishaK on May 09, 2007, 10:08:34 AM
Please excuse my astounding ignorance. I was looking for Janine Jansen videos on youtube last night (I was told she can play the violin, too! (http://www.millan.net/minimations/smileys/clown.gif)) and I found this version of The Lark Ascending, which is now the first and only Work by VW I know...

My question: Is this piece really representative of VW’s style?

Yes and no. RVW doesn't have a single "style". He goes back and forth between the overtly folkloristic and the more expressionist. The Lark is more folkloristic. But his Symphony No.4 for example has hardly anything in common with that, stylistically.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Iconito on May 09, 2007, 02:31:36 PM
Yes and no. RVW doesn't have a single "style". He goes back and forth between the overtly folkloristic and the more expressionist. The Lark is more folkloristic. But his Symphony No.4 for example has hardly anything in common with that, stylistically.

Thanks, O! I’ll keep trying, then...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 10, 2007, 12:27:26 AM
Yes and no. RVW doesn't have a single "style". He goes back and forth between the overtly folkloristic and the more expressionist. The Lark is more folkloristic. But his Symphony No.4 for example has hardly anything in common with that, stylistically.

My answer would tend even more towards a straight "no". Even though finished after WWI, the Lark Ascending dates from before (1914) - and my conclusion would be, that never ever after RVW wrote anything in this fashion. I see the Lark as his farewell to a pre-WWI, sunny England, a happy landscape of his youth. Its overtly and uninhibited lyrical, a revelling in sheer beauty --- indeed, almost to much to endure (the element he added when finishing it around 1920).

After WWI (in which he served in Northern France), this pure lyricism never returned. The difference is shown by comparision with his Pastoral Symphony (dating from 1916-22): at first sight purely lyrical, at a second hearing tragical and dark, his War Requiem. Ever afterwards his music was always 'sadder and wiser' than the Lark.

The  'happiest' and most uncomplicated-lyrical music of his later years I can think of being: The Sereneda to Music and the Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus (both late '30s), and perhaps his final 'Christmas music' (a return to the happiness of childhood, in Hodie: A Christmas Cantata, and The Last Nowell, both from his final years, the '50s.)

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: tjguitar on May 16, 2007, 09:41:20 AM
Wow I just heard Handley's LPO recording for EMI and I think it might even be better than the RLPO box:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JW6MK41JL._SS500_.jpg)

It only seems to be available in the UK, though.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 17, 2007, 12:16:41 AM
Wow I just heard Handley's LPO recording for EMI and I think it might even be better than the RLPO box

It IS better. It has more atmosphere.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 17, 2007, 02:25:25 AM
It IS better. It has more atmosphere.

No 2 is better than the CFP performance, No 6 not as good, they should have issued the Berglund No 6 instead; am opportunity missed.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: tjguitar on May 18, 2007, 09:44:48 PM
Question for all: Did Vernon Handley record the Tom Tallis Fantasia twice?

I have this CD (included in the Handley RVW set) which credits to being recorded in 1973 w/ the London Philharmonic:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Jun02/RVW_job_dfp.jpg)

but then there's also this other CfP CD which credits the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in it's amazon listing, I don't have the disc so it could be a mistake in the listing:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AZH0DSA0L._AA240_.jpg)

If there is indeed two different recordings, does anyone have any preferences?

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Benji on May 21, 2007, 01:14:24 PM
Wow I just heard Handley's LPO recording for EMI and I think it might even be better than the RLPO box:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JW6MK41JL._SS500_.jpg)

It only seems to be available in the UK, though.

Fantastic record. Import it; it's worth whatever the price, absolutely.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 27, 2007, 06:02:01 AM
My personal list of preferred recordings of the RVW symphonies (but to be honest, I don't know all recordings):

No. 1  no real idea, but probably Boult
No. 2  Handley (EMI), Hickox in the original version (Chandos)
No. 3  Previn (RCA), Handley (EMI)
No. 4  Bernstein (Sony), Thomson (Chandos)
No. 5  Handley (EMI), Thomson (Chandos)
No. 6  Stokowski (Cala), Thomson (Chandos - I know, I'm the only one to cherish this slow, but powerfull and to my ears highly tragic rendering)
No. 7  Haitink (EMI) ?
No. 8  Barbirolli (RCA), Slatkin (RCA)
No. 9  Thomson (Chandos), Slatkin (RCA), Stokowski (Cala)

In my list, Thomson is the overall winner, followed by Handley, Boult, Previn and Stokowski.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scottscheule on June 06, 2007, 05:09:23 PM
I'm listening to Symphonies 6, 8, and the Nocturne (Whispers of Heavenly Death), lately. 

Thoughts on these pieces?

Incidentally, listening to the Nocturne may be the first time I've really understood Whitman's poetry.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 06, 2007, 10:40:05 PM
I'm listening to Symphonies 6, 8, and the Nocturne (Whispers of Heavenly Death), lately. Thoughts on these pieces? Incidentally, listening to the Nocturne may be the first time I've really understood Whitman's poetry.
Reviewers haven't been very positive about Hickox' performance of the symphonies, and that's why I didn't order for this CD, so far. But the Nocturne is a recent discovery and gets its world premiere, here. Hope to learn more about the piece.
(http://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010103.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 07, 2007, 12:27:09 AM
I'm listening to Symphonies 6, 8, and the Nocturne (Whispers of Heavenly Death), lately. 

Thoughts on these pieces?

Incidentally, listening to the Nocturne may be the first time I've really understood Whitman's poetry.

The Sixth, IMHO is VW's greatest symphony as it combines the violence of No 4 with the spirituality of No 5, the result is both compelling and disquieting. Hickox is generally v good but this is his weakest performance I think. Boult's Decca is the best but v good versions from Haitink, Thomson and Davis.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on June 07, 2007, 01:28:47 AM
Hickox's performance of No.8 is particularly weak (lacking in colour and excitement), his 6th better but hardly distinguished. There are many superior versions of this, arguably Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony, like Berglund,'s Handley's, Andrew Davis', Boult's 1947th, Stokowski's or even Haitink's.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 07, 2007, 01:37:29 AM
Hickox's performance of No.8 is particularly weak (lacking in colour and excitement), his 6th better but hardly distinguished. There are many superior versions of this, arguably Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony, like Berglund,'s Handley's, Andrew Davis', Boult's 1947th, Stokowski's or even Haitink's.

Thomas

Agreed (although I marginally prefer Boult's 1950s recording), we need the Berglund back in circulation. Stokowski and Abravanel made fine recordings too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on June 07, 2007, 08:27:37 AM
Why do I keep forgetting the Abravanel... Great recording.  $:)

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scottscheule on June 07, 2007, 08:39:44 AM
Hickox's performance of No.8 is particularly weak (lacking in colour and excitement), his 6th better but hardly distinguished. There are many superior versions of this, arguably Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony, like Berglund,'s Handley's, Andrew Davis', Boult's 1947th, Stokowski's or even Haitink's.

Thomas

Could be: this is the only recording I have of the pieces (it is the Hickox).  Before that I was listening to Barbirolli's 5th, which I loved.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 07, 2007, 08:41:04 AM
Thomas! The Eighth, arguably the greatest?  You surprise me!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on June 07, 2007, 09:00:38 AM
Quote
Hickox's performance of No.8 is particularly weak (lacking in colour and excitement), his 6th better but hardly distinguished. There are many superior versions of this, arguably Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony

I was indeed referring to the 6th.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 07, 2007, 09:04:52 AM
Ah! Sorry to mistake you.

That's more like  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 08, 2007, 07:17:18 AM
Much more realistic than with Elgar, would be the goal of 0% of people who are into classical music think Vaughan Williams is insignificant or that his music licks mudflaps at a Scranton truckstop.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: tjguitar on June 10, 2007, 09:31:46 PM
MusicWeb seems to have added a convenient page w/ all their RVW reviews.

Neat. http://musicweb.uk.net/Vwilliams/revidx.htm
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 10, 2007, 10:52:51 PM
My personal list of preferred recordings of the RVW symphonies (but to be honest, I don't know all recordings):

No. 1  no real idea, but probably Boult
No. 2  Handley (EMI), Hickox in the original version (Chandos)
No. 3  Previn (RCA), Handley (EMI)
No. 4  Bernstein (Sony), Thomson (Chandos)
No. 5  Handley (EMI), Thomson (Chandos)
No. 6  Stokowski (Cala), Thomson (Chandos - I know, I'm the only one to cherish this slow, but powerfull and to my ears highly tragic rendering)
No. 7  Haitink (EMI) ?
No. 8  Barbirolli (RCA), Slatkin (RCA)
No. 9  Thomson (Chandos), Slatkin (RCA), Stokowski (Cala)

In my list, Thomson is the overall winner, followed by Handley, Boult, Previn and Stokowski.



An excellent choice of recordings.  You are not alone in admiring Bryden Thomson's Chandos No 6, I think that along with Boult (Decca), Boult (Dutton)  Abravanel and Stokowski, it is one of the greatest recordings of a symphony that is notoriously difficult to get right on disc. The BBC Music Magazine's guide to the 1000 best recordings agrees with you too! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 10, 2007, 11:00:26 PM
MusicWeb seems to have added a convenient page w/ all their RVW reviews.

Neat. http://musicweb.uk.net/Vwilliams/revidx.htm

V helpful, thank you.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 13, 2007, 10:57:53 PM
V helpful, thank you.

Very helpful indeed: the overview of the new releases per year shows an amazing abundancy: so many new recording, each year. Without this overview I wouldn't have learnt about the Dutton release of the orchestrated Six Studies on English Folk Song (1926, orch. 1957) [8:42] - for example. Anybody heard them?

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: techniquest on June 14, 2007, 10:35:36 PM
I can't comment on Hickox's recordings of the 6th and 8th, but his recording of the original London Symphony is just masterful. The live performance he gave at the 2005 Proms was also superb. The LSO under Norrington recorded a really excellent London Symphony too.
I haven't heard the Haitink 7, but after reading this thread I really must - it'll have to go some way if it's going to surpass the Handley recording.
I would also wholeheartedly recommend the examination of the Tallis Fantasia on the Radio 3 Discovering Music Archive
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/audioarchive.shtml
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 21, 2007, 03:19:13 PM
I can't comment on Hickox's recordings of the 6th and 8th, but his recording of the original London Symphony is just masterful. The live performance he gave at the 2005 Proms was also superb. The LSO under Norrington recorded a really excellent London Symphony too.

Of course! We all agree on that.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 27, 2007, 05:44:00 AM
. . . the Dutton release of the orchestrated Six Studies on English Folk Song (1926, orch. 1957) [8:42] - for example. Anybody heard them?

Alas, I think the answer seems to be, "No" . . . .
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 10, 2007, 12:21:17 AM
Very helpful indeed: the overview of the new releases per year shows an amazing abundancy: so many new recording, each year. Without this overview I wouldn't have learnt about the Dutton release of the orchestrated Six Studies on English Folk Song (1926, orch. 1957) [8:42] - for example. Anybody heard them?



I have this CD now.  The orchestral (string orch) version of VW's Six Studies is quite beautiful. I played it the other day and my wife, who does not generally like my taste in music (I don't understand why not...how could anyone possibly not appreciate works like Pettersson's "The Dead in the Market Place" or Shostakovich's "Babi Yar" Symphony? ;D)..anyway, she asked "what is this beautiful music?". So, a strong recommendation therefore. The other works on the Dutton CD are pleasant enough but it is well worth having for the VW.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Kiddiarni on July 10, 2007, 11:11:40 AM
I once played a piece by R. Vaughan Williams.

It was called "Ten Blake Songs" (with lyrics from William Blake poems) for oboe and Tenor.  It was hard to master, but once it was it sounded good. (Although it sounded better on the last practice than it did on the concert)

One thing I liked a lot about the pieces are footnotes by the author:
Quote from: R. Vaughan Williams
Note: The oboe parts of these songs may, in case of necessity, be played on a violin or (by transposing the songs down a tone) on a B flat clarinet - but neither of these expedients is advisable. R.V.W

Shows you how much the oboe owns.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 10, 2007, 11:17:33 AM
Quote from: RVW
Note: The oboe parts of these songs may, in case of necessity, be played on a violin or (by transposing the songs down a tone) on a B flat clarinet - but neither of these expedients is advisable.

Fascinating, Kiddiarni . . . I played two (or three?) of these with one of the tenors in the choir back in September.  I did not know (but it does not surprise me) that he actually got the idea from the composer (and if those expedients are not advisable, why does he give that advice, eh?)

Actually, we took a third route;  I sight-transposed the oboe part, so that the tenor could still sing in the notated key  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Kiddiarni on July 10, 2007, 03:25:04 PM
Fascinating, Kiddiarni . . . I played two (or three?) of these with one of the tenors in the choir back in September.  I did not know (but it does not surprise me) that he actually got the idea from the composer (and if those expedients are not advisable, why does he give that advice, eh?)

Actually, we took a third route;  I sight-transposed the oboe part, so that the tenor could still sing in the notated key  8)

I can't do that, sight-transposing that is.

And, interestingly enough, karlhenning I also played it with a tenor in my choir, and I actually played two pieces with him, the third one was solo.  We played The Infant Joy, nr. 1., and nr. 10, which I don't remember the name of, and then the tenor sung nr. 6, The Shepherd, solo.

So I take it you play the clarinet?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on July 10, 2007, 03:34:59 PM
Oddly, at a christening I was asked to sing one of these songs unaccompanied. Also as I am a baritone, it was transposed down. So not exactly authentic in practice. it was the song that starts off....Little Lamb, who made thee? That is the Infant Joy song I think.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Bonehelm on July 10, 2007, 09:39:19 PM
I just listened to his Fantasia on Greensleeves, what a beautiful piece!  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Kiddiarni on July 11, 2007, 08:37:36 AM
Oddly, at a christening I was asked to sing one of these songs unaccompanied. Also as I am a baritone, it was transposed down. So not exactly authentic in practice. it was the song that starts off....Little Lamb, who made thee? That is the Infant Joy song I think.

Mike

Naah... the Infant Joy is the one which starts off with "I have no name, I am but two days old".  If I remeber correctly there are two solo songs in the piece, that is two out of the total of ten.  One is the Shepherd and the other I don't remember...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 13, 2007, 08:24:46 AM
I can't do that, sight-transposing that is.

And, interestingly enough, karlhenning I also played it with a tenor in my choir, and I actually played two pieces with him, the third one was solo.  We played The Infant Joy, nr. 1., and nr. 10, which I don't remember the name of, and then the tenor sung nr. 6, The Shepherd, solo.

So I take it you play the clarinet?

Guilty as charged :-)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Kiddiarni on July 14, 2007, 09:03:26 AM
I once played the clarinet.  I was tricked into believing that the Pink Panther theme was played on a Clarinet, and I wanted to play that tune, so I started playing the clarinet.  Later my teacher asked if I wanted to change to the oboe, and I did...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 14, 2007, 07:42:47 PM
But . . . the Pink Panther theme is not played on the oboe either . . . .
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Kiddiarni on July 15, 2007, 08:46:33 AM
Correct.  But my teacher said that only the toughest could handle the oboe, so I decided to swap.  I was 11 years old, you see... so I followed my teacher's recommendations.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 15, 2007, 08:56:35 AM
And what's your opinion of Vaughan Williams' Oboe concerto?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on July 31, 2007, 09:51:18 AM
Forthcoming this year is a three-hour documentary feature on RVW, by Tony Palmer, the director of "Testimony":

Quote
NEW TONY PALMER FILM ABOUT VW NEARS COMPLETION
11th June 2007

Tony Palmer the distinguished and highly acclaimed director is currently putting the finishing touches to a film he has made about Vaughan Williams. Three hours long, it looks at Vaughan Williams’ life as a disturbed and frustrated one. The film will undoubtedly be controversial but very important in raising awareness of RVW.

The first ever full-length film biography of the great man, produced by the multi-award winning director, TONY PALMER, to be shown over several weeks in November on Channel FIVE and released on DVD in time for Christmas.
With many of those who knew and worked with him, including the GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL CHOIR, conducted by ANDREW NETHSINGHA,
• archive performances by BOULT and BARBIROLLI,
• newly discovered interviews with VAUGHAN WILLIAMS himself,
• specially recorded extracts from The Symphonies, Job, The Lark Ascending and of course The Tallis Fantasia
• And with unexpected contributions from HARRISON BIRTWISTLE, JOHN ADAMS
MARK ANTHONY TURNAGE, MICHAEL TIPPETT & NEIL TENNANT of The Pet Shop Boys.
A glorious 3 hour celebration, but with a helluva sting in the tail.

Reprinted below with Tony Palmer’s permision, is the article as published in the OUP magazine.

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
for O.U.P. magazine

'O thou transcendent…..'

Vaughan Williams holds an extraordinary fascination for a surprising number of fellow musicians. Known for his openness with advice to younger colleagues, he was often besieged by requests along the lines of "I'm thinking of becoming a composer. Can you give me a few hints?" Thus the 80 year-old grand old man of British music received the 16 year-old whippersnapper, Harrison Birtwistle. The great American composer John Adams was taken by his parents as a 9 year-old to his first orchestral concert in Boston, U.S.A. The first piece on the menu was Vaughan Williams. Adams, previously (he believed) destined to be an engineer, told his parents he now wanted to be a composer - "like that!" Neil Tennant, famous as part of The Pet Shop Boys, had a similar Damascus moment as a schoolboy in Newcastle. Mark Anthony Turnage, knocked sideways by his encounter with "the darkness, even hopelessness", of Vaughan Williams’ vision of mankind….the list of such musicians included in this 3-hour film is considerable.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of his death. Having made films about Britten and Walton, I knew I had to face up to the man whose shadow falls across the whole of 20th century English music, and also as to why he was not immediately thought of in the same breath as, say, Elgar. It seems to me now, as I put the finishing touches to my film, that his importance exceeds the other three. Two stories illustrate this.

In 1936, Vaughan Williams went to Norwich for the première of his Five Tudor Portraits. When he arrived at the rehearsal, the leader of the orchestra asked him to ‘deal with’ the composer of the other work on the programme who was being an hysterical pest, and in any case they hated the piece. VW asked who it was, and then apparently told the leader: "Sir, you are in the presence of greatness. If you do not perform his work, then you cannot perform mine". The other work was Our Hunting Fathers; the composer the 22 year-old Benjamin Britten. Michael Tippett tells the film, in an interview recorded some years ago, that although as a student he had despised everything VW stood for with "all that folk waffle", after VW died Tippett realised he had made the most appalling misjudgement because it was VW "rather than any of his contemporaries" who had "made us free".

"Folk waffle"? I agree with Tippett - a profound misjudgement. It doesn’t even begin to describe some the bleakest, most desperate and yearning English music written in the last 100 years. This is the musician who leapt back across the centuries to Tallis, Byrd, Dowland and Purcell long before it became fashionable to do so. This is the scholar who read Walt Whitman, long before anyone had ever heard of him on this side of the Atlantic. This is the visionary who single-handedly rescued the English Hymnal, who prodded the Churchill government during the Second World War to establish what became eventually the Arts Council and The Third Programme on the BBC.

But that’s not the main thrust of my film, which is about the man himself. First, his family – related, either directly or by marriage to Darwin, to Wedgewood, to Keynes, to Virginia Woolf, centre stage among the intellectual aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th century. Then married, and devotedly so, for over 50 years to a woman who was for much of that time a cripple – can you imagine what that did to his psyche, his sexuality? And he was a devastatingly good looking young man, not the crumpled, cuddly figure that has become (until now, I hope) his lasting image. A man who volunteered, aged 41, to serve in the infantry in the First World War, but eventually served in the Ambulance Corps (and don’t forget his very sheltered background – Charterhouse, Cambridge, and a man who never needed to earn his living), picking up bits of bodies blown to smithereens in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. And this had no effect on him and his music? Of course it did.

In the end, of course, it’s the music which speaks to us. Gergiev’s Mariinsky Orchestra provides much of it in specially recorded extracts – all the Symphonies, Job, Tallis, The Lark, The National Youth Orchestra, which also celebrates 60 years in 2008, underlining VW’s commitment to the young – he did, after all, helped to put the National Youth Orchestra on its feet; The English Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Chorus, Simon Keenleyside, Joan Rodgers, the amazing Catalan Viola da Gamba player Jordi Savall, the great folk singer Martin Carthy and his daughter Liza who will perform the folk songs that VW heard (and as he probably heard them) on his walking tours with Gustav Holst in 1903/4, and not least Gloucester Cathedral Choir with the hymns and The Mass. Dorking & The Leith Hill Music Festival, which VW conducted for over 50 years, is well represented. And all this quite apart from archive performances with Sir Colin Davis, Sir Adrian Boult and Barbirolli. Finally, there are the witnesses who knew and worked with him – Roy Douglas (now over 100), Michael Kennedy, David Willcocks, Lady Barbirolli, Lord Armstrong, Kiffer Finzi, Bill Llewellyn, Alun Hoddinott, Jill Balcon who remembers with tears her father’s commissioning of the music for the film Scott of the Antarctic, Jerrold Northrop Moore, Hervey Fisher recalling his great Aunt Adeline, VW’s first (and much overlooked first wife), Hugh Cobbe, the archivist of his letters……and of course Ursula Vaughan Williams herself in an extended interview she gave in 1990 recently discovered. Best of all, VW himself talking in hitherto forgotten interviews.

But my intention is not hagiography. It is simply this: to explode for ever I hope the image of a cuddly old Uncle, endlessly recycling English folk songs, and to awaken the audience to a central figure in our musical heritage who did more for us all than Greensleeves and Lark Ascending, even if it is No.1 in the Classic FM 'Hall of Fame'; who not only deserves his place among the greatest of British composers, but who deserves our respect and admiration as a man of phenomenal nobility and courage. Courage musically; we forget that in its time his music was considered progressive and ‘modern’ (he had after all studied with Ravel), and performed at the Salzburg Festival (the first English composer to be so honoured) and the Prague Contemporary Music Festival. His music was even banned by the Nazis. The 15 year-old Margot Fonteyn even danced in the stage première of Job. And courage as a man. Never forget the man from a privileged background picking up bits of dead bodies, a shattered head, an arm, a finger, an eye, while married for most of his adult life to a cripple in a wheelchair. In my view, anyone who tells you that his music is just notes on a page or 'visions of Corot' has missed the point – by a million miles.

At the end of my interview with Roy Douglas, he jabbed his finger at me and said: "young man. Tell me, what is his music about?" I waffled, inevitably – "oh, I said, belief in humanity, visionary, optimism……" "Oh yes?" said Roy. "End of the 6th Symphony? 4th Symphony? 9th Symphony? even the Norfolk Rhapsody? A very bleak vision. Just think of the times he lived through. Think again, young man” he said. I have, and this film is the result. It does not make comfortable viewing.

©Tony Palmer

The film will be shown over several weeks on Channel FIVE in November 2007.
The première will be at the Barbican Cinema in the same month. The DVD of the full 3 hour film will available in time for Christmas.

Tomny Palmer's web site http://www.tonypalmer.org/

My emphasis.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 31, 2007, 09:59:34 AM
I just can't believe he said "the man whose shadow falls across the whole of 20th century English music" of anyone other than Elgar  ;D 8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 31, 2007, 10:29:06 AM
Fascinating news about the film. I can't wait to see it. I've always been curious about VW's first marriage to Adeline (his second wife Ursula is still alive). Apparently it was happy but Adeline always looks so miserable in photos.

I had the good fortune to have tea with Roy Douglas myself as he lives nearby and had an enjoyable afternoon hearing his reminiscences of Vaughan Williams.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 31, 2007, 10:32:11 AM
I'd be game to see the RVW movie.

I haven't been interested in seeing Testimony.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on July 31, 2007, 11:49:18 AM
This is indeed exciting news.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on August 01, 2007, 04:43:17 AM
Indeed so. At least, it's clear now what I will be asking as a Christmas present.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on August 07, 2007, 08:55:26 AM
Indeed so. At least, it's clear now what I will be asking as a Christmas present.

Same with me, since I can not receive channel five unfortunately. By the way, I have a DVD documentary also made by Tony Palmer, "Toward the unknown region - Malcolm Arnold - A story of Survival". A very good documentary in my opinion. This man evidently knows his business. I am looking forward very much to this VW movie.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Szykneij on August 13, 2007, 10:17:08 AM
My discovery of the day is Vaughan Williams' Introduction and Fugue for Two Pianofortes that he composed in 1946. I'm not sure how many other fugues were previously written specifically for double piano, but the effect is striking.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on August 13, 2007, 10:29:21 AM
Tony, the final movement of the Stravinsky  Concerto per due pianoforti is a Preludio e Fuga
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 13, 2007, 10:31:25 AM
My discovery of the day is Vaughan Williams' Introduction and Fugue for Two Pianofortes that he composed in 1946. I'm not sure how many other fugues were previously written specifically for double piano, but the effect is striking.

Never heard of this. Where did you find it?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Szykneij on August 13, 2007, 10:40:55 AM
Tony, the final movement of the Stravinsky  Concerto per due pianoforti is a Preludio e Fuga

Thanks, Karl. I guess Igor beat Ralph by about 32 years.


Never heard of this. Where did you find it?

An Orion LP recording (ORS 79343) by Evelinde Trenker and Vladimir Pleshakov. Copland's "Danza de Jalisco" and "Dance of the Adolescent" are also on it, as well as the Mendelssohn/Moscheles variations on Weber's "Preciosa". I can't find a date on the record, but the DOLBY indicia's look like 1970's vintage.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2007, 01:27:22 PM
Have been recently listening to Dona Nobis Pacem (Bryden Thomson and Boult recordings).I think that it is one of VW's finest works. Although it is episodic, some sections being composed 25 years apart, it does add up to a great symphonic whole and I believe that this doomed but heartfelt plea for peace, from the 1930s,is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A similarly moving score is John Ireland's contemporaneous "These Things Shall Be" (Lyrita/Chandos).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on August 29, 2007, 01:32:17 PM
Have been recently listening to Dona Nobis Pacem (Bryden Thomson and Boult recordings).I think that it is one of VW's finest works. Although it is episodic, some sections being composed 25 years apart, it does add up to a great symphonic whole and I believe that this doomed but heartfelt plea for peace, from the 1930s,is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Agreed. I'm not a big RVW fan but I've liked this piece for a long time. I never find the 25-year gap between sections a problem, there's still a unity of message in the work's diversity of style.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2007, 01:49:54 PM
Agreed. I'm not a big RVW fan but I've liked this piece for a long time. I never find the 25-year gap between sections a problem, there's still a unity of message in the work's diversity of style.

Yes, I agree. It was great to attend a live performance in London a year or two back. This and Sancta Civitas are his finest choral works, although the largely unknown Epithalamion, from towards the end of the composer's life is a beautiful score. I love the end of Hodie but find it otherwise a little rambling.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on August 30, 2007, 03:29:36 AM
Sorry, but I am coming to this thread rather late in the day and so many of you have already discussed the different versions of the VW symphonies and other compositions. I am however excited to hear about the forthcoming TV documentary!

We are talking about the man who has been my favourite composer now for over forty years. I honestly believe that VW is one of the towering figures of 20th century music. If, as indicated, a number of people interviewed in the new film acknowledge his influence and genious then that is heart-warming! There is no doubting the incredible contribution made by Elgar in putting Britain much more firmly back on the musical map after the domination of German music in the 19th century and I would not for one moment seek to diminish the greatness of Elgar's two symphonies, the violin and cello concertos, the Dream of Gerontius or the Enigma Variations(for example) but it is high time indeed that the genius of Vaughan Williams was equally proclaimed. There is a consistent profoundity of utterance and expression across his oeuvre from the Tallis Fantasia through half a century to the 9th symphony which is quite breathtaking. His cycle of nine symphonies is one of the most consistently inspired in all 20th century music. The London Symphony, the Pastoral, the 5th-again only for example-move me to tears every time I hear them. The sheer power of works like the 4th and 6th symphonies are shattering in their impact. So too is that incredibly underperformed masterpiece Job. In these compositions VW's mastery of the orchestra is demonstrated to the highest degree.

But, as others have said, there are equally profound and incredibly moving smaller works like The Lark Ascending or Flos Campi and splendid cantatas like Sancta Civitas and Dona Nobis Pacem which exemplify the visionary qualities of VW's art. I am not really much of an opera lover but, as has been noted, VW composed the seldom heard short opera "Riders to the Sea" based on the play by the Irish dramatist J.M.Synge. In only 36 minutes or so of understated writing VW conjured all of the heart-rending tragedy of that play in the most beautiful and affecting music imagineable.

The image of the benign and cuddly old teddy bear, favourite uncle-the very personification of the 'cowpat' school of English composers
that has-to a considerable extent-bedevilled VW's reputation needs to be dispelled once and for all. If the forthcoming documentary can help achieve that-and I am amazed that a film of such length is being made at all-then all power to its elbow. There is absolutely no reason why music of this quality cannot 'travel' any more than the distinctively nordic music of Sibelius should appeal only to Finns!
Maybe the apparent rule that a composer's music goes into some kind of critical and popular recession after his death for about 20 years or so has been extended slightly longer for Vaughan Williams but there are a huge number of recordings now of his music and enormously distinguished cycles of his symphonies by a wide range of fine conductors. Perhaps the final breakthrough to proper critical acclaim is just round the corner? Recently we have had recordings of a number of the less well known choral works like "Willow-Wood", "The Sons of Light", "On Christmas Night" and "The First Nowell"(Oh, and what about the "Folk Songs of the Four Seasons" -a choral work which has not yet been recorded?)

Apologies if I have gone on too long but my enthusiasm for this great composer knows no bounds!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 30, 2007, 12:37:48 PM
I just listened to Sancta Civitas in the David Willcocks/John Shirley-Quirk version on EMI. It has to be one of Vaughan Williams's greatest works; breathtakingly beautiful in places. I am only aware of one other recording conducted by Rozhdestvensky on the now defunct BBC Radio Classics; an interesting CD coupled with a fine performance of Symphony 5.

One either responds to the music of Vaughan Williams or one does not. Those who do not, as Dundonnell points out, tend to identify it as "cow pat" music. Thomas Beecham did not seem to have too much time for Vaughan Williams, apparently proclaiming "It's the city life for me", after giving a rare performance of A Pastoral Symphony, although I do rather enjoy the description of this symphony, given by another critic, as symbolising "Vaughan Williams rolling over and over in a ploughed field on a wet day".

But, there is much more to Vaughan Williams than this and whilst works like the Sixth and Ninth symphonies do (to me at least) bring to mind images of the bleaker landscapes of England, they are, as Dundonnell suggests, profound philosophical works which raise fundamental questions, I believe, about the nature of human existence.

I was fortunate to hear a very fine performance of Sancta Civitas, a few years ago, at the church in Hove, Sussex where Vaughan Williams married his first wife Adeline in 1897.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on August 30, 2007, 01:53:01 PM
I have the Willcocks version of Sancta Civitas but I also have a version conducted by Richard Hickox, coupled with Dona Nobis Pacem, issued in 1993 in the EMI British Composers series.

Hickox seems to have had rather a mixed press from contributors to this thread as far as his recordings of the symphonies are concerned.
I would agree that not all of his recent recordings have fully convinced me. Haitink, Handley in the 5th, Andrew Davis in the 6th, Boult, Thomson have sometimes appeared to go deeper into different individual pieces. We ought however, I think, give all due praise to Hickox for the fantastic work he has done and is continuing to do for British music-including VW. Although he is spending a lot of time now at the Australian Opera I hope that he will continue to record as much British music as possible. It is a fairly sad reflection that only two professional symphony orchestras in Britain(the Halle and Ulster orchestras) currently employ British musical directors!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 30, 2007, 11:27:14 PM
I have the Willcocks version of Sancta Civitas but I also have a version conducted by Richard Hickox, coupled with Dona Nobis Pacem, issued in 1993 in the EMI British Composers series.

Hickox seems to have had rather a mixed press from contributors to this thread as far as his recordings of the symphonies are concerned.
I would agree that not all of his recent recordings have fully convinced me. Haitink, Handley in the 5th, Andrew Davis in the 6th, Boult, Thomson have sometimes appeared to go deeper into different individual pieces. We ought however, I think, give all due praise to Hickox for the fantastic work he has done and is continuing to do for British music-including VW. Although he is spending a lot of time now at the Australian Opera I hope that he will continue to record as much British music as possible. It is a fairly sad reflection that only two professional symphony orchestras in Britain(the Halle and Ulster orchestras) currently employ British musical directors!

Yes, I forgot about the Hickox recording (which I have in my collection!). VW fans owe Hickox a great deal for the first recording of the original version of the London Symphony. Whatever the symphony gained, in terms of structure, through the revisions VW made to it up until 1936, I feel it lost in poetic atmosphere. Opinions differ, but I feel that the section which VW excised just before the epilogue was one of his finest inspirations and it is wonderful to have it restored in the Hickox recording. Hickox is strong in Dona Nobis Pacem, Sancta Civital but also, I think, in his recording of A Pastoral Symphony, Symphony 4 and Symphony 5. No 6 and 8 was a disappointment. No 6 is difficult to get right..only a few have achieved it (Boult on Decca and Dutton, Stokowsky on Cala, Abravanel on Vanguard, Thomson on Chandos, Barbirolli on Orfeo, Berglund on EMI (sadly unavailable) and Haitink on EMI.) Andrew Davis's recording is also good.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 27, 2007, 05:11:29 AM
Hi people,

I'm a bloody RVW newbie.

1. What orchestral works (I generally like works for big orchestras) would you recommend to start with?

My listening preferences are nordish composers (Sibelius, Pettersson), Bruckner and Mahler. No need to mention Beethoven.

2. I've listened to sym. #7 and the London Symphony once a bit. Both reminded me of Rautavaaras Cantus Arcticus. Is Rautavaara a Williams clone? Or vice versa? ;)

3. How do I spell "vaughan" and is this a second surname?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 27, 2007, 06:07:22 AM
1. What orchestral works (I generally like works for big orchestras) would you recommend to start with?

Symphonies no.5 and 6 (for the contrasting moods) and the Tallis fantasia. Many good recordings, so it's difficult to recommend specific ones, and some of my favourites are parts of cycles (although all the best currently available RVW cycles are budget priced) - others may be able to help.

2. I've listened to sym. #7 and the London Symphony once a bit. Both reminded me of Rautavaaras Cantus Arcticus. Is Rautavaara a Williams clone? Or vice versa? ;)

I doubt that they knew very much about each others work, if any. There was a lot of cross-pollination between Sibelius and several British composers including RVW (Bantock commissioned Sibelius's 3rd, IIRC, RVW dedicated his 5th to Sibelius, etc), but other than inspiration, there aren't any composers I have heard who resemble even Sibelius particularly closely, much less other Nordic ones.

3. How do I spell "vaughan" and is this a second surname?

I don't want to be presumptuous, but do you mean pronounce rather than spell (as spellings are easy to find online)? If so, then it is pronounced much like faun (vawn). Vaughan and Williams are both his surname, usually it would be hyphenated but with his name it isn't.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 27, 2007, 06:29:33 AM
Oops, yes, I meant "pronounce", thx.
I'm currently giving the Tallis Fantasia a try, it's by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos/LSO, just have downloaded it from emusic. In the (german) wikipedia article I read this piece is one of his most popular ones.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 27, 2007, 06:37:10 AM
I'm currently giving the Tallis Fantasia a try, it's by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos/LSO, just have downloaded it from emusic. In the (german) wikipedia article I read this piece is one of his most popular ones.

It's certainly his most well-known work (even Karajan performed it, I think I recall M mentioning), and very interesting, too. His other "major" (in terms of popularity) orchestral work which isn't a symphony is the Lark Ascending, a violin concerto of sorts.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 27, 2007, 09:28:28 AM
It's certainly his most well-known work (even Karajan performed it, I think I recall M mentioning)

Furtwängler, Ormandy and Toscanini did, too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 27, 2007, 10:27:08 AM
Thanks so far, haven't had much time this evening, but listened to the fantasia of a tallis theme 2 times. It's very beautiful and I'm looking forward on listening to it again. Oh and I love the end, where the main melody is played solo by a violin... Just beautiful. :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Bonehelm on September 27, 2007, 03:40:30 PM
Furtwängler, Ormandy and Toscanini, too.

sound67, how do you type those 2 dots on top of the a in Furtwangler's name?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 27, 2007, 06:58:52 PM
We have those regular letters (in german/austria/suisse äöüÄÖÜß) on german language keyboards, just a keypress here, ä is to the left of #. If you're on Windows: try ALT+0228 (alternatively look into Start -> Run -> charmap).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 28, 2007, 09:19:41 AM
Can you name some attributes/overall mood of any single symphony? Example: after a quick (incomplete) listen to the No. 7 (antarctica) I think the Antarctica is mysterious. It's easier to have a pretty easy description at first and finding all gems, exceptions and details later...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on September 28, 2007, 12:40:16 PM
Can you name some attributes/overall mood of any single symphony? Example: after a quick (incomplete) listen to the No. 7 (antarctica) I think the Antarctica is mysterious. It's easier to have a pretty easy description at first and finding all gems, exceptions and details later...
Incidentally, in case you look up a recording it's Sinfonia Antartica.   It was adapted from his music for the Scott of the Antarctic film.


Just a personal view, I still hold the Barbirolli recording in high esteem. 

(and I wish it wouldn't keep bl**dy telling me "last edited" five seconds after I post something then go back (this time by accident and changed nothing), so I'm adding this bit just to justify the last edit line). 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on September 28, 2007, 01:55:47 PM
Hi people,

I'm a bloody RVW newbie.

1. What orchestral works (I generally like works for big orchestras) would you recommend to start with?

My listening preferences are nordish composers (Sibelius, Pettersson), Bruckner and Mahler. No need to mention Beethoven.

2. I've listened to sym. #7 and the London Symphony once a bit. Both reminded me of Rautavaaras Cantus Arcticus. Is Rautavaara a Williams clone? Or vice versa? ;)

3. How do I spell "vaughan" and is this a second surname?

Hello Wurstwasser!

If you like the music of Sibelius, Pettersson, Bruckner and Mahler, then I would suggest that you try Vaughan Williams symphonies Nos. 4 and 6. Both of which are big, dramatic works-some people think that the 4th is an angry work which reflects the tensions and fears of the 1930s while the 6th is an bitter reflection on the end of the war and the fears for the future of mankind caused by the new atomic age, although VW himself was dismissive of such extra-musical interpretations! The last movement of the 6th never rises above pianissimo and is hauntingly and eerily beautiful. (I particularly like Andrew Davis's version with the BBC Symphony Orchestra).

You should also try VW's underrated 9th symphony, which is a very substantial, enigmatic work, and 'Job-A Masque for Dancing', which is an incredibly powerful work using a very large orchestra, including a thunderous organ episode, to tremendous effect.

As has been said many times on this thread, you can't really go too far wrong with versions of these works. VW has, at least, been extremely fortunate to have so many very successful interpretations by a number of excellent conductors!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 28, 2007, 11:50:58 PM
Furtwängler, Ormandy and Toscanini did, too.

The Furtwängler must be fascinating - I will look out for it.

Can you name some attributes/overall mood of any single symphony? Example: after a quick (incomplete) listen to the No. 7 (antarctica) I think the Antarctica is mysterious. It's easier to have a pretty easy description at first and finding all gems, exceptions and details later...

RVW's symphony cycle does have quite a wide range of explicit moods and styles, but his final three symphonies (IMO) would all fall under the "mysterious" description. This is perhaps partly because the first six can have a programmatic "theme" forced on all of them in some way or another (although RVW would not approve of this). The 8th and 9th I have particular difficulty "pinning down", but to me, this is a good thing, as it makes them less one-dimensional. The beginning of the 9th sounds a little threatening, but it is not as overly "dark" as nos. 4 and 6.

A quick (and subjective) overview: the 1st is a rather standard "dramatic" vocal work, voice-heavy, and slightly oratorio-like. This sounds a little unenthusiastic, but I find it much better than many similar works, and it justifies its length well. The 2nd is playful, colourful and boisterous, with moments of introspection. The 3rd is both beautiful with undercurrents of sadness not found in the 5th. The 4th is RVW's most oppressive sounding work. The 5th is unapologetically beautiful. The 6th is highly dramatic, with contrasts between oppressive and uplifting themes in the first movement, and interestingly structured with the quiet last movement.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 29, 2007, 01:42:44 AM
The Furtwängler must be fascinating - I will look out for it.

He performed the work several times, but, AFAIK, never recorded it.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 29, 2007, 01:47:55 AM
He performed the work several times, but, AFAIK, never recorded it.

Thomas

Agh, curses! I forgot that there isn't a lot of archive material from the era in which he lived - nothing like the amount that broadcasting organisations amassed from the 60s onwards. Thanks for the correction :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Benji on October 08, 2007, 03:41:30 PM
Quote
In the end, of course, it’s the music which speaks to us. Gergiev’s Mariinsky Orchestra provides much of it in specially recorded extracts – all the Symphonies, Job, Tallis, The Lark

I can't believe nobody picked up on that!  ;D The Mariinsky doing RVW; that is going to be interesting! Something worth turning my telly on for I think.

And whilst i'm here: all the listening to the 8th symphony the last few months must have opened up a door in my head and given me access to...ta dah...Hindemith. I've listened to the Mathis der Maler Symphony and the Symphonic Metamorphoses (incidentally, I often I think I could marry Herbert Blomstedt for his services) almost daily for the last two weeks. Bleedin' fantastic music. I'm just waiting for the postal strike to end so I can receive my copy of this: 

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41o0p0KFl0L._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on October 09, 2007, 08:20:58 AM
I'm just waiting for the postal strike to end so I can receive my copy of this

The strikes are screwing me ATM too :-\
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Catison on October 14, 2007, 02:55:29 PM
I can't believe nobody picked up on that!  ;D The Mariinsky doing RVW; that is going to be interesting! Something worth turning my telly on for I think.

And whilst i'm here: all the listening to the 8th symphony the last few months must have opened up a door in my head and given me access to...ta dah...Hindemith. I've listened to the Mathis der Maler Symphony and the Symphonic Metamorphoses (incidentally, I often I think I could marry Herbert Blomstedt for his services) almost daily for the last two weeks. Bleedin' fantastic music. I'm just waiting for the postal strike to end so I can receive my copy of this: 

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41o0p0KFl0L._AA240_.jpg)

Interesting comparison with the 8th.  I hadn't noticed a Hindemith comparison before.  I totally agree about Blomstedt.  I love my Trio set.  Thanks for pointing out this new Abbado set, but have you heard Chailly in the Kammermusik?  I am deciding between him and Abbado.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on October 25, 2007, 04:41:49 AM
I have just read of the death at the great age of 96 of Ursula Vaughan Williams, Ralph's second wife. Ursula was a very considerable figure in her own right. She befriended VW whilst he was living in Dorking and still looking after his invalid first wife and married the composer after the death of his first wife. During VW's own last few years she encouraged his move back to live in London and his 'Indian Summer' of late compositions which include a number of great works such as the 8th and 9th symphonies and 'Hodie'. Ursula provided the words for the Cantata "The Sons of Light" and for a number of VW's other later works. After his death she worked tirelessly to promote VW's music but also, through the RVW Trust, to encourage the promotion of music by other composers.

There are lengthy(and obviously well-merited) obituaries in today's quality British newspapers. I know that vandermolen corresponded with Ursula and no doubt will wish to comment or her passing.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on October 26, 2007, 05:09:43 AM
See also vandermolen's thread in the General Classical Music Discussion section of this site.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on October 27, 2007, 01:27:03 PM
Guild are just issuing (at bargain price) a CD including Koussevitsky conducting Vaughan Williams's 5th Symphony. I can hardly wait to hear this (reviewed in new issue of Gramophone).

http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=3318
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on November 03, 2007, 08:58:56 AM
I just listened to the Guild (budget) CD mentioned above of Vaughan Williams's Symphony 5 conducted by Koussevitsky. It is an absolutely fantastic performance; certainly the most sibelian on disc. It is very different to other recordings; a truly great performance in my opinion. There is also a wonderful warmth (as on vinyl) about the transfer of this live 1947 performance.  Don't miss this.  The Tchaikovsky (Francesca da Rimini) and Mussorgsky (Night on Bare Mountain and Khovanschina orch. excerpt.) are also well worth having.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on November 27, 2007, 10:01:31 AM
It's certainly his most well-known work (even Karajan performed it, I think I recall M mentioning), and very interesting, too.

Yes, wonderful polychoral textures (full strings, vs. a smaller octet, I believe, and a solo quartet) which work best when one is there in the space, from my listening.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on November 27, 2007, 10:08:54 AM
Fascinating, and since it largely reflects my own thinking/experience, naturally I think Michael Kennedy has a pertinent insight here. From his notes to the Haitink/RVW box:

Quote from: Michael Kennedy
During the first 35 years of [Vaughan Williams's] life the leading symphonists in British music were Stanford and Parry, both of whom were his teachers, but it would be a bold critic who could detect their influence on their pupil when it comes to orchestral music.  We can, however, detect a general influence of Elgar on the composer of A Sea Symphony (1903-09) and A London Symphony (1910-13), particularly from The Dream of Gerontius (1900) rather than from the two symphonies of 1908 and 1911.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on November 27, 2007, 10:11:16 AM
Stanford's and Parry's influence upon their pupil is probably more obvious in his Anglical liturgical music, not that this does not also have Vaughan Williams's own personality stamped upon it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on November 28, 2007, 05:00:13 AM
I don't know RVW's Mass, and would welcome comments and recording recommendations.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on November 28, 2007, 05:16:54 AM
I don't know RVW's Mass, and would welcome comments and recording recommendations.

It's a major work IMO, although pretty British in its functionality and less than epic scope. My favourite recording is the recent Hyperion disc coupled with Bingham's mass (a nice discovery in itself). The Naxos disc is good too, but IIRC the sound quality was a bit weird.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on November 28, 2007, 05:38:02 AM
Hmm . . . something had me hesitating over that Naxos title.  I don't have a recording of the Mass, either.  I think it would be a stretch to consider it a major work, save perhaps within Vaughan Williams's Liturgical music bucket (it is certainly more substantial than the many hymns and anthems with which he has graced the Anglican tradition). In a way characteristic of practically everything else he wrote for use in church, all the choristers I know who have sung it, report loving it.

Which could be another reason I am not rushing for a recording;  I wonder if it may be a piece to which I respond better as a participant than as a passive listener.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on November 28, 2007, 05:54:30 AM
I think it would be a stretch to consider it a major work, save perhaps within Vaughan Williams's Liturgical music bucket (it is certainly more substantial than the many hymns and anthems with which he has graced the Anglican tradition). In a way characteristic of practically everything else he wrote for use in church, all the choristers I know who have sung it, report loving it.

Which could be another reason I am not rushing for a recording;  I wonder if it may be a piece to which I respond better as a participant than as a passive listener.

Oops, I definitely meant definitely major in his sacred choral output. That and the Te Deum seem to be the most well-known (the latter is much more often recorded). The Hyperion disc (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/details/67503.asp) has both, along with several other pieces. The TT is over 79 mins, so it's good value for money, even if the mass isn't a favourite (it only lasts 23 mins of that duration).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on November 29, 2007, 03:55:35 AM
The new Naxos recording of Hodie is excellent. The work seems to hang together much more than in the two earlier recording and the recording is streets ahead, especially in relation to the organ contribution. The soloists are all excellent:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Fantasia-Christmas-Carols/dp/B000WPJ6EO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1196286125&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on November 29, 2007, 03:46:33 PM
I understand that Tony Palmer's film about RVW "O Thou Transcendent" will be screened on Channel 5(British TV) on New Year's Day at 12 noon, that it will have received its screen premiere at the Barbican in London on 5th December and that the DVD is now out on Isolde Films(yesterday's Independent newspaper).

Amazon is not yet advertising the DVD. Anyone got any other news?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on November 29, 2007, 11:37:28 PM
I understand that Tony Palmer's film about RVW "O Thou Transcendent" will be screened on Channel 5(British TV) on New Year's Day at 12 noon, that it will have received its screen premiere at the Barbican in London on 5th December and that the DVD is now out on Isolde Films(yesterday's Independent newspaper).

Amazon is not yet advertising the DVD. Anyone got any other news?

Damnit, I get abysmal reception for C5 :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on November 30, 2007, 03:37:40 AM
I understand that Tony Palmer's film about RVW "O Thou Transcendent" will be screened on Channel 5(British TV) on New Year's Day at 12 noon, that it will have received its screen premiere at the Barbican in London on 5th December and that the DVD is now out on Isolde Films(yesterday's Independent newspaper).

Amazon is not yet advertising the DVD. Anyone got any other news?

I ordered it for £10 via the RVW Society (there was a flyer in their last Journal).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 09, 2007, 02:37:32 AM
I understand that Tony Palmer's film about RVW "O Thou Transcendent" will be screened on Channel 5(British TV) on New Year's Day at 12 noon, that it will have received its screen premiere at the Barbican in London on 5th December and that the DVD is now out on Isolde Films(yesterday's Independent newspaper).

Amazon is not yet advertising the DVD. Anyone got any other news?

I have just watched the DVD of "O Thou Transcendent" The Life of Ralph Vaughan Williams over the last couple of days (it lasts over two and a half hours).

It is a beautifully made film and we are not likely to see a better documentary about this composer.  It is difficult to know where to start as it contains so much material but here are some thoughts anyway:

The film starts with some archive film of the great man at a rehearsal (and the same clip returns at the end). Although I have followed the works of Vaughan Williams for 35 years, I have never seen any film of him! There are also some recordings of VW speaking and an actor delivering his autobiographical observations (such as Stanfords remark "All rot my boy" when VW showed him a youthful string quartet that he had agonized over!

The first part of the film contained beautifully filmed (but predictable) sequences, for example, of the English coastline and countryside juxtaposed with (quite lengthy) extracts from "A Sea Symphony", Gloucester Cathedral and the Tallis Fantasia, Nicola Benedetti and The Lark Ascending etc. This reminded me of the approach of Ken Russell in his uncontroversial TV documentary  many years ago. The extracts from symphonies 4,7 and 9 performed by The National Orchestra of Hungarian Radio conducted by Tamas Vasary are outstanding and I hope that they record a cycle one day.

Sian Edwards with the National Youth Orchestra give impassioned performances of lengthy extracts from Job, A London Symphony etc.  There is some wonderful archive film of Boult conducting Symphony 5 and archive interviews with many people, including Imogen Holst, Michael Tippet, (whose early antipathy towards the music of Vaughan Williams was transformed into great admiration and friendship later on). Modern interviews feature Michael Kennedy, Andre Previn, John Adams, Mark Anthony Turnage and Harrison Birthwistle ( whose boyhood visit to Vaughan Williams's house in Dorking is recounted). More surprisingly perhaps, Neil Tennant of the "Pet Shop Boys" and Richard Thompson of "Fairport Convention" discuss their admiration for Vaughan Williams. John adams apparently decided that he wanted to become a composer rather than an engineer after attending his first classical concert in Boston, which opened with the Tallis Fantasia (hearing the Fantasia on Greensleeves was the "Road to Damascus" for Neil Tennant).

I thought that the documentary really came into its own in the second half, with discussions, for example, of Vaughan Williams's attitude to religion (from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, amongst others) and, in particular the sections which deal with Vaughan Williams's 50+years marriage to Adeline and later friendship, relationship and marriage to Ursula Wood, following Adeline's death). Michael Kennedy and Jerrold Northrop Moore have some very interesting observations and revelations here.  This is not simply idle gossip, but directly related to works like the 4th and 5th symphonies.

There is a long sequence of music and movie extracts from "Scott of the Antarctic" and interviews with Jill Balcon, Evelyn Barbirolli, Roy Douglas, Kiffer Finzi etc etc. I was not sure, however, that the sequence juxtaposing parts of the Sixth Symphony with graphic images of modern warfare,horrific images of famine worked. It seemed a bit contrived to me, but others might think differently.

Stephen Johnson's suggestion that the two repeating chords at the end of the Epilogue of the Sixth Symphony were like an "Amen" which finds no resolution, I thought fascinationg and absolutely convincing.

The late Ursula Vaughan Williams's recent appearance and words about Ralph at the end of the documentary, I found extremely moving...a beautiful end to a great documentary about this wonderful composer. If you like his music, you must see it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on December 09, 2007, 07:09:03 AM
Thank you very much for this review Jeffrey. I already had decided to buy this DVD, now even more so. Unfortunately it still is not for sale at Amazon yet but I saw that it is possible to buy directly through Palmer's website. Anyone familiar with that option?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 09, 2007, 10:09:31 AM
Thank you very much for this review Jeffrey. I already had decided to buy this DVD, now even more so. Unfortunately it still is not for sale at Amazon yet but I saw that it is possible to buy directly through Palmer's website. Anyone familiar with that option?

My pleasure Thom.

The following may be of interest too:

http://www.rvwsociety.com/i-frame/tonypalmer.htm

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on December 09, 2007, 10:12:52 AM
I thank you again, Jeffrey. An interesting read.

Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on December 09, 2007, 11:07:50 AM
vandermolen's comprehensive review certainly whets my appetite for watching the film!! Not sure whether to wait until New Year's Day and tape the programme or buy the DVD! Hmm, might do both!

Just one question....the advance publicity said that Gergiev's Mariinsky Orchestra was performing extracts from the symphonies and that was an enticing prospect but vandermolen's review mentions a Hungarian orchestra. No Gergiev?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 09, 2007, 11:10:04 AM
Many thanks, Jeffrey; that's a must-see!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 09, 2007, 03:25:26 PM
Dundonnell, Thom, Karl, I'm sure you will enjoy the documentary. I found an excellent summary below:

http://arts.independent.co.uk/music/features/article3202040.ece

I gather that the BBC will show their own documentary sometime in 2008; the 50th anniversary of the composer's death.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on December 09, 2007, 05:01:50 PM
Reading the publicity blurb for the RVW film I notice that it says that extracts from the symphonies are played by "Gergiev's Mariinsky Orchestra". It doesn't say that the orchestra is actually conducted by Gergiev himself.

However, vandermolen did say that the orchestra was from the Hungarian State Radio conducted by Vaszary.

SO...no Mariinsky?? I would have loved to hear a good Russian orchestra playing VW!!

Answer please!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 11, 2007, 12:55:45 AM
Reading the publicity blurb for the RVW film I notice that it says that extracts from the symphonies are played by "Gergiev's Mariinsky Orchestra". It doesn't say that the orchestra is actually conducted by Gergiev himself.

However, vandermolen did say that the orchestra was from the Hungarian State Radio conducted by Vaszary.

SO...no Mariinsky?? I would have loved to hear a good Russian orchestra playing VW!!

Answer please!!

Back of the DVD box only mentions The National Orchestra of Hungarian Radio (Vasary) and The National Youth Orchestra (Sian Edwards). The only Russian connection with VW that I know of is Rozhdestvensky's fine old BBC Radio Classics recording of Symphony 5 and Sancta Civitas, but that was with the BBC SO.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on December 11, 2007, 03:02:23 AM
Dundonnell, Thom, Karl, I'm sure you will enjoy the documentary. I found an excellent summary below:

http://arts.independent.co.uk/music/features/article3202040.ece

I gather that the BBC will show their own documentary sometime in 2008; the 50th anniversary of the composer's death.

Thanks again Jeffrey. I couldn't wait  ;) so I ordered on Palmer's website. Looking forward to watching this documentary with X-mas.
Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 22, 2007, 01:07:12 AM
Briefly escaped from Christmas shopping with my wife in Brighton yesterday and happened to "find myself" in a classical CD shop  :) Discovered a VW CD of extraordinary interest amongst the new releases, as it features the composer himself conducting his Symphony 5 (Prom concert 1952) and Dona Nobis Pacem (first radio broadcast 1936). There is certainly a Pearl CD of VW conducting Dona Nobis Pacem, which may be the same performance (this one is advertised as "First authorised release)". But the discovery of VW conducting his Symphony 5 is amazing, as it was thought that his famous recording of Symphony 4, was the only one in existence of him conducting his own symphonies. At the same time I boght a copy of International Record Review (December Issue) in which Piers Burton-Page gives a rave review of the CD ("unmissable"). So, this is a release of huge historic interest, and apparently they are wonderful performances of both works, which shine through despite the age of recordings. I insisted that my wife gives this to me as a Christmas present and really look forward to hearing it.  here is a link:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/SOMM071.htm
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on December 22, 2007, 04:20:47 AM
Very nice.  Look forward to your thoughts on this recording.  I've mixed feelings about composers conducting their own works and was considering his fourth.  It was a symphony I didn't like.  I remember thinking it superficial but that could have been the performance - just guessing, it was probably Boult.   I'm about ready to give it another go - not sure if VW's own version is the best start but I'm very tempted with this 5th.   So, hopefully you'll tell more after Christmas! 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 22, 2007, 12:11:02 PM
Very nice.  Look forward to your thoughts on this recording.  I've mixed feelings about composers conducting their own works and was considering his fourth.  It was a symphony I didn't like.  I remember thinking it superficial but that could have been the performance - just guessing, it was probably Boult.   I'm about ready to give it another go - not sure if VW's own version is the best start but I'm very tempted with this 5th.   So, hopefully you'll tell more after Christmas! 

Thanks, yes, of course I'll report back after Christmas. Symphony No 4 has grown on me over the years although it is not my favourite. There's a great Mitropolous recording on Sony and an excellent one from Bernstein and Stokowski (Cala). For some reason, I really like the American conductors in this work (although Stokowski was born in the UK and was a friend ov VW at the Royal College of Music). For those in the UK don't forget about the very interesting two and a half hour TV documentary about the composer, which is being shown on New Year's Day.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 22, 2007, 03:31:10 PM
I first heard the Fifth back when my ears were hungry after other things, where I first listened to the Fourth when I was already attuned to Vaughan Williams's vibrational fields, as it were.  — Just to explain that it isn't an 'even comparison' — as it was, maybe it was the fourth or fifth hearing that I enjoyed the Fifth on its own terms, where I liked the Fourth first I heard it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on December 22, 2007, 03:38:05 PM
I first heard the Fifth back when my ears were hungry after other things, where I first listened to the Fourth when I was already attuned to Vaughan Williams's vibrational fields, as it were.  — Just to explain that it isn't an 'even comparison' — as it was, maybe it was the fourth or fifth hearing that I enjoyed the Fifth on its own terms, where I liked the Fourth first I heard it.
I can pretty much copy that.

I found the Fourth and Sixth to be the easiest of RVW's symphonies to love--they clicked almost immediately (the Sixth I recognized as a masterpiece on first listen, the Fourth within a couple more). The Fifth I do like, but I don't think I've ever regarded it as quite on the level of its companions--that, however, probably reflects my taste in music as much as anything.

The RVW symphony that I wish got a better press is the Third, which seems often written off as "cowpat music". I took quite a while to understand it, but now find it a deeply disturbing work with some extremely angry emotions hidden behind the pastoral facade.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 22, 2007, 03:40:28 PM
The RVW symphony that I wish got a better press is the Third, which seems often written off as "cowpat music". I took quite a while to understand it, but now find it a deeply disturbing work with some extremely angry emotions hidden behind the pastoral facade.

Really a great piece.  That's one I liked right off, though I still cannot really find the right words for it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: techniquest on December 22, 2007, 11:35:02 PM
Quote
For those in the UK don't forget about the very interesting two and a half hour TV documentary about the composer, which is being shown on New Year's Day.

Don't get too sloshed on New Years Eve; the docu is on at 9:00 in the morning! So if you want to record it without all those annoying ad-breaks (like I do), you'll have to be up early :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 23, 2007, 02:53:48 AM
Michael Kennedy, the VW expert and friend of the composer (who features in the TV documentary) regards !A Pastoral Symphony" as the greatest one. Personally No 6 and 9 are my favouriyes and No 6 one of the great masterpieces of 20th century music. it combines the violence of No 4 and spirituality of No 5 and is a true epic synthesis. ..enough of my pseudo-intellectual comments...it is still great.

My least favourite was No 1 "A Sea symphony" but after watching the documentary (in which it has a high profile), i have been changing my view and coming to see its great qualities.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Guido on December 23, 2007, 08:51:19 AM
Does anyone know anything about the unfinished cello concerto that he composed in his last few months of his life. I don;t think anyone has produced a completion or if a completion is even possible. I don't know who it was composed for either. I'm not talking about the Fantastia on Sussex Folk tunes composed for Casals in the early 30s - (which he planned to expand into a full cocnerto but didn't. One of his least interesting works I think).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 24, 2007, 01:13:13 AM
Does anyone know anything about the unfinished cello concerto that he composed in his last few months of his life. I don;t think anyone has produced a completion or if a completion is even possible. I don't know who it was composed for either. I'm not talking about the Fantastia on Sussex Folk tunes composed for Casals in the early 30s - (which he planned to expand into a full cocnerto but didn't. One of his least interesting works I think).

I rather like that work (Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes) but maybe that's just because I live in Sussex! Have seen a photo of some of the sketches of the Cello Concerto but nothing more.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on December 24, 2007, 04:44:32 AM
Difficult to pick a favourite VW symphony! The Pastoral, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th are all masterpieces in their different ways and I love them all.
However, I have tremendous affection also for the London Symphony which, in the context of its time of composition, seems to me to be a fantastic achievement. It is so immensely redolent of the passing of an age-the time of Victorian/Edwardian self-confidence and security. The last movement I find almost unbearably moving.

I also have a lot of time for the less well-regarded(by some) Sinfonia Antarctica(No.7). Polar exploration-and particularly the final Scott Expedition to the South Pole-has always interested me. The tragic futility of that journey barely redeemed by the heroism of the dying participants is captured with such eerie pognancy in the symphony that it has always moved me to tears. It may not-strictly speaking-be a symphony at all but who really cares!

(Incidentally, VW as conductor has brought on an idea for another thread!)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on December 24, 2007, 05:27:12 AM
I've always been happy with the 7th.  It's origins never put me off and I'd guess a lowering of regard, if true, concerns its programme.  Still, Beethoven did one like that and no one complains too much.   

My single aggro is that a score isn't available (so, please, if any members know of a source of the score, let me know.  Thanks).  The orchestration, the voice(s) and application of the organ convince me.  The instrumentation of the opening could not be better.   Perhaps if he hadn't included the wind machine critics may have responded differently.  They do dislike people threatening their roles as windbags. ;)

Perhaps I'm just not listening to it with the word "symphony" blazing in my mind.     
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 24, 2007, 05:42:42 AM
I have no problems with the Sinfonia antartica.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on December 24, 2007, 06:03:49 AM
I have no problems with the Sinfonia antartica.

Oh yes, I forgot that there was the spelling issue!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 24, 2007, 06:06:44 AM
That's the joy of English;  if you can't think of at least two ways to spell something, you're not sufficiently creative  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on December 24, 2007, 06:42:38 AM
Except that Sinfonia Antartica is Italian. 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 24, 2007, 06:45:36 AM
No matter, an English speaker does not withhold his spelling creativity from any land or tongue.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 24, 2007, 11:08:07 AM
Difficult to pick a favourite VW symphony! The Pastoral, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th are all masterpieces in their different ways and I love them all.
However, I have tremendous affection also for the London Symphony which, in the context of its time of composition, seems to me to be a fantastic achievement. It is so immensely redolent of the passing of an age-the time of Victorian/Edwardian self-confidence and security. The last movement I find almost unbearably moving.

I also have a lot of time for the less well-regarded(by some) Sinfonia Antarctica(No.7). Polar exploration-and particularly the final Scott Expedition to the South Pole-has always interested me. The tragic futility of that journey barely redeemed by the heroism of the dying participants is captured with such eerie pognancy in the symphony that it has always moved me to tears. It may not-strictly speaking-be a symphony at all but who really cares!

(Incidentally, VW as conductor has brought on an idea for another thread!)

I also have a grim fascination with  British polar disasters and have read many books on the Scott expedition, as a result I like the Antartica Symphony and must agree with you too about A London Symphony and its finale (especially in the restored section, towards the end that Vaughan Williams (mistakenly in my view) excised later on. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 24, 2007, 11:23:33 AM
I'm coming a bit late to this thread, but a mighty interesting read it is!

My RVW favourites - Symphonies 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, - Flos Campi - A Serenade to Music - Job - the Piano Concerto - The Lark Ascending - Tallis Fantasia.

I like the Second for its almost jazzy city atmosphere, which predates Gershwin (American in Paris), the enchanting slow movement and the catastrophic Finale (the original version is indeed even stronger here). The Third is an all-out masterpiece, RVW's 'War Requiem' as my good friend Christo says. The Fourth is wonderful for its dark-and-light, its alternation of grimness and vision. The Sixth is the second all-out masterpiece. The Eighth entrances with its sound-world where an almost childlike playfulness sits next to wise and weary introspection. The Ninth is a nobly-cryptic conclusion.

It's a pity I can't see the documentary here in the Netherlands...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on December 27, 2007, 10:06:07 AM
My copy of 'O Thou Transcendent', the film by Tony Palmer about life and works of Ralph Vaughan Williams, arrived om the 24th. An impressive documentary which I can heartily recommend to the RVW fans (it will be broadcasted on Channel Five on new years day so I gather but no chance to see that channel in the Netherlands). Touching to see the man himself on film.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 27, 2007, 10:08:21 AM
Good to see that Sinterklaas did the right thing by you!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on December 27, 2007, 10:11:44 AM
yes he was just in time ho ho ho  :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 27, 2007, 10:23:15 AM
oh yeah, almost forgot.....

just finished my set of Vaugan Williams symphonies, conducted by Previn. I can't say everything after one listening, but I have a few thoughts.

i have mixed feelings about his music- it can either be gloriously mysterious or boring (sounding like film music).... it mixes between the two very often, back and forth. My favorites are the 2nd and 6th, least favorite possibly the 8th. I was interested in getting this set possibly ever since i read the review Karl wrote about concert playing the 6th... as for the last movement, i see what Karl meant (and even the writer of the liner notes, who also sounded enthusiastic).... that one obviously belongs to the "glorious mysteriousness" of his music  0:) (possibly my favorite movement of the whole set)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on December 27, 2007, 03:23:39 PM
I have today played my new CD of Vaughan Williams conducts his own Fifth Symphony and Dona Nobis Pacem.  One critic has described this recording of Symphony No 5 as the best performance of any Vaughan Williams symphony on record. It is certainly one of the greatest, as it possesses an eloquence and insight unlike any other version of this work (a recently released Koussevitsky performance is similarly insightful in a more sibelian way). If you are attuned to this music, you have to hear this performance. The opening and closing movements have a concentrated power that I have not heard elsewhere and, throughout the work there is a greater warmth than is conveyed in other recordings 9and there are many). The 1952 recording (1936 in the case of Dona Nobis Pacem) has been successfully remastered and the occasional surface noise does not detract from a revelatory performance from the 1952 Proms in London. Strongly recommended to all VW fans.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sydney Grew on December 27, 2007, 10:41:54 PM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on December 27, 2007, 10:46:57 PM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.


Who is 'we'?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on December 27, 2007, 10:52:28 PM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.


do you recommend another instrument to play the saxophone line? or should that line not exist?

I couldn't disagree more with your (plural) opinion(s) on the fourth movement. It may be one of the most beautiful movements I've ever heard.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on December 28, 2007, 12:16:07 AM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.

I think VW knew what he was up to and chose the saxophone probably to give the line a malign sneering tone.  No matter what you think, he heard this work performed suffuciently to reach the decision in spite of several revisions made to the movement.   He was notorious for making adjustments during rehearsal and would have allocated the part elsewhere if he wanted a different result.  As for the last movement, problems occur more in interpretation and in at least one spot I think he did instruct rather poorly in the score.   But again, the fact is that he rehearsed and heard the work often in his lifetime, was friends with people who conducted it, so presumably we have to recognise that, as composer, it was what he wanted.   
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on December 28, 2007, 03:05:52 AM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.


A juvenile criticism. BTW, it's Dr. VAUGHAN Williams. You don't even know that, how would you understand the music?

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sydney Grew on December 28, 2007, 03:44:15 AM
A juvenile criticism. By the way, it's Dr. VAUGHAN Williams. You don't even know that, how would you understand the music?

Juvenile? That must be a recommendation rather than anything else must it not. And perhaps the member might care just to cast an eye upon the appended pages, wherein he will note the appearance of the phrase "Dr. Williams" not once, but two times! Evidently the may we say overconfident Member has not previously encountered the expression . . .

(http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w164/sydgrew/DoctorW.jpg)

As far as understanding the music is concerned, we who have so many hours of study behind us do despite what the Member says manage to accomplish that quite well too thank you. We can no doubt tell the group all kinds of new things about it!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on December 28, 2007, 09:20:58 AM
so

uh...

you want me to post every page I can find that says Dr. Vaughan Williams?

Or do I have to add more boldprint on words of emphasis so you can understand that?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 28, 2007, 09:30:10 AM
so

uh...

you want me to post every page I can find that says Dr. Vaughan Williams?

Or do I have to add more boldprint on words of emphasis so you can understand that?

Be on your guard adding more boldprint! Remember the famous line from the Zork computer game? "It is pitch black, you are likely to be eaten by a Grue"...

Jez
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on December 28, 2007, 09:40:09 AM
HA!  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 28, 2007, 09:48:59 AM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste.

Look, when you mean "I", say "I", all right?  You're coming across as pompous and fatuous.

That said, it is not only your use of The Allegedly Modest We which is pompous and fatuous in these remarks.  What you cannot abide, and what you feel, do not compromise the "perfection" of the symphony;  those are just snares unto your own sonic feet.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 01:43:05 PM
The Sixth Symphony of Dr. Williams is on the whole pleasant to listen to but by no means perfect. We have no objection to its rumpty-tumpty second subject, but cannot abide the saxophone solo, which is we feel a gross error of taste. The only further point we might make here is that the final movement does seem to go on rather too long. Perhaps if the thematic material were more memorable - more beautiful - we would not so much mind the length.

you're hilarious!  :D
in fact, you're making me laugh uncontrollably for extended periods of time.... We have no objections to that, sir!  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 28, 2007, 01:47:05 PM
Rumpty-tumpty is sooooo last century.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 01:52:42 PM
We have no objections to Thai prostitutes because they emit good vibrational fields.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 01:53:58 PM
We have no objections to Thai prostitutes because they emit good vibrational fields.
my new signature......

anyways, what's strange about the last movement of RVW's 6th is that despite being quiet and 10 min. long, it was over before i knew it! And we don't think the thematic material isn't beautiful because it is!  >:(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 28, 2007, 02:05:35 PM
Syd wouldn't think the last movement too long, if there was more rumpty-tumpty bits.

We I don't think the Sixth Symphony at all too long.

Nope, not at all.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 28, 2007, 02:13:14 PM
We loves it too, the preciousss Sixth symphony by Dr. Williamsss.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 02:22:45 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on December 28, 2007, 02:55:36 PM
I second the  ;D as originally posted by Greg. I can't read one of Syd's posts without thinking of golum or smeagol or whatever his name is.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Montpellier on December 28, 2007, 03:11:41 PM
We think the thikth thymphony ith thikty-thikth perthent thucthethful.

Itth the firtht that putths uth to thleep.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on December 28, 2007, 04:46:31 PM
We can no doubt tell the group all kinds of new things about it!

Kindly keep your "observations" to yourself.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on December 28, 2007, 04:53:17 PM
yourself.
ourselves.







....(and that's what he's doing)...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: longears on December 28, 2007, 05:05:11 PM
We can no doubt tell the group all kinds of new things about it!

Promises, promises....   ::)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Pierre on January 01, 2008, 12:41:49 PM
Juvenile? That must be a recommendation rather than anything else must it not. And perhaps the member might care just to cast an eye upon the appended pages, wherein he will note the appearance of the phrase "Dr. Williams" not once, but two times! Evidently the may we say overconfident Member has not previously encountered the expression . . .

(http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w164/sydgrew/DoctorW.jpg)

As far as understanding the music is concerned, we who have so many hours of study behind us do despite what the Member says manage to accomplish that quite well too thank you. We can no doubt tell the group all kinds of new things about it!


I'm not quite sure what you're trying to prove by scanning pages from a book by one Sydney Grew,  published by T.N. Foulis Ltd (Edinburgh and London) 'in October Nineteen hundred and twenty-two' (so the copyright page says in my copy, bought at some second hand bookshop or other as no doubt yours was). You're almost certainly a troll, but clearly one more amusing than annoying.  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on January 01, 2008, 12:46:06 PM
. . . but clearly one more amusing than annoying.  ;)

Oh, verily, yea!  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on January 01, 2008, 02:52:42 PM
Maybe he's Eric 2.0? Like an Eric that has transformed?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 02, 2008, 03:07:45 AM
Sorry to interrupt the cheery banter but did anyone see the TV documentary on New Year's Day? (UK)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on January 02, 2008, 03:42:49 AM
I bought myself the DVD Jeffrey, since Channel 5 is not on my cable. I was not dissapointed, it is a remarkable documentary. Amazing (and admirable) that the TV people are willing to broadcast this film of more than 2 hours length for - probably - a limited audience.

Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 02, 2008, 04:53:57 AM
I bought myself the DVD Jeffrey, since Channel 5 is not on my cable. I was not dissapointed, it is a remarkable documentary. Amazing (and admirable) that the TV people are willing to broadcast this film of more than 2 hours length for - probably - a limited audience.

Thom

I agree Thom. I wonder if the BBC (who rejected the documentary) will do their own tribute in due course. Classic FM featured Vaughan Williams yesterday but, much as I love the work, I do not want to hear "The Lark Ascending" over and over again!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on January 02, 2008, 07:48:33 AM
Sorry to interrupt the cheery banter but did anyone see the TV documentary on New Year's Day? (UK)

Half of it.

What a ridiculous time to have it on? Channel 5, though.

It should be repeated once a day for at least a week so that anyone who wants can record it!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on January 02, 2008, 08:36:29 AM
I put a video into my machine and began taping at 9.00am only to find that the tape I had inserted was in fact a pre-recorded film.
Fortunately for the film it was not erased but the VW programme was of course not taped either!
(Blames New Year's celebrations the night before!)

I did not watch the film since I was trying to catch up on lost sleep. Calamity all round!!

Never mind...will just have to buy the DVD now.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 02, 2008, 11:48:36 AM
I put a video into my machine and began taping at 9.00am only to find that the tape I had inserted was in fact a pre-recorded film.
Fortunately for the film it was not erased but the VW programme was of course not taped either!
(Blames New Year's celebrations the night before!)

I did not watch the film since I was trying to catch up on lost sleep. Calamity all round!!

Never mind...will just have to buy the DVD now.


 :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on January 13, 2008, 09:23:09 AM

     I think the saxophones in the 6th (and the 9th) are wonderful. They also have a leading role in Job. Perhaps RVW intended the profane associations produced in the listeners mind. He must have had his reasons. Anyway, they sound great.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: rw1883 on January 18, 2008, 09:15:25 AM
I'm starting my Vaughan Williams journey this week beginning with the symphonies.  I'm already familiar with symphonies 1, 2, & 5; the Lark Ascending, Thomas Tallis, Job, and a few other pieces. 

Following the advice of a few members from this thread I bought complete symphonies by Boult (EMI & Decca), Haitink, Previn, and Handley.  I'm probably in the minority, but I have to say that "A Sea Symphony" is a great beginning to VW's cycle!  I'm listening to the Haitink and it's amazing (not that I don't like the Boult from both sets).  The more I listen to this symphony, the more I appreciate and love it (and I still haven't heard the Previn and Handley).  Any other suggestions on #1?  I've read good things about Spano.

I have a bad habit of re-listening to performances/interpretations so this venture might take awhile...thanks again for the many suggestions.

Paul
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 09:19:14 AM
I have a bad habit of re-listening to performances/interpretations

Why is that a bad habit, Paul?  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 18, 2008, 09:35:36 AM
I'm starting my Vaughan Williams journey this week beginning with the symphonies.  I'm already familiar with symphonies 1, 2, & 5; the Lark Ascending, Thomas Tallis, Job, and a few other pieces. 

Following the advice of a few members from this thread I bought complete symphonies by Boult (EMI & Decca), Haitink, Previn, and Handley.  I'm probably in the minority, but I have to say that "A Sea Symphony" is a great beginning to VW's cycle!  I'm listening to the Haitink and it's amazing (not that I don't like the Boult from both sets).  The more I listen to this symphony, the more I appreciate and love it (and I still haven't heard the Previn and Handley).  Any other suggestions on #1?  I've read good things about Spano.

I have a bad habit of re-listening to performances/interpretations so this venture might take awhile...thanks again for the many suggestions.

Paul

I like the Handley Sea Symphony and the Naxos recording.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on January 20, 2008, 11:26:32 AM
I like the Handley Sea Symphony and the Naxos recording.

     Both are very good, with a slight edge to Handley, IMO. The Boult/EMI would get a higher rating with me if there wasn't a problem with the recorded sound of the baritone. There's a megaphone quality to it. Otherwise I think it would be ranked with the best.
     
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 22, 2008, 06:13:56 AM
     I think the saxophones in the 6th (and the 9th) are wonderful. They also have a leading role in Job. Perhaps RVW intended the profane associations produced in the listeners mind. He must have had his reasons. Anyway, they sound great.

I don't have any profane associations with the saxophone. I think it's a wonderful instrument and am charmed that RVW made such effective use of it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 06:54:32 AM
I don't have any profane associations with the saxophone. I think it's a wonderful instrument and am charmed that RVW made such effective use of it.

Hugo Alfvén made haunting use of the soprano saxophone in his Third Swedish Rhapsody. No jazz or profane associations in sight (or within hearing).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on January 22, 2008, 03:23:11 PM


     I didn't mean profane as bad, just popular or common as opposed to sacred, for instance.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 22, 2008, 06:51:43 PM
I don't have any profane associations with the saxophone. I think it's a wonderful instrument and am charmed that RVW made such effective use of it.

 The 6th , as well as the 4th are powerful testimonies of Vaughan Williams ability to tap into modern modalities of disonnance. I happen to love all the syms, even the 1st , which some over at amazon chat board has dubbed a  'dud', 'un-listenable"...but i wonder if the poem 's content (mentions God)has something underlying about these strong resistances... ::). The finale of the 1st does lose some steam, but the work is engaging and the Walt Whitman poem is very imaginative. i love the poem.

You guys ought to consider hearing VW's concerto for...TUBA!

i caught it on the radio one day and was very impressed,  VW's has the Tuba playing  his usual lovely passages. There's 2 or 3 recordings, can't recall the excellent one i heard.
I need to order that concerto myself, and soon.
The finest complete set IMHO is the Thomson/London. I've heard various others, the Thomson is my definitive favorite. The London SO  played their hearts out for Thomson. when a  orch really likes the conductor, this atmosphere of comradiere shows up in the recording. Like what the Columbia did for Bruno Walter.
Also   love Barbirolli's 5th/Philharmonia.
Did once sort of, , but not now do i like the Lark Ascending.  NPR plays it all the time
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2008, 11:57:38 PM
The 6th , as well as the 4th are powerful testimonies of Vaughan Williams ability to tap into modern modalities of disonnance. I happen to love all the syms, even the 1st , which some over at amazon chat board has dubbed a  'dud', 'un-listenable"...but i wonder if the poem 's content (mentions God)has something underlying about these strong resistances... ::). The finale of the 1st does lose some steam, but the work is engaging and the Walt Whitman poem is very imaginative. i love the poem.

You guys ought to consider hearing VW's concerto for...TUBA!

i caught it on the radio one day and was very impressed,  VW's has the Tuba playing  his usual lovely passages. There's 2 or 3 recordings, can't recall the excellent one i heard.
I need to order that concerto myself, and soon.
The finest complete set IMHO is the Thomson/London. I've heard various others, the Thomson is my definitive favorite. The London SO  played their hearts out for Thomson. when a  orch really likes the conductor, this atmosphere of comradiere shows up in the recording. Like what the Columbia did for Bruno Walter.
Also   love Barbirolli's 5th/Philharmonia.
Did once sort of, , but not now do i like the Lark Ascending.  NPR plays it all the time

Agree with you and nice to see someone appreciating Bryden Thomson, a much underrated conductor in my view.  His VW No 6 was BBC Music Guide 1000 best CDs choice for this work. Barbirolli's Philharmonia Symphony 5 (EMI) is the best, although you must hear the newly released versions of this symphony conducted by Vaughan Williams himself, a wonderful discovery and Koussevitsky's great sibelian interpretation. My favourite Tuba Concerto is that played by John Fletcher with Andre Previn although versions conducted by Thomson and Barbirolli are very good also.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on January 23, 2008, 04:51:07 AM
I happen to love all the syms . . . .

Splendid, Paul!

Quote from: paulb
You guys ought to consider hearing VW's concerto for...TUBA!

I have;  it's agreeable listening, pretty 'workaday Vaughan Williams' IMO.  But one understands why tuba players are grateful for some good lit, and this is a good concerto.

Quote from: paulb
Did once sort of, , but not now do i like the Lark Ascending.  NPR plays it all the time.

I well understand the phenomenon, Paul!  Don't throw the good music baby out with the numbskulled programming bathwater!  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 24, 2008, 07:33:16 AM
Splendid, Paul!

I have;  it's agreeable listening, pretty 'workaday Vaughan Williams' IMO.  But one understands why tuba players are grateful for some good lit, and this is a good concerto.

I well understand the phenomenon, Paul!  Don't throw the good music baby out with the numbskulled programming bathwater!  ;)

karl i went through muti listenings of the 1st sym, really can't find it as "unlistenable/dud" , at least 2 amazon members giving such reactions, over over-reactions I should say.
The  Whitman poem is quite incredible, panthestic in scope. VW scored it 1903-1906 and  made several revisions over the next several yrs. 66 minutes , oratorio/symphony.

If we take the incredible, beautiful  5th off the table in considering the 9 syms, , I'm not sure if its the 4 or 6 sym that is my favorite. I believe , many here will give the 4th the edge  and that most here giving the 6th next place of distinction in  excellence.

I'm listening to the Thomson 5th, can't say it takes  second to the Barbirolli.

Just unwraped a  cd had for some time, Andrew Davis/BBC in the 4th, Lark, Fantasia Tallis. We'll see how this 4th goes.
I listened to the ubiquitous Mitropolous/NY Phil Strings in the Tallis last night. I know the Barbirolli late 50's, I prefer the Mitropoulos. Hoping the Davis provides a  good  second alternative experience.
also reviewed last night the 1950's of 4th/Mitropolous/NY, 6th/Stokowski/NY. Both very good.
I need to ck a  passage in the 4th with Thomson. I think Mitropolous took that dreamy section in the andante/2 nd move, too fast, Thomson allows the music to drift into nothingness, sur-realistic.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on January 24, 2008, 08:36:18 AM
I think people having problems with symphony no.1 is due to:

1. Being unwilling to accept that it is not exactly the same as RVW's mature symphony style (a little Elgar-ish)
2. It being much longer than the other syms, so requires more patience and attention
3. It being very chorally balanced "that's not a real symphony! I've heard some very boring oratorios this long, I'm not gonna give this a chance", etc

It's certainly not due to the objective qualities of the work - overall it's a very good setting, and very transparent despite its size. It's one of my least favourite of his cycle, but I still think it's very good.

I'm glad that you like RVW btw, Paul :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 24, 2008, 08:45:24 AM
I think people having problems with symphony no.1 is due to:

1. Being unwilling to accept that it is not exactly the same as RVW's mature symphony style (a little Elgar-ish)
2. It being much longer than the other syms, so requires more patience and attention
3. It being very chorally balanced "that's not a real symphony! I've heard some very boring oratorios this long, I'm not gonna give this a chance", etc

It's certainly not due to the objective qualities of the work - overall it's a very good setting, and very transparent despite its size. It's one of my least favourite of his cycle, but I still think it's very good.

I'm glad that you like RVW btw, Paul :)

Lethe
I do think you've hit on the issues surrounding the 1st sym/oratorio. "least favorite' may hold for many of the RVW community. The poem content is heavy weight and I love the pantheistic ideas. that alone gives some importance to the work.
 Though I may be found more often in the modernist camp , my admiration for RVW has never diminished.

Just listened to the opening few minutes of the 6th/Andrew davis/BBC. In spite of the fact that the BBC is my fav british orch, this 6th doesn;t hold up well in the opening few minutes.
The Tallis fantasy offers more consideration.
I also have the 4/5 syms Davis/BBC, which i will proceed to.....
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2008, 11:58:39 AM
Paulb,

Which version of No 6 do you like best?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 24, 2008, 01:47:14 PM
Paulb,

Which version of No 6 do you like best?

There's always that idiocyncratic element involved in critical comparison.
Then others havea   certain bias favoring one conductor, while others believe they have heard the best with the only one they actually own or heard.
If you ask 5 RVW fans, which is their fav 6th, you;'ll get 5 different answers.
I've not heard either Boult, nor Haitink's, not Previn's, I'm sure all are fine performances.
I once thought the Stokowski/NY/1949 was 'exceptional", now yrs later i get to know that recording along side the Thomson, and i now I can hear the weaknesses of the Stokowski.
For me persoanlly I know if i heard them all, I'd walk with the Bryden Thomson. I felt this way at first hearing the entire set 2 yrs ago, and that opinion still holds. Sure there may be very little to squabble over in the various best of 6th's, but to me , some of the tinest nuances, or lack thereof, all begin to add up once the symphony has settled into your head.
Again, there's no need for anyone to sell their Boult sets, Haitink sets for the Thomson. Its just that for me Thomson seems to most consistently get at the heart of the score. "the conductor disappears" thing.
Down the road i'll try to hear the Boult and Haitink, just as  a  matter of being fair in the matter. My hunch tells me I'm on with the one best suited to me, but since the 6th is quite an exceptional sym, its of good that i try to seek out others with as fine a  approach as the Thomson.
I'm sure amazon offers used low price,  $ 3 or 4,  on both conductors.

which recordings do you have?
Did some of what i said make sense. Did you compare a  few already and just double cking what you found, against what i've found?

I did some comparisons of the 5th yrs ago, the Barbirolli came out top, but the diffs were minimial. Yet enough to chosse the Barbirolli over the others. The Thomson equals the Barbirolli.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 24, 2008, 01:55:07 PM
The Sixth, IMHO is VW's greatest symphony as it combines the violence of No 4 with the spirituality of No 5, the result is both compelling and disquieting. Hickox is generally v good but this is his weakest performance I think. Boult's Decca is the best but v good versions from Haitink, Thomson and Davis.

ahh I just now see your post June 7.

i'll try to obtain the Boult.
Andrew Davis, right? Or Colin?
Andrew would never work for me, in spite of the finest british orch, the BBC.
I'll look over my Haitink 7th.
Not sure i could compare favs between the 4,5,6 syms. i love each equally, but its the 5th that holds special meanings. has been of great importance for over 2 decades now. The 4, 6 I just recently came around to.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on January 25, 2008, 10:35:24 AM
I didn't consider checking Operashare for any RVW recordings, but it threw up quite a few (mostly songs/expired links). As not everybody uses it, I've rehosted the Symphony No.6 by Colin Davis/Sinfonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, as I find the performance noteworthy, and it may interest somebody...

Performance details (http://www.mediafire.com/?3kz4luxizjd)
I. Allegro (http://www.mediafire.com/?2yvr8zm9p1x)
II. Moderato (http://www.mediafire.com/?71p4l5ym94x)
III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (http://www.mediafire.com/?ar2dvrzbmwt)
IV. Epilogue: Moderato (http://www.mediafire.com/?8yiic0ybmn0)

It is perhaps the "heaviest" sounding recording of the work that I've heard, perhaps a fair part due to the live conditions - it has a very ferocious momentum and weight at times, and the German orchestra (playing RVW, WTH!? 0:)) play very confidently considering that this work must be relatively unfamiliar to them. Another thing of particular interest (IMO) is how prominent the saxophone solo in the scherzo is. This symphony is just brilliant, it's great to hear a non-British orchestra play it. The live broadcast recording is very good, the mp3 bitrate is 256, which is quite a bit nicer than the usual 192.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on January 25, 2008, 10:46:40 AM
Whiskey Tango Hotel, eh?  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 25, 2008, 01:15:48 PM
I didn't consider checking Operashare for any RVW recordings, but it threw up quite a few (mostly songs/expired links). As not everybody uses it, I've rehosted the Symphony No.6 by Colin Davis/Sinfonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, as I find the performance noteworthy, and it may interest somebody...



The Rundfunk is one of my favorite german orchestras.
Much better than either the Berlin Phil, and far better than the Berlin SO.
Lets see the 1st movement is now into the....3rd minute
So far, this performance does not work for me at all.
I know Colin Davis very well. His Mozart sacred on Philips is excellent.
but I am afraid in this 6th sym, it does not work.
Sorry no cigar.
Bryden Thompson, 1st place.
I guess Vander wants me to get the Boult.
Its now in the 6th minute, thats quite enough.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on January 25, 2008, 01:25:31 PM
Ouch! :D An interesting reaction, none the less...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: paulb on January 25, 2008, 02:04:36 PM
Ouch! :D An interesting reaction, none the less...

they don't call me  the cantankerous critic for nothin' :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on January 26, 2008, 08:09:49 AM
I wish I thought of this earlier so I could ask as an addendum to a previous post: does anyone know why the Norfolk Rhapsody no.2 wasn't recorded until 2003, by Chandos? I checked their website but it doesn't seem to have any notes to explain why. Unfinished, or just plain worse?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on January 28, 2008, 01:42:23 PM
 
     
I wish I thought of this earlier so I could ask as an addendum to a previous post: does anyone know why the Norfolk Rhapsody no.2 wasn't recorded until 2003, by Chandos? I checked their website but it doesn't seem to have any notes to explain why. Unfinished, or just plain worse?
     
     According to Michael Kennedy in the liner notes of a CD I have, RVW allowed only the first of the 3 Norfolk Rhapsodies to be published. The 2nd was last performed in 1914 according to Chandos (again MK provides the notes), and 2 pages of the score are missing. The Chandos recording is an edited and partially recomposed version.

     Here (http://www.theclassicalshop.net/pdf/CHAN%2010001.pdf) are the Chandos notes, from the website (the left pane of the CD page offers downloads of the cover and notes).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on January 28, 2008, 02:13:23 PM
     According to Michael Kennedy in the liner notes of a CD I have, RVW allowed only the first of the 3 Norfolk Rhapsodies to be published. The 2nd was last performed in 1914 according to Chandos (again MK provides the notes), and 2 pages of the score are missing. The Chandos recording is an edited and partially recomposed version.

     Here (http://www.theclassicalshop.net/pdf/CHAN%2010001.pdf) are the Chandos notes, from the website (the left pane of the CD page offers downloads of the cover and notes).

Thanks! Shame that the RVW society doesn't list the third online, which I presume is not likely to be played anytime soon, if at all. Does the completion of the second compare decently to the first? I listened to the 1 minute sample on Amazon, but as could be expected, it indicated very little :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on January 29, 2008, 05:30:06 PM
My understanding is that the score of VW's 3rd Norfolk Rhapsody is lost. It was first performed in Cardiff in 1907 with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer and was performed in London in 1912 at the Quuen's Hall conducted by Balfour Gardiner. There is further information in Michael Kennedy's "Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams".

One never knows; the manuscript might turn up again one day. Clearly it was not published.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on February 03, 2008, 05:46:07 AM
If you like the Tallis Fantasia, you have to listen to the Elegy on the CD below.  The Symphony is magnificent too, a powerful, craggy monolithic masterpiece (I don't use this word lightly) which eschews all sentimentality, with echoes of Havergal Brian (a friend of Truscott's), Nielsen and Bruckner.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truscott-Orchestral-Works-Harold/dp/B00000462S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1202046033&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2008, 06:17:13 AM
If you like the Tallis Fantasia, you have to listen to the Elegy on the CD below.  The Symphony is magnificent too, a powerful, craggy monolithic masterpiece (I don't use this word lightly) which eschews all sentimentality, with echoes of Havergal Brian (a friend of Truscott's), Nielsen and Bruckner.

The Elegy is wonderful indeed. I have both the Marco Polo CD with the orchestral works and the one with Truscott's chamber music - it's been a while since I listened to them, but I remember them being models of clarity, concision and power.

Btw - has anybody heard Truscott's piano sonatas?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on February 03, 2008, 07:05:36 AM
Indeed it was by a recommendation on this forum that I bought the Truscott cd. Never regretted it one moment. The elegy is on my playlist often, wonderful music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on February 03, 2008, 12:11:27 PM
Jezetha and Thom

Glad you liked the Elegy and the magnificent Symphony.

I have the Marco Polo chamber disc also, which is very enjoyable.

How sad that his music was almost completely neglected in his lifetime.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 11, 2008, 02:43:05 PM
Slightly OT: the subject of RVW's use of the saxophone was raised earlier in the thread. I just listened to Eric Coates' Saxo-Rhapsody (Groves, Brymer, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), a wonderful piece. Anyone know this?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on February 13, 2008, 02:15:04 AM
Slightly OT: the subject of RVW's use of the saxophone was raised earlier in the thread. I just listened to Eric Coates' Saxo-Rhapsody (Groves, Brymer, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), a wonderful piece. Anyone know this?

No, but I will look out for it.  Thanks
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Guido on February 14, 2008, 05:26:58 PM
Just listened to the Serenade to Music in it's orchestral setting. It just doesn't get any better than that!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Benji on February 15, 2008, 04:50:58 PM
Just listened to the Serenade to Music in it's orchestral setting. It just doesn't get any better than that!

Sure it does, with the voices as in the usual setting.  :) 

Without the voices it's like a trifle without the sherry, tasty but just not as intoxicating as it can be.  0:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on February 16, 2008, 03:46:54 AM
Sure it does, with the voices as in the usual setting.  :) 

Without the voices it's like a trifle without the sherry, tasty but just not as intoxicating as it can be.  0:)

Indeedie, the choral version is one of the few pieces that I find to be out of this world :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Ephemerid on February 19, 2008, 01:49:25 PM
All this talk of RVW here and on the RVW symphony thread has gotten my appetite worked up-- I am familiar with only a few of his works (shame on me, I know-- the works I have heard I have loved and I adore his setting of "Silent Noon")-- so I downloaded Hickox's recording of the third symphony and oboe concerto for starters. 

I'm very excited about listening to it closely when I get home tonight!  ;D

CORRECTION: Not Hickox, but Bryden Thompson (on Chandos)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 19, 2008, 01:53:35 PM
Silent Noon.........yes an especially beautiful song. Whose recording do you have?

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Ephemerid on February 19, 2008, 02:05:51 PM
Silent Noon.........yes an especially beautiful song. Whose recording do you have?

Mike

Ian Bostridge in a crystal clear tenor.  :)  Back when I was a music student in the early 90s I sang this song & was happy when I found out he had done a recording of it.  This and Schubert's "Nacht und Traume" are two of the most beautiful art songs ever written IMO.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 19, 2008, 02:10:59 PM
I also have sung the piece. I am mostly allergic to Bostridge. Terfel speeds through it and Janet Baker, who is recorded from a concert had a catch in her throat during it.

Another wonderful WV song is The Infinite Shining Heavens. Terfel gives that one the best performance I have ever heard of the song.

Nacht und Traume is a stunner.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Ephemerid on February 19, 2008, 02:14:50 PM
I also have sung the piece. I am mostly allergic to Bostridge. Terfel speeds through it and Janet Baker, who is recorded from a concert had a catch in her throat during it.

Another wonderful WV song is The Infinite Shining Heavens. Terfel gives that one the best performance I have ever heard of the song.

Nacht und Traume is a stunner.

Mike
Oooh!  I'll check that out then!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dana on February 22, 2008, 11:05:14 AM
Just listened to the Serenade to Music in it's orchestral setting. It just doesn't get any better than that!

      Which recording is it? I got the 16-soloist version with Boult on a bargain EMI disc at Best Buy, and it was a pile of schlock (it bears noting that nearly everything else on the disc was no better).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on February 22, 2008, 12:50:15 PM
      Which recording is it? I got the 16-soloist version with Boult on a bargain EMI disc at Best Buy, and it was a pile of schlock (it bears noting that nearly everything else on the disc was no better).

Get a life.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 22, 2008, 01:36:02 PM
Oooh!  I'll check that out then!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413C6N6XHML._AA240_.jpg)

I recommend this disc. Included upon it is RVWs song cycle Songs of Travel. The disc as a whole is about the best collection of English songs that I know of. Terfel is full of insight and subtlety. It is a glorious voice and he really communicates. That song, The Infinite Shining Heavens was a revelation, I knew it well, he sings it with utter freshness.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Ephemerid on February 22, 2008, 07:42:58 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413C6N6XHML._AA240_.jpg)

I recommend this disc. Included upon it is RVWs song cycle Songs of Travel. The disc as a whole is about the best collection of English songs that I know of. Terfel is full of insight and subtlety. It is a glorious voice and he really communicates. That song, The Infinite Shining Heavens was a revelation, I knew it well, he sings it with utter freshness.

Mike

Downloading it now.  I did download Benjamin Luxon's recording of Songs of Travel (and Silent Noon) but found something missing in it.  Just listening to the samples, this recording sounds more compelling!  Thank you, Mike!  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dana on February 23, 2008, 06:50:52 PM
Get a life.

I have one - it's Vaughan-Williams (just not bad recordings of him)!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 23, 2008, 11:58:08 PM
Josh, Luxon was an OK singer, but not one to imprint words onto your brain. He also had a good voice rather than a great one. Let me know how you get on with the performances from Terfel.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on February 24, 2008, 09:05:23 AM
Josh, Luxon was an OK singer, but not one to imprint words onto your brain.

Certainly, the Welsh Wobbler is! ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 24, 2008, 09:17:55 AM
I assume by the smilie, that you jest. I do remember hearing a Messiah from Cardiff on TV about two years ago and there was a pronounced wobble. It was awful. I dreded hearing him live a few months later; but when I did his voice was again as solid as a rock.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: rw1883 on February 25, 2008, 07:29:18 PM
Still going through VW's symphonies one by one (started in early January).  I have reached the 4th and have been completely blown away by Bryden Thomson's interpretation (this is becoming my favorite set).  I went ahead and bought the Thomson after reading some members favorable comments.  I just ordered the 4th & 5th conducted by VW and Barbirolli on Dutton.  I still haven't found the Bernstein 4th or the Berglund 6th, but I probably have to look more diligently.  On to more listening...

Paul
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on February 25, 2008, 11:08:15 PM
Still going through VW's symphonies one by one (started in early January).  I have reached the 4th and have been completely blown away by Bryden Thomson's interpretation (this is becoming my favorite set).  I went ahead and bought the Thomson after reading some members favorable comments.  I just ordered the 4th & 5th conducted by VW and Barbirolli on Dutton.  I still haven't found the Bernstein 4th or the Berglund 6th, but I probably have to look more diligently.  On to more listening...

The only weak spots in the Thomson cycle are a limp 6th and a matter-of-fact 8th. The rest is very good to excellent, with the "London", 4th and 5th oustanding. Thomson's cycle is still much underrated, especially by those who were angry that Chandos selected him (the "Chandos house conductor", he was sneered at at the time - a phrase which always made me angry!) to record the cycle, and not Vernon Handley (who a few years later got his own glorious cycle with the RLPO on EMI).

In the 4th Symphony, I only regard Berglund as superior to Thomson, because he is even more savage. Vaughan Williams' own version is certainly the most ferocious, but because of the sound quality and the playing of the BBC Orchestra it's more of a souvenir really.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 26, 2008, 12:32:52 AM
The only weak spots in the Thomson cycle are a limp 6th and a matter-of-fact 8th. The rest is very good to excellent, with the "London", 4th and 5th outstanding.

Nice write-up, Thomas. And - if Thomson Fifth hadn't been outstanding, I wouldn't have 'cracked' that particular symphony.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on February 26, 2008, 03:16:06 AM
The only weak spots in the Thomson cycle are a limp 6th and a matter-of-fact 8th. The rest is very good to excellent, with the "London", 4th and 5th oustanding. Thomson's cycle is still much underrated (...)

Thomas

However high I hold your views in general and on RVW specifically in esteem, I beg to disagree in a few details. I for me always loved Thomsons' slow but in my ears highly dramatic opening Allegro of the Sixth, and happen to dislike Andrew Davies' quicker rendering (he fares well in the final movement, but in the other three I certainly prefer Thomson's).

To make things worse, I happpen to prefer Thomson's Eight too, above most of the competitiopn, again, especially for the sake of its fine, `dry', first movement, the Fantasia (Variazioni Senza Tema).

And to end dramatically: I've been listening to most of the symphonies in the Andrew Davies BBC cycle recently (I was able to buy the set cheaply, no doubt because of their bad reviews). And I find most of them quite acceptible, much better than I expected. But again I make an exception for his Sixth, the only one that received wide praise, but for me remains too much underpowered to enjoy.

Thomson's cycle is probably my first choice overall, helped no doubt by their warm Chandos acoustics which for me were a quite revelation, back in the eighties (when we only had Previn and the second Boult cycle to our disposal yet).

(For similar reasons, another highlight in Thomson's cycle for me are the two central movements of the Ninth: very dramatic in my ears and by far the finest reading of them that I know of, but probably not your first choice, are they?)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on February 26, 2008, 04:51:16 AM
I have heard the Thomson well spoken of, though I have not had opportunity to hear any of his Vaughan Williams set, myself.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Harry on February 26, 2008, 05:17:06 AM
And its also a fact that Haitink's set is largely ignored, so to get rid of that was a good decision, and in the process make someone happy with it.
That said, I still think Andre Previn's complete set, still the best on the market, everyone of them.
They have a urgency and inner drive that makes me sit up, and still does, after countless hearings.
Previn's recklessness and the passion he brings to VW music, is unsurpassed for me.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on February 26, 2008, 07:21:41 AM
No 6 is extremely difficult to get right on disc. There are very few successful performances. Boult's 1952 Decca (with VW's speech) is the best. Boult's earlier one is excellent as is Abravanel's on Vanguard. Of modern recordings Davis, Thomson and Haitink are the best. EMI should reissue Berglund's sibelian account (it is much better than the earlier Handley recording which they have recently reissued).

Thomson's is one of the best.  Andrew Achenbach described it as "soggy" but BBC Music Magazine top 1000 CD book has it as a top choice. Stokowski rushes the last movement but is still compulsive listening as is Barbirolli's Bavarian RSO version on Orfeo.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Szykneij on March 26, 2008, 02:32:25 PM
I just experienced Vaughan William's string quartets (Music Group of London - EMI) for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed them both. On the initial hearing, I seem to prefer No. 1 but I'll be giving them another listen this evening. I've read that Vaughan Williams's chamber output is underrated. In my mind, these two works are good examples.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on March 26, 2008, 03:32:02 PM

    My first exposure to the 6th was the Boult/Decca. Unfortunately I no longer have it. I do have the Abravanel as well as the Boult/EMI, and I prefer the Abravanel.

I just experienced Vaughan William's string quartets (Music Group of London - EMI) for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed them both. On the initial hearing, I seem to prefer No. 1 but I'll be giving them another listen this evening. I've read that Vaughan Williams's chamber output is underrated. In my mind, these two works are good examples.

    By No. 1 do you mean the Phantasy Quintet? I think the 2nd quartet takes some getting used to, but I'm learning to love it. This is RVW in his sterner late style, akin to the 6th symphony. And if anyone out there is an admirer of Hugh Bean's rendition of RVW's The Lark Ascending, you must have this disc.

     (http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/8910/vaughanwilliamsmusicgroqv0.jpg)

   
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Szykneij on March 27, 2008, 02:24:17 AM
  By No. 1 do you mean the Phantasy Quintet? I think the 2nd quartet takes some getting used to, but I'm learning to love it.

No, I was listening to his String Quartet No. 1 in G minor that pre-dates the Phantasy Quintet by a few years, although it was revised in 1921. It's strikingly different in style from his String Quartet No. 2 in A minor (1943) which I think I could learn to love, too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on March 27, 2008, 04:24:25 PM
I've listened through my new Previn set a few times. I still wouldn't rank VW at the top, but I've found that familiarity does wonderful things for these works. I still find the other orchestral works dull, though.
A niggle with this set is that 6 and 9 are programmed on the same disc, which means they sort-of blend unless I make the effort to shut off the CD player after track 4.

I've ordered a disc of Handley in 4 and 6 to supplement the Previn, and after that arrives I think I'll live with what I've got for a while. :)  Next set, if there is one, will be the Boult/Decca.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 27, 2008, 04:28:33 PM
I've listened through my new Previn set a few times. I still wouldn't rank VW at the top, but I've found that familiarity does wonderful things for these works.

Any favourites?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on March 27, 2008, 09:29:31 PM
Any favourites?
It's still 2, 3 and 7 at the moment, but the Handley disc might change that....

2 - An English Respighi!
3 - Still haven't got a grip on this one. Elusive.
7 - Those sliding chords combined with great atmosphere and colour. The wind machine doesn't sound as silly as I expected. (And Previn eats Bakels for lunch with this one!)


I just realised that someone unfamiliar with VW might think I meant "sliding chords" literally. It would be an interesting effect....
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on March 29, 2008, 04:46:13 AM
Previn's are the best performances on disc, IMHO, of symphonies 2,3 and 8. 5 and 9 are also excellent.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on March 29, 2008, 07:44:05 AM
I agree with vandermolen with Previn however the toccata of the 8th by Hickox is better than Previn.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: The new erato on March 29, 2008, 08:09:47 AM


I've ordered a disc of Handley in 4 and 6 to supplement the Previn,

You shouldn't have done that, all the Handley discs wil be included in the VW Collectors Edition on 30 discs being released dirt cheap late april.

All the concertos, all the operas, Flos Campi, The Serenade, Job, etc, etc.....
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on March 29, 2008, 08:12:33 AM
I agree with vandermolen with Previn however the toccata of the 8th by Hickox is better than Previn.

OK will listen to it as I have it with Hickox's poor Symphony 6
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on March 29, 2008, 08:45:32 PM
OK will listen to it as I have it with Hickox's poor Symphony 6

It is indeed very poor.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on March 30, 2008, 01:31:37 PM
It is indeed very poor.

No 6, for some reason, seems very difficult to get right on disc Hickox, Bakels, Norrington, Handley (LPO), Previn (last movement) and others come unstuck in this symphony. The early Boults, Abravanel, Davis, Thomson and Haitink are the best in my view.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: 71 dB on March 31, 2008, 09:52:13 AM
I just heard the 4th symphony (Royal Liverpool Philharm. Orch, Handley Vernon). I liked it. I also liked the first symphony. Looks like VW's symphonies are worth exploring.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 31, 2008, 09:55:07 AM
I just heard the 4th symphony (Royal Liverpool Philharm. Orch, Handley Vernon). I liked it. I also liked the first symphony. Looks like VW's symphonies are worth exploring.

They certainly are! If only to see what British composers after Elgar did with the Symphony...  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: MN Dave on March 31, 2008, 10:01:27 AM
They certainly are! If only to see what British composers after Elgar did with the Symphony...  ;)

I have you figured out. You dig British composers. How do you like Purcell?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 31, 2008, 10:19:27 AM
I have you figured out. You dig British composers.

You can tell, can you?

How do you like Purcell?

I am a bit of a post-Beethoven guy. So I do like the instrumental Bach (but not too often), but Purcell is still only Dido's Lament (which is incredibly moving btw).

I am glad that there is so much pre-Beethoven music I still have to establish a rapport with. Something for the second half of my life, perhaps...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on March 31, 2008, 10:22:59 AM
The San Antonio Symphony Orchestra will perform VW's Cantata "Folk Songs of the Four Seasons" on April 11 and 12 at the Majestic Theatre(presumably in San Antonio).

This is the Cantata VW wrote for the Women's Institute in 1949. It is, apparently, 45 minutes long which suggests a substantial work.

Has anybody ever heard it-because I certainly don't remember ever having done so! It is not-and never has been-recorded(as far as I know). I wonder why not? Don't suppose it is an undiscovered masterpiece but......!

Well done, san Antonio!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on March 31, 2008, 10:44:21 AM
Has anybody ever heard it - because I certainly don't remember ever having done so! It is not - and never has been - recorded(as far as I know). I wonder why not? Don't suppose it is an undiscovered masterpiece but......!

You will be our reviewer!

I never heard of any modern performance, let alone a recording. According to Michael Kennedy, A catalogue of the works of RVW, it is based on traditional folk songs and was premiered in the Royal Albert Hall in London, 15 June 1950, by Adrian Boult with the LSO and 'massed choirs'.

Roy Douglas tells in his book about his cooperation with Vaughan Williams, and how he arranged a suite from it for small orchestra, and how RVW insisted on his (Douglas') copy rights, in order to allow him a little income. But I'm not aware of any performance of this piece either - listed as lasting 13,5 minutes by Kennedy - nor of any recording. Does anybody here?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on March 31, 2008, 10:55:05 AM
You will be our reviewer!

I never heard of any modern performance, let alone a recording. According to Michael Kennedy, A catalogue of the works of RVW, it is based on traditional folk songs and was premiered in the Royal Albert Hall in London, 15 June 1950, by Adrian Boult with the LSO and 'massed choirs'.

Roy Douglas tells in his book about his cooperation with Vaughan Williams, and how he arranged a suite from it for small orchestra, and how RVW insisted on his (Douglas') copy rights, in order to allow him a little income. But I'm not aware of any performance of this piece either - listed as lasting 13,5 minutes by Kennedy - nor of any recording. Does anybody here?

I shall happily review the performance for you if you will pay my air fare from Scotland to Texas!! ;D :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on March 31, 2008, 11:27:02 AM
I shall happily review the performance for you if you will pay my air fare from Scotland to Texas!! ;D :)

Who's talking about taking a costly plane? 0:) Can't you swim it - I'll happily share your daily breakfast expenses then. But perhaps we better ask one of the no doubt thousands of Texonian RVW adorers online here, to do a little reviewing? 8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 17, 2008, 10:27:25 PM
So, what's the verdict here on Haitink's Vaughan Williams symphony cycle?

I'm listening to the single disc release of Symphony 6 (my favourite), I think that it is the best modern version (much better than the Hickox which was apparently chosen as the BBC Radio 3 "Building a Library" No 1 choice a few weeks back.) It is a great CD with the orchestral "On Wenlock Edge" and a fine performance of "In the Fen Country". What is your favourite VW symphony cycle?

Lots of VW at the Proms in London this year.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 18, 2008, 01:17:55 AM
So, what's the verdict here on Haitink's Vaughan Williams symphony cycle?

Uneven. Superb 2nd and 7th, perfectly acceptable 1st, 3rd and 5th, routine 4th and 6th, poor 8th and 9th.

In general: A Brucknerian approach to Vaughan Williams - sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn't.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 18, 2008, 01:21:50 AM
Lots of VW at the Proms in London this year.

Yeah. Unfortunately, only 2 performances during my annual stay there. Symphonies 4 & 8.  :-[
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 18, 2008, 03:47:11 AM
So, what's the verdict here on Haitink's Vaughan Williams symphony cycle?

I'm listening to the single disc release of Symphony 6 (my favourite), I think that it is the best modern version (much better than the Hickox which was apparently chosen as the BBC Radio 3 "Building a Library" No 1 choice a few weeks back.) It is a great CD with the orchestral "On Wenlock Edge" and a fine performance of "In the Fen Country". What is your favourite VW symphony cycle?

Lots of VW at the Proms in London this year.

I have Haitink in the Sea Symphony and the Sinfonia Antartica and esteem both performances, particularly the latter which, in my opinion, elevates the work into the masterpiece I really believe that it is.. Haitink is a conductor for whom I have a very high regard-obviously particularly in Bruckner! I know that there has been criticism that his VW is not idiomatic but Haitink's approach is surely at least valid and deeply thought. It always seemed to me to be tremendous that a great European conductor, steeped in the central European traditions of Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler, should invest his profound knowledge and experience in a composer who has not exactly been 'taken up' by many other non-British or non-American conductors!

Hickox doesn't exactly seem to have many admirers on this site in VW! (Apart, that is, from his CD of the original version of the London Symphony).
I am always a little puzzled by this. I freely admit that I make my CD purchases on the basis of reading as many reviews as possible by critics for whom I have respect. Hickox's cycle has-so far-generally had very positive reviews. Where do people think he has gone wrong?

I can't answer your second question, Jeffrey. I don't have a favourite cycle. I mix and match...thus:

Sea Symphony-Haitink
London Symphony-Hickox(original), Previn(revised)
Pastoral-Previn and Hickox
No.4-Previn and Hickox
No.5-Handley and Hickox
No.6-Andrew Davis, Handley, Thomson and Hickox
No.7-Haitink
No.8-Thomson and Hickox
No.9-Handley and Thomson

Have I got it reasonably ok or should I add to that lot?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 18, 2008, 04:28:25 AM
I have Haitink in the Sea Symphony and the Sinfonia Antartica and esteem both performances, particularly the latter which, in my opinion, elevates the work into the masterpiece I really believe that it is.. Haitink is a conductor for whom I have a very high regard-obviously particularly in Bruckner! I know that there has been criticism that his VW is not idiomatic but Haitink's approach is surely at least valid and deeply thought. It always seemed to me to be tremendous that a great European conductor, steeped in the central European traditions of Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler, should invest his profound knowledge and experience in a composer who has not exactly been 'taken up' by many other non-British or non-American conductors!

Hickox doesn't exactly seem to have many admnirers on this site in VW! (Apart, that is, from his CD of the original version of the London Symphony).
I am always a little puzzled by this. I freely admit that I make my CD purchases on the basis of reading as many reviews as possible by critics for whom I have respect. Hickox's cycle has-so far-generally had very positive reviews. Where do people think he has gone wrong?

I can't answer your second question, Jeffrey. I don't have a favourite cycle. I mix and match...thus:

Sea Symphony-Haitink
London Symphony-Hickox(original), Previn(revised)
Pastoral-Previn and Hickox
No.4-Previn and Hickox
No.5-Handley and Hickox
No.6-Andrew Davis, Handley, Thomson and Hickox
No.7-Haitink
No.8-Thomson and Hickox
No.9-Handley and Thomson

Have I got it reasonably ok or should I add to that lot?

I do like Hickox and I have enjoyed all the VW releases so far (don't know his Sea Symphony) except for No 6 which I found dull and uninvolving (this did not stop Stephen Johnson from selecting it as his No 1 choice on the BBC). I love the Hickox Arnold and Alwyn cycles and much else besides.

Colin,

Your choice of individual VW symphonies is very sound, although a little thin perhaps in the Sir Adrian Boult department  ;D

Stokowski's No 9 is a must.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 18, 2008, 05:07:56 AM
Oh, sorry Jeffrey, I had completely forgotten that I have Nos.1-4 and 6-9 of the symphonies conducted by Sir Adrian Boult on LP, together with Barbirolli in Nos. 2 and 5. :) :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 18, 2008, 09:02:05 AM
Hickox's 3rd is a mess (artificial emphases in all the wrong places), his 4th bland, the 2nd rather stolid (its only real merit being the only recording of the original, but weaker, version of the London Symphony), the 6th dull indeed!

The least remarkable RVW cycle outside of Davis's and Slatkin's.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 18, 2008, 10:00:06 AM
Hickox's 3rd is a mess (artificial emphases in all the wrong places), his 4th bland, the 2nd rather stolid (its only real merit being the only recording of the original, but weaker, version of the London Symphony), the 6th dull indeed!

The least remarkable RVW cycle outside of Davis's and Slatkin's.

I liked Hickox's No 5 + the interesting fill-ups (Pilgrim's Pavement etc).

Which Cycles do you like? I like Davis No 6 and Slatkin No 9.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 18, 2008, 10:06:22 AM
Quote from: vandermolen
I liked Hickox's No 5 + the interesting fill-ups (Pilgrim's Pavement etc).

Ditto. The only fine reading in his cycle. I forgot: Hickox' Sea Symphony is rowdy, his 8th undernourished and grey-sounding.  ;D

Quote
Which Cycles do you like? I like Davis No 6 and Slatkin No 9.

Again, ditto. But, again, these are the only good performances in their respective cycles.

Handley is the most consistently pleasing, followed by Thomson.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 19, 2008, 02:27:27 AM
Ditto. The only fine reading in his cycle. I forgot: Hickox' Sea Symphony is rowdy, his 8th undernourished and grey-sounding.  ;D

Again, ditto. But, again, these are the only good performances in their respective cycles.

Handley is the most consistently pleasing, followed by Thomson.

Yes, Thomson is very underrated. Agree that Handley is very consistent but not my first choice in any symphony...well, maybe No 9 for those harps at the end :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: mr_espansiva on May 20, 2008, 05:08:48 AM
Yes, Thomson is very underrated. Agree that Handley is very consistent but not my first choice in any symphony...well, maybe No 9 for those harps at the end :)

I haven't heard 5 done better than by Handley, but then I haven't heard quite a few of those mentioned. Let me rephrase - I can't imagine it being done better than by Handley ...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2008, 06:33:32 AM
BBC Music Magazine is featuring Vaughan Williams next month (not the current issue). The cover CD will be Symphony No 5 with Andrew Davis conducting. On BBC 4 (UK TV) this Friday (23rd May) there is a documentary "The loves of Vaughan Williams", apparently about his relationship with his two wives, Adeline and Ursula.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 20, 2008, 03:04:54 PM
I haven't heard 5 done better than by Handley, but then I haven't heard quite a few of those mentioned. Let me rephrase - I can't imagine it being done better than by Handley ...

Yes, I too think that Handley in No. 5 is a great performance.

BBC Music Magazine is featuring Vaughan Williams next month (not the current issue). The cover CD will be Symphony No 5 with Andrew Davis conducting. On BBC 4 (UK TV) this Friday (23rd May) there is a documentary "The loves of Vaughan Williams", apparently about his relationship with his two wives, Adeline and Ursula.

Thanks for this info', Jeffrey.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 20, 2008, 09:47:12 PM
BBC Music Magazine is featuring Vaughan Williams next month (not the current issue). The cover CD will be Symphony No 5 with Andrew Davis conducting.

If that's the same performance as in his cycle, then forget it. It was very weak.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2008, 11:32:08 PM
If that's the same performance as in his cycle, then forget it. It was very weak.

Probably not as they tend to issue live recordings rather than previously commercially issued discs (although not always). I agree with you that it wasn't a good performance. The cycle did not live up to the promise of  the great recording of Symphony 6, which was the first issue in that series.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 20, 2008, 11:47:57 PM
BBC Music Magazine is featuring Vaughan Williams next month (not the current issue). The cover CD will be Symphony No 5 with Andrew Davis conducting. On BBC 4 (UK TV) this Friday (23rd May) there is a documentary "The loves of Vaughan Williams", apparently about his relationship with his two wives, Adeline and Ursula.

Does BBC 4 offer the option of internet replay? Unfortunately my cable only provides BBS 1 and 2.

Th.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 01:12:19 AM
Does BBC 4 offer the option of internet replay? Unfortunately my cable only provides BBS 1 and 2.

Th.

Yes, I think BBC iPlayer does this if you look at the BBC website.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 21, 2008, 01:33:51 AM
Thank you! I hope this documentary will make it to the playlist. Didn't know about the iPlayer. Great!

Th.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 02:12:51 AM
Thank you! I hope this documentary will make it to the playlist. Didn't know about the iPlayer. Great!

Th.

If you click on the link below you will see the i Player on the right hand side.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 02:16:17 AM
A pity this only works for UK residents.  :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 02:20:24 AM
A pity this only works for UK residents.  :'(

Yes, but serves you right for suggesting that Wellesz's "English Symphony" is (I quote) "a critique". Actually it is a loyal tribute to the realm of Her Majesty  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 02:27:20 AM
Yes, but serves you right for suggesting that Wellesz's "English Symphony" is (I quote) "a critique". Actually it is a loyal tribute to the realm of Her Majesty  ;)

 ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 21, 2008, 02:57:12 AM
This is very unfortunate   :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on May 21, 2008, 03:32:33 AM
A pity this only works for UK residents.  :'(

Because we pay for it through our TV licences and quite expensive it is too. Almost the cost of a gallon of petrol ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 03:51:05 AM
Because we pay for it through our TV licences and quite expensive it is too. Almost the cost of a gallon of petrol.

"The loves of Vaughan Williams" = gallon of petrol.

Seems fair.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 21, 2008, 04:20:47 AM
Yes, but serves you right for suggesting that Wellesz's "English Symphony" is (I quote) "a critique". Actually it is a loyal tribute to the realm of Her Majesty  ;)

Hmm! I don't know about that :) Wellesz was making a small effort to assimilate himself to the country to which he had fled after the Anschluss. According to those who studied with him at Oxford Wellesz never showed any great interest in the works of contemporary native British composers, retaining instead his debt to the music of Bruckner, Mahler and Schoenberg. He was the great authority on Byzantine music. Now there's a whole world we have yet to explore!!! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 21, 2008, 05:50:41 AM
Because we pay for it through our TV licences and quite expensive it is too. Almost the cost of a gallon of petrol ;D
We also do, but the stations are available everywhere. But hey. I heard germany and the netherlands are the only idiots left in europe, who don't take tolls for their highways. Sometimes I almost only see eastern Europe trucks and cars on our A2 highway, travelling towards the west. We could become millionaires...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 05:57:59 AM
This is very unfortunate   :'(

Not sure if you mean the non-availability of the BBC iPlayer to non-UK residents or my comments to Jezetha.  If it is the latter, please know that I was only joking (as Johan knows). I may just be being (characteristically) hyper-sensitive, but I just wanted to clarify this in case it is what you were thinking  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 06:05:36 AM
Not sure if you mean the non-availability of the BBC iPlayer to non-UK residents or my comments to Jezetha.  If it is the latter, please know that I was only joking (as Johan knows). I may just be being (characteristically) hyper-sensitive, but I just wanted to clarify this in case it is what you were thinking  :)

Thom lives in the Netherlands, too. He was simply crying shoulder to shoulder with me.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 21, 2008, 08:13:52 AM
Right you are Jezetha. And maybe we in the Netherlands and our German neighbours are indeed gradually the exception to the rule as far as internet televison is concerned. Lucky we are as long as it lasts.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 01:50:23 PM
Thom lives in the Netherlands, too. He was simply crying shoulder to shoulder with me.  ;D

Pleased to hear it! Well, actually I mean pleased to hear that I did not upset anyone. As a Chelsea supporter I'm having a bad evening  :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 01:56:02 PM
Pleased to hear it! Well, actually I mean pleased to hear that I did not upset anyone. As a Chelsea supporter I'm having a bad evening  :'(

Didn't watch it. But I conclude that Manchester United won, then... My condolences, Jeffrey.

(Let's hope the Chelsea fans don't storm Lenin's Tomb.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 02:01:17 PM
Didn't watch it. But I conclude that Manchester United won, then... My condolences, Jeffrey.

(Let's hope the Chelsea fans don't storm Lenin's Tomb.)

Thanks Johan,

I think that the guards at Lenin's tomb (where I was a few weeks ago) will be able to fend off the Chelsea fans. They will be heading for the bars anyway to drown their sorrows. I am consoling myself with Miaskovsky's 17th Symphony  :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 21, 2008, 04:52:34 PM
Thanks Johan,

I think that the guards at Lenin's tomb (where I was a few weeks ago) will be able to fend off the Chelsea fans. They will be heading for the bars anyway to drown their sorrows. I am consoling myself with Miaskovsky's 17th Symphony  :'(

When I took a group of school pupils to Lenin's Tomb in 1991(a month before the Coup against Gorbachev!) the guards would not even let the pupils whisper to each other!! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 21, 2008, 09:58:06 PM
Thanks Johan,

I think that the guards at Lenin's tomb (where I was a few weeks ago) will be able to fend off the Chelsea fans. They will be heading for the bars anyway to drown their sorrows. I am consoling myself with Miaskovsky's 17th Symphony  :'( 

We both sincerely apologize for Van der Sar's gross misconduct.  :'(

As for musical consolement fitting with this thread: I remember to have seen some Russian performance of the Sea Symphony, but I don't have it and cannot find the details. Who does?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2008, 10:31:39 PM
We both sincerely apologize for Van der Sar's gross misconduct.  :'(

As for musical consolement fitting with this thread: I remember to have seen some Russian performance of the Sea Symphony, but I don't have it and cannot find the details. Who does?

I accept your apology Johan and Johan but as a "van der molen" maybe I am implicated myself.

Russian VW, how exciting! Don't know this although I have a very interesting CD of Svetlanov conducting the USSR Symphony Orchestra in Elgar's Second Symphony; a rather unidiomatic but still very good performance.,
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 22, 2008, 02:04:14 AM
Russian VW, how exciting!

I have always been tantalised after reading this:

With the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra he recorded all the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich, Alexander Glazunov, Anton Bruckner, Schnittke, Arthur Honegger, and Vaughan Williams. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gennady_Rozhdestvensky)

I've only ever seen a horribly OOP 5th on Amazon, and no others...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 22, 2008, 07:22:48 AM
Don't know about his Bruckner or Honegger(!) either!

Has this been linked before: Norman Lebrecht has written a column on the Vaughan Williams anniversary:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/080430-NL-Vaughan.html

Quote
During the Second World War, VW assumed the oracular role to English audiences that Shostakovich did to Russians. Crowds surged to his fifth symphony in the hope of glimpsing victory and a better world beyond. In peacetime, he turned bleak once more. Famous as he was, he refused all official titles and conducted amateur choirs in Dorking with scruffy gusto and unfailing courtesy, always remembering to thank the worst of his singers for their enthusiasm. He strikes me the kind of man whose greatest effort went into concealing his greatness. At 85, preparing for the next day’s recording of his ninth symphony, he died in his sleep on September 26, 1958.

That so vital a composer could fade from the centre of our attention is down to the fickleness of the classical music establishment. No sooner was he dead than BBC mandarins wrote him off as English and reactionary, when he was the least insular of composers and socially among the most progressive. It did not help that his few posthumous champions came from the political right, and that the piece by which he is best known is the rosy-toned arcadian setting of Henry VIII’s Greensleeves.

There may be one further reason for his retreat. VW was always best served by the less flamboyant conductors. Adrian Boult and John Barbirolli were his choice interpreters. The colourful Thomas Beecham actively disliked him.

That dichotomy persists. The Phiharmonia cycle is conducted by Richard Hickox, the Proms by Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Mark Elder. The flashier baton of Simon Rattle is conspicuous in its present VW abstinence.

Not that it matters much, since the wind is now blowing his way. The Lark Ascending has just come top of a poll of Classic FM listeners and when television viewers hear the Tallis Fantasia as the long boats flicker down the River Thames, some think ‘there will always be an England’ while others rush to their blogs to proclaim, ‘that is a sound that I want to hear for the rest of my days.’ Uncle Ralph is home. Tea, anyone?

Simon Rattle sure is a prick ...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 22, 2008, 07:35:14 AM
Has this been linked before: Norman Lebrecht has written a column on the Vaughan Williams anniversary:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/080430-NL-Vaughan.html

Simon Rattle sure is a prick ...

It is a shame that Rattle doesn't seem to care for RVW. His appointment to the BP could've been an ideal time for people to hear a leading non-English orchestra play the music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 22, 2008, 07:52:05 AM
Awww, who cares. I know several musicians who played under him in the BP, and they all said he's the most utterly forgettable of conductors. Just a media hype. He wouldn't have anything of merit to say about RVW anyway.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 22, 2008, 07:58:40 AM
Don't know about his Bruckner or Honegger(!) either!

Has this been linked before: Norman Lebrecht has written a column on the Vaughan Williams anniversary:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/080430-NL-Vaughan.html

Simon Rattle sure is a prick ...

Wonder who these "few posthumous champions" from the "political right" were? I don't know the politics(if any!) of Boult or Barbirolli.

A bit unfair on Andrew Davis and Leonard Slatkin-both of whom have recorded complete VW symphony sets!

Have to agree about Rattle! I cherish his Mahler 2nd and 10th and the Maw Odyssey but have nothing else conducted by him in my collection.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 22, 2008, 09:28:13 AM
Russian VW, how exciting!

Yes, it's still to be seen at Amazon.com, which offers the following details:

.>> R. Vaughan Wiliams SYMPHONY No.1 ("A Sea Symphony", 1910) .... Total time - 65.30. T. Smoryakova, soprano B. Vasiliev, baritone The Leningrad Musical Society Conductors" Chour Artistic director A. Verechagin The Rimsky-Korsakov Musical School Chour Artistic director B. Abalian The USSR Ministry Of Culture Symphony Orchestra Conductor Gennadi Rozdestvensky. Recorded live at the Grand Hall of Leningrad Philharmony April 30, 1988. <<

                  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41A502HXPDL._SS500_.jpg)

I also own the BBC recording with Rozhdestvensky conducting the BBC SO in the Fifth. But with a British orchestra, it doesn't count as `Russian VW', I would say.


Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2008, 09:40:48 AM
Yes, it's still to be seen at Amazon.com, which offers the following details:

.>> R. Vaughan Wiliams SYMPHONY No.1 ("A Sea Symphony", 1910) .... Total time - 65.30. T. Smoryakova, soprano B. Vasiliev, baritone The Leningrad Musical Society Conductors" Chour Artistic director A. Verechagin The Rimsky-Korsakov Musical School Chour Artistic director B. Abalian The USSR Ministry Of Culture Symphony Orchestra Conductor Gennadi Rozdestvensky. Recorded live at the Grand Hall of Leningrad Philharmony April 30, 1988. <<

                  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41A502HXPDL._SS500_.jpg)

I also own the BBC recording with Rozhdestvensky conducting the BBC SO in the Fifth. But with a British orchestra, it doesn't count as `Russian VW', I would say.




Thanks Johan,

How interesting!

I have that CD with No 5 and Sancta Civitas; both excellent performances. I'd love to hear Rozhdestvensky doing Nos 4,6 or 9. The Sargent No 4, which is excellent and which was also on that BBC Radio Classics label has just been reissued on BBC Legends (with sibelius No 4).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2008, 09:42:02 AM
Don't know about his Bruckner or Honegger(!) either!

Has this been linked before: Norman Lebrecht has written a column on the Vaughan Williams anniversary:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/080430-NL-Vaughan.html

Simon Rattle sure is a prick ...


Thanks for the link to a very interesting article. I'll DVD the programme tomorrow.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on May 22, 2008, 10:58:06 AM
As a Chelsea supporter I'm having a bad evening  :'(

I'm very sorry, that was a heartbreaker for many. I have strong feelings against ManU since the '99 debacle.

But when Bayern Munich returns to the champions league next year, it will be ok since we all know they will win it anyway.  ;D



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on May 22, 2008, 05:22:00 PM
Quote from: Lebrecht
He strikes me the kind of man whose greatest effort went into concealing his greatness.

What, as opposed to writing good music? >:D

 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2008, 10:16:19 PM
I'm very sorry, that was a heartbreaker for many. I have strong feelings against ManU since the '99 debacle.

But when Bayern Munich returns to the champions league next year, it will be ok since we all know they will win it anyway.  ;D





 :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 22, 2008, 10:32:20 PM
I know I ask for much, but is anyone able to tape the Vaughan Williams documentary tonight on BBC4 and to  post it f.i. to rapidshare or YouTube? If what I am asking is nonsense with regard to technical barriers, then forgive me. I am no expert on video matters.

Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 22, 2008, 10:56:16 PM
Only now I start to realize that the film might contain some revelations? Quote from Norman Lebrecht's column:

Between the wars he flirted harmlessly with his Royal College students – ‘we always called him the Uncle’, says one dear old girl in John Bridcut’s new film – until, in 1938, he fell in love with Ursula Wood, an army bride of traffic-stopping beauty. Bridcut’s film reveals that they became lovers immediately and that Ursula had an abortion, not knowing if the foetus was Wood’s or VW’s.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 23, 2008, 12:05:44 AM
I know I ask for much, but is anyone able to tape the Vaughan Williams documentary tonight on BBC4 and to  post it f.i. to rapidshare or YouTube? If what I am asking is nonsense with regard to technical barriers, then forgive me. I am no expert on video matters.
Oh yes please!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 23, 2008, 12:11:02 AM
Handley is the most consistently pleasing

This cycle?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/614595CH38L._SS400_.gif)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2008, 12:13:38 AM
I know I ask for much, but is anyone able to tape the Vaughan Williams documentary tonight on BBC4 and to  post it f.i. to rapidshare or YouTube? If what I am asking is nonsense with regard to technical barriers, then forgive me. I am no expert on video matters.

Thom

Thom

I am out tonight but I have set up the DVD to record the programme, however, something often goes horribly wrong ( as in the time when I asked my mother-in-law to record a crucial football match but she recorded a "Gardener's World" special about turnips instead (I am not joking).

If it comes out ok I haven't the faintest idea how to post it on Youtube or Rapidshare (whatever that is) but i could probably get a copy done at work and would be happy to send one to you or anyone else (within reason) who wants one.

Jeffrey

ps If it doesn't come out it will probably be available for a week on the BBC i Player and I asked one of the technicians at school today if they could copy it, if it goes wrong tonight.  He will see what he can do.

pps Good news. I've just checked the BBC 4 listings and the programme is repeated twice on Saturday. So, I should definitely be able to record it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2008, 01:37:29 AM
This cycle?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/614595CH38L._SS400_.gif)

Yes, but it looks like this now:
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 23, 2008, 02:06:35 AM
Thom

I am out tonight but I have set up the DVD to record the programme, however, something often goes horribly wrong ( as in the time when I asked my mother-in-law to record a crucial football match but she recorded a "Gardener's World" special about turnips instead (I am not joking).

If it comes out ok I haven't the faintest idea how to post it on Youtube or Rapidshare (whatever that is) but i could probably get a copy done at work and would be happy to send one to you or anyone else (within reason) who wants one.

Jeffrey

ps If it doesn't come out it will probably be available for a week on the BBC i Player and I asked one of the technicians at school today if they could copy it, if it goes wrong tonight.  He will see what he can do.

pps Good news. I've just checked the BBC 4 listings and the programme is repeated twice on Saturday. So, I should definitely be able to record it.

Jeffrey, thank you very much, you're so kind! But please, only if it doesn't cost you too much time.

Thom


Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 23, 2008, 02:20:45 AM
Thom

I am out tonight but I have set up the DVD to record the programme, however, something often goes horribly wrong ( as in the time when I asked my mother-in-law to record a crucial football match but she recorded a "Gardener's World" special about turnips instead (I am not joking).

If it comes out ok I haven't the faintest idea how to post it on Youtube or Rapidshare (whatever that is) but i could probably get a copy done at work and would be happy to send one to you or anyone else (within reason) who wants one.

Jeffrey

ps If it doesn't come out it will probably be available for a week on the BBC i Player and I asked one of the technicians at school today if they could copy it, if it goes wrong tonight.  He will see what he can do.

pps Good news. I've just checked the BBC 4 listings and the programme is repeated twice on Saturday. So, I should definitely be able to record it.

Great, Jeffrey! I have an idea - if you can make a copy of the programme, send it to me. I am quite computer-savvy. I could make copies for the other Dutch members who are interested, if Thom and Christo (and Harry?) agree, that is. This scheme could 'ease your burden'...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 23, 2008, 02:46:45 AM
if Thom and Christo (and Harry?) agree, that is.

I, at least, do !  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 23, 2008, 02:56:58 AM
Yes of course, great idea, thanks also to Jezetha.

Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2008, 03:04:53 AM
Great, Jeffrey! I have an idea - if you can make a copy of the programme, send it to me. I am quite computer-savvy. I could make copies for the other Dutch members who are interested, if Thom and Christo (and Harry?) agree, that is. This scheme could 'ease your burden'...

Thom, Johan and Johan,

I think that the best thing is if I record it twice tomorrow (it is televised on three separate occasions) and then send one of the DVDs to Johan (Jezetha), who can then magically convert it to a format which can be viewed by everyone.  Alternatively, the helpful media technician at school says that he can copy a DVD as long as it is not a commercially available pre-recorded one. I would then be happy to drive down to Harwich and smuggle it on to the Hook of Holland ferry ;D

Jeffrey.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 23, 2008, 03:07:24 AM
Thom, Johan and Johan,

I think that the best thing is if I record it twice tomorrow (it is televised on three separate occasions) and then send one of the DVDs to Johan (Jezetha), who can then magically convert it to a format which can be viewed by everyone.  Alternatively, the helpful media technician at school says that he can copy a DVD as long as it is not a commercially available pre-recorded one. I would then be happy to drive down to Harwich and smuggle it on to the Hook of Holland ferry ;D

That'll suit me fine - I live very near Hook of Holland!  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 23, 2008, 03:36:28 AM
That'll suit me fine - I live very near Hook of Holland!  ;D

The same applies to me, Wassenaar <-> The Hook, can't be much more than 15 km or so  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2008, 04:16:23 AM
Ok, it will be in an anonymous looking brown package, labelled "Vaughan Williams...scandalous revelations about his love life...not to be opened by those of a nervous disposition". :o
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 23, 2008, 04:43:53 AM
Ok, it will be in an anonymous looking brown package, labelled "Vaughan Williams...scandalous revelations about his love life...not to be opened by those of a nervous disposition". :o

 ;D

But thanks for the warning all the same - I think I'll check with my GP first.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2008, 05:00:59 AM
;D

But thanks for the warning all the same - I think I'll check with my GP first.

 :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 23, 2008, 05:29:32 AM
This cycle?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/614595CH38L._SS400_.gif)

Ooh, does this mean that you are thinking about getting it? :) It is IMO an ideal intro, not just due to having strong performances all-round, but also for the exceptional amount of extra pieces it comes with - the Classics for Pleasure reissue of the cycle is very well filled out.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on May 23, 2008, 05:43:12 AM
It's on before the great British "watershed" so there'll be no sex involved.

The "watershed" assumes that all kiddies and those of a particular nervous disposition will be in bed before nine o'clock (yeah, playing 'Grand Theft Auto' or watching internet porn on their laptop under the bedclothes).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 23, 2008, 10:23:39 AM
Holy crap. I just heard an extract of Dona nobis pacem in the documentary, I need to hear the full piece asap - is there a preferred recording? I think I may find the 1936 one a bit too creaky sounding for a first listen.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 23, 2008, 10:27:17 AM
Ooh, does this mean that you are thinking about getting it? :)
Yes. I thought it would be a good start, just have a few VWs (Hickox, and Haitink/8) and Tallis Fantasia of Frühbeck de Burgos, which is great.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 23, 2008, 10:36:08 AM
Holy crap. I just heard an extract of Dona nobis pacem in the documentary, I need to hear the full piece asap - is there a preferred recording? I think I may find the 1936 one a bit too creaky sounding for a first listen.

The 1936 Dona Nobis Pacem will be the one conducted by Vaughan Williams himself, recently released by Somn:
                                   (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2008/Feb08/RVW5_sommcd071.jpg)

As for modern recordings, I myself would prefer Thomson's version on Chandos:

     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YSCZV0BYL._SS500_.jpg)

                         
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 23, 2008, 11:38:18 AM
Christo - thanks. I am slightly tempted by the following, as I also haven't heard the coupling, but I am not a great fan of Hickox...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JJV36YEML._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Anyway, the documentary was wonderful, very worth watching if anyone can record and distribute it (no DVD recorder for me :(). The most important part of an RVW documentary for me is not to go overboard on the "DISPELLING MYTHS" tangent, banging on about subtexts, etc. Fortunately this one did not. It mentioned a bit about the Pastoral, but didn't even play the first movement of the 6th (commonly used for "shock effect") - instead focusing on the finale. It gave an above average overview of his vocal work, and even his conducting of Bach.

I hope that a few people who have yet to get into classical music watched it as well, as it was an excellent introduction to his work as a whole, not quite as specific as the "love life" theme implied, and the extracts were well chosen, and sometimes given a decent length of time before they get buried under interviews. I could see it as being a great gateway into people "getting" what classical has to offer.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on May 23, 2008, 11:39:51 AM
Holy crap. I just heard an extract of Dona nobis pacem in the documentary, I need to hear the full piece asap - is there a preferred recording? I think I may find the 1936 one a bit too creaky sounding for a first listen.

It's a superb piece, IMO, and belies its fix-up nature (it was assembled from sections written over a rather large period of time). I've got Hickox on EMI (coupled with the equally fine if rather less immediately awe-inspiring Sancta Civitas) and I notice it appears to be for sale for four quid at Amazon.co.uk. ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 23, 2008, 11:42:36 AM
It's a superb piece, IMO, and belies its fix-up nature (it was assembled from sections written over a rather large period of time). I've got Hickox on EMI (coupled with the equally fine if rather less immediately awe-inspiring Sancta Civitas) and I notice it appears to be for sale for four quid at Amazon.co.uk. ;)

Reading my mind! Hehe $:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on May 23, 2008, 12:00:45 PM
The Hickox performance of 'Dona nobis pacem' is-in my opinion-extremely fine. I think that Hickox is a particularly good conductor of big choral pieces and the intense power of both pieces on that disc is, I believe, conveyed with immense sincerity and beauty. Bryn Terfel is a magnificent solist in both works.

There is also a splendid recording of 'Dona nobis pacem' by Sir Adrian Boult on EMI with John Carol Case(who featured in tonight's documentary) as soloist.

Re the documentary...I missed the first half and will try to catch it on BBC Iplayer before commenting.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on May 23, 2008, 12:26:49 PM


     This recording of Dona Nobis Pacem with Abravanel/Utah SO is paired with a fine account of the 6th Symphony which has been mentioned a number of times.

     (http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/6169/vaughanwilliams6donanobxz4.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 01:10:36 AM
I'm pleased to say that my DVD recording of the documentary came out fine. I'll record it again tonight when it is repeated on BBC 4 and post the DVD to Jezetha on Tuesday.

I thought that the programme was great; more coherent, in a way, than the excellent 3 hour documentary shown here (UK) on New Year's Day. All the symphonies, other than Antartica, were featured and some works, like Dona Nobis Pacem, which did not feature at all in the earlier documentary (sadly no Sancta Civitas...his most beautiful choral work). The contributions from Ursula were very touching and the usual suspects were there; Michael Kennedy, Roy Douglas and Anthony Payne who, surprisingly I thought in view of his work on Elgar's Third Symphony said that he thought that VW was the greater composer. I enjoyed the description of VW's physical appearance; "like a sofa with the stuffing falling out" Some fascinating, albeit brief, archive film footage of Vaughan Williams as well as his spoken commentary for the documentary film "Dim Little Island"  Despite the more candid revelations about VW's affair with Ursula, I thought that he still emerged as a thoroughly decent and humane individual as well as being such a wonderful composer. The story of Ralph, Adeline and Ursula all together, holding hands during a wartime bombing raid was very touching (no pun intended). Evidently Ralph and Adeline were in their separate beds, with Ursula lying on a mattress between them.

As for Dona Nobis Pacem, I agree with Johan (Christo) that the best recordings are Thomson on Chandos or Boult on an excellent two disc EMI collection (the best of those compilations I think).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 24, 2008, 01:15:00 AM
Great review, Jeffrey! First Lethe, then you - now I am really looking forward to watching it (but receiving the DVD first, of course).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 01:39:38 AM
Great review, Jeffrey! First Lethe, then you - now I am really looking forward to watching it (but receiving the DVD first, of course).

Good Morning Johan and thank you!

You will enjoy the programme, I am sure. The Dona Nobis Pacem sequence was especially good, with effective synchronization of scenes of artillery fire on the Western Front in World War One, with the more explosive moments from the score.  I thought that this worked much better than the scenes of horrific carnage from modern conflict, juxtaposed with the 9th Symphony in the earlier documentary. It was certainly less contrived and it rang far truer in this case. Last night's programme also featured a lovely vocal setting "Silence and Music" to words by Ursula and one of "Four Last Songs", neither of which I had heard before. It is a bank holiday here on Monday, so I will post on Tuesday.

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 01:41:25 AM

     This recording of Dona Nobis Pacem with Abravanel/Utah SO is paired with a fine account of the 6th Symphony which has been mentioned a number of times.

     (http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/6169/vaughanwilliams6donanobxz4.jpg)


This is currently available in this format:

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 24, 2008, 02:27:39 AM
Excellent review Jeffrey, thanks. I have bought the 3 hour documentary you were referring to, and it was/is very interesting indeed. So am now looking forward to watch this recent documentary. VW's music is very dear to me and that being the case it is important for me also to know more about the man behind the music.

Th.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 02:33:46 AM
Strongly recommend the CD below. It is my favourite of the various two CD collections of music by Vaughan Williams. It contains Boults fine recording of Dona Nobis Pacem and some other fine lesser known works, including the beautiful Magnificat, Sargent's underrated recording of the Tallis Fantasia (which is the version I most often play...he is an underrated conductor), Larry Adler performing the late Harmonica Romance and much else besides.  Furthermore, it sees the return of a quirkily memorable work, which I really like, the "Fantasia (quasi variazone) on the Old 104th Psalm Tune." This originally appeared with Boult's EMI recording of the Ninth Symphony and has not been seen since; despite my brother commenting to me that it reminded him of that old children's favourite "Sparky's Magic Piano", I think that it is a fine and unusual work, with the piano playing a dominant role. It is one of those late craggy works by Vaughan Williams (like the late Violin Sonata and Epithalamion), which are oddly compelling.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 02:38:50 AM
Excellent review Jeffrey, thanks. I have bought the 3 hour documentary you were referring to, and it was/is very interesting indeed. So am now looking forward to watch this recent documentary. VW's music is very dear to me and that being the case it is important for me also to know more about the man behind the music.

Th.

Thom,

You will really enjoy the new documentary. I think that it compliments the earlier one. This year has seen 4 great hours of VW documentaries. Really though, the BBC should have scheduled the programme on one of the main channels (BBC1 or BBC 2) instead of the satellite channel.

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on May 24, 2008, 03:01:29 AM
Strongly recommend the CD below. It is my favourite of the various two CD collections of music by Vaughan Williams. It contains Boults fine recording of Dona Nobis Pacem and some other fine lesser known works, including the beautiful Magnificat, Sargent's underrated recording of the Tallis Fantasia (which is the version I most often play...he is an underrated conductor), Larry Adler performing the late Harmonica Romance and much else besides.  Furthermore, it sees the return of a quirkily memorable work, which I really like, the "Fantasia (quasi variazone) on the Old 104th Psalm Tune." This originally appeared with Boult's EMI recording of the Ninth Symphony and has not been seen since; despite my brother commenting to me that it reminded him of that old children's favourite "Sparky's Magic Piano", I think that it is a fine and unusual work, with the piano playing a dominant role. It is one of those late craggy works by Vaughan Williams (like the late Violin Sonata and Epithalamion), which are oddly compelling.

Sounds neat :) If I grab this one, what would you recommend for Sanca Civitas, or is Hickox the only option? (I am now determined to make a stab at hearing all the RVW I possibly can - I'm surprised how much I have missed.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on May 24, 2008, 04:43:21 AM
I am now determined to make a stab at hearing all the RVW I possibly can - I'm surprised how much I have missed.

Go for it all! You can't go wrong here. I love everything by him. Not one of his excellent symphonies is like its predecessor. His vocal works are magnificent, and his concertos are favourites of mine (the Oboe concerto, the Concerto Grosso and the wonderful partita for double string orchestra). As far as the sancta civitas is concerned, mine is the Hickox one, which suits me fine, but i can not compare.

Th.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 06:27:16 AM
Sounds neat :) If I grab this one, what would you recommend for Sanca Civitas, or is Hickox the only option? (I am now determined to make a stab at hearing all the RVW I possibly can - I'm surprised how much I have missed.)

Lethe,

This is my favourite version of Sancta Civitas, conducted by David Willcocks and it would be my top recommendation for its ethereal atmosphere. It is, however, the one which I grew up with on LP, so there is a sentimental attachment. Rozhdesvensky recorded a fine version on BBC Radio Classics (with Symphony 5) but that is long gone and only available at absurdly inflated prices. You wont go wrong with the Hickox CD which is a great coupling but don't rule out the Willcocks recording.


Jeffrey



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 24, 2008, 06:40:51 AM
Strongly recommend this excellent new release. Sargent's VW No 4 (BBC SO) was previously on BBC Radio Classics (with Stokowski's No 8, now on Cala). I think that Sargent's performance of Symphony 4 is my favourite, especially the first movement which has a relentless urgency, unlike any other recording (even VW's own). It is from the 1963 Proms and there is a great atmosphere. The unique coupling; Sibelius Symphony 4 is also desirable. A "warmer" performance than usual but with great atmosphere too:

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 24, 2008, 09:15:08 AM
Any chance you'll upload it somewhere? I'm not too much of an expert in video things (but in audio ;) ) - But I know the knowledge about all this is at http://www.doom9.org/ forum...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Papy Oli on May 25, 2008, 05:55:47 AM
I am not sure if the BBC I-Player is available from outside the UK but the documentary is now available on there :

clicky (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00bfmt4.shtml?order=aztitle%3Aalphabetical&filter=category%3A100006&scope=iplayercategories&start=1&version_pid=b00bfmn5)

I had never heard any RVW before seeing it last night on BBC 4 - I must confess only 2 extracts caught my attention for further exploration : the Tallis Fantasia, and the 5th symphony.

High quality documentary in any case - well worth the licence fee  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 25, 2008, 06:16:25 AM
I am not sure if the BBC I-Player is available from outside the UK but the documentary is now available on there :

clicky (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00bfmt4.shtml?order=aztitle%3Aalphabetical&filter=category%3A100006&scope=iplayercategories&start=1&version_pid=b00bfmn5)

I had never heard any RVW before seeing it last night on BBC 4 - I must confess only 2 extracts caught my attention for further exploration : the Tallis Fantasia, and the 5th symphony.

High quality documentary in any case - well worth the licence fee  ;D



Can you actually download it?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Papy Oli on May 25, 2008, 06:41:27 AM
Hi Johan

It is actually downloadable but with some restrictions :

Downloading a programme means that the whole programme is sent as a .wmv file to your computer. This programme file is will be stored on your hard drive for up to 30 days. You then have up to seven days from when you start watching the programme to when it will expire. You can manage all your downloaded programme files through the BBC iPlayer Download Manager, which you can access or by clicking on My Downloads.

Note: You cannot watch a programme until all of it has downloaded to your computer, but you can store it for up to 30 days in your Download Manager. You then have up to seven days from when you start watching a programme to finish watching it.

You need to use the BBC iPlayer Download Manager to do this, and only computers with Windows XP or Vista operating systems can download programmes. This is due to the digital rights management and sharing technology we use.


Could you actually watch the documentary itself on the link i gave ? just curious if they allow this out of the UK, for licence purposes...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on May 25, 2008, 06:42:37 AM
I am not sure if the BBC I-Player is available from outside the UK but the documentary is now available on there :
"Sorry, this programme is only available to play in the UK"

While you watch it and have it fully cached, maybe you find the video file in your browsers temporary location? Watch out for file date and size which correspond with your video file. This way, I had some success with flash files and opera (Opera stores in a directory called 'cache4').
Just an idea.

EDIT: :( Well accoording to papy's latest posting it's drm'ed wmv, which is bad.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 25, 2008, 06:48:45 AM
I use Opera, too. Blasted drm! I wonder whether this .wmv file will selfdestruct after 30 days?!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Papy Oli on May 25, 2008, 07:06:27 AM
Turns out the specs of my PC are too old to use the BBC download manager - i gave it a try anyway but that crashed everything, so not going further in the experiment  :-\
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 25, 2008, 07:29:57 AM
Turns out the specs of my PC are too old to use the BBC download manager - i gave it a try anyway but that crashed everything, so not going further in the experiment  :-\

We don't want you to wreck your computer! A pity you can't see it, though...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Papy Oli on May 25, 2008, 07:37:20 AM
it only took an uninstall and a reboot to bring things back in order  ;D

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 25, 2008, 07:47:40 AM
Phew! That's a relief. I only narrowly averted cardiac arrest...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 30, 2008, 11:54:05 AM
Since one or two weeks (?), all Amazons and other music stores of this planet, are presenting an EMI 30CD box called The Collector's Edition, to be released towards the end of June. And costing around 40 GBP, 60 USD, 50 Euros. Does anyone know, what recordings these are? Supposedly most of the well-known EMI recordings of the last decades? Any news on that?

                          (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61W3ZvHH-kL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Wanderer on May 30, 2008, 12:10:09 PM
Since one or two weeks (?), all Amazons and other music stores of this planet, are presenting an EMI 30CD box called The Collector's Edition, to be released towards the end of June. And costing around 40 GBP, 60 USD, 50 Euros. Does anyone know, what recordings these are? Supposedly most of the well-known EMI recordings of the last decades? Any news on that?

                          (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61W3ZvHH-kL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)



CD 1

A Sea Symphony - Joan Rogers, William Shimell / RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 2

London Symphony & Symphony No. 8 - RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 3

Pastoral Symphony and Symphony No. 4 Alison Barlow, RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 4

Oboe Concerto & Symphony No. 5 - Jonathan Small, RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 5

Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9 - RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 6

Serenade to Music (choral), Partita for Double String Orchestra, Sinfonia Antartica - RLPO / Vernon Handley

CD 7

The Wasps Suite, Prelude & Fugue in C minor, Piano Concerto in C - LPO / RLPO / Piers Lane / Vernon Handley

CD 8

Piano Concerto in C for two pianos, Job - Vitya Vronsky, Victor Babin / LPO / Adrian Boult

CD 9

Serenade to Music (16 soloists), English Folk Song Suite (orch), Norfolk Rhapsody, The Lark Ascending etc - High Bean / LSO / New Phil Orch / Adrian Boult

CD 10

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, English Folk Song Suite (band), Concerto grosso, Tuba Concerto, - Various Artists

CD 11

Serenade to Music (orch), King Cole, 5 Mystical Songs, Sea Songs etc. Northern Sinfonia of England / Richard Hickox

CD 12

Variations for Brass Band (orch), Concerto accademico for violin and orchestra in D minor, String Quartet No. 1 - Bournemouth SO / Northern SInfonia of England / Richard Hickox / Britten Quartet

CD 13

Violin Sonata in A minor, String Quartet  No. 2 etc - Music Group of London

CD 14

Toward the Unknown Region, Dona nobis pacem, Magnificat etc - LPO / Adrian Boult

CD 15

An Oxford Elegy, Flos campi, Whitsunday Hymn, Sancta Civitas - KCC / LSO / David Willcocks

CD 16

Five Tudor Portraits, Benedicite, FIve variants of 'Dives and Lazarus - John Carol Cawe, Bcah Choir, New Phil Orch / LSO / David Willcocks

CD 17

Hodie, Fantasia on Christmas Carols (w/strings & organ) - Janet Baker, Bach Choir / LSO / David Willcocks

CD 18

Fantasia on Christmas Carols (w/orch), In Windsor Forest, SOngs of travel, On Wenlock Edge - Various Artists

CD 19

Mass in G minor, All People that on Earth Do Dwell, Te Deum in G, Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn tunes, othern sacred choral - KCC / David Willcocks

CD 20

Four Hymns, Merciless Beauty, Ten Blake Songs, Wenlock Edge - Ian Partridge / Music Group of London

CD 21

The House of Life, Songs of Travel (piano) - Anthony Rolfe Johnson / David Willison

CD 22

Songs with piano, choral folksong arrangements - Various Artists

CD 23

Solo folksong arrangements, A Song of Thanksgiving - LPO / Adrian Boult 

CD 24

Epithalamion, Riders to the Sea - LPO / David Willcocks / Orch Nova of London / Meredith Davies

CD 25 & CD 26

Hugh the Drover - Robert Tear Sheila Armstrong, Michael Rippon, Robert Lloyd / Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral / RPO / Charles Groves

CD 27 & CD 28

Sir John in Love - Felicity Palmer, Robert Tear, Robert Lloyd, Helen Watts, New Phil Orch / Meredith Davies

CD 29 & CD 30

Pilgrim’s Progress & rehearsal sequence - Ian Partridge, John Shirley-Quirk, Jean Temperley, John Noble / LPC / LPO / Adrian Boult
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on May 31, 2008, 03:48:07 AM
Nothing new there.  :(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on May 31, 2008, 08:56:25 AM
Nothing new there.  :(

Indeed. Still, I don't own CDs nos. 27/28 (Sir John in Love) yet, and should perhaps buy the set for its sake alone ...  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 31, 2008, 01:45:59 PM
I wish that EMI would reissue Paavo Berglund's Bournemouth recording of Symphony 6: Very frustrating that it has been (once again) missed out in all the 50th anniversary stuff.

On a separate note HMV have issued a useful four CD box "The Essential Vaughan Williams Collection" (not to be confused with a new EMI double CD with the same title). There is much overlap between the two sets but the HMV box is better value at £15 in the UK. It includes "A Sea Symphony" (Haitink), "A London Symphony" (Boult EMI version). "On Wenlock Edge" (Partridge etc), "Job" (Hickox)...excellent version..never heard it before. "Serenade to Music" (Boult), "Mass" (Willcocks), "All people that on earth do dwell"+ that well known disc of Boult doing "The Lark Ascending" (Bean), Wasps Overture, Engish Folk Song Suite, Norfolk Rhaosody, Greensleeves Fantasia+ Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus (Del Mar) and Tallis Fantasia (Barbirolli). Hickox's "Job" was the most interesting discovery for me.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on May 31, 2008, 09:36:02 PM
I wish that EMI would reissue Paavo Berglund's Bournemouth recording of Symphony 6: Very frustrating that it has been (once again) missed out in all the 50th anniversary stuff.

Obviously my wish is EMI's command ;D

Here it is. Most interesting anniversary release as Gibson's No 5 and Berglund's No 6 were only ever very briefly available on a very old HMV own label CD. They are both excellent performances.

Stupid wasp photo on sleeve however.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on June 14, 2008, 04:31:24 AM
Got the Tony Palmer DVD in the mail yesterday, along with Spano's new account of the 5th Symphony and Vaughan Williams' own historic (1952) performance, coupled with a 1936 Dona Nobis Pacem. (http://www.smilies.4-user.de/include/Grosse/smilie_gr_136.gif)


Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 04:37:10 AM
BBC Music Magazine has a whole issue devoted to Vaughan Williams (July Issue). Now in the UK shops.  The accompanying CD features Symphony No 5 (BBC SO 2007 Proms, Andrew Davis) and the Mass in G Minor.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 04:44:02 AM
Got the Tony Palmer DVD in the mail yesterday, along with Spano's new account of the 5th Symphony and Vaughan Williams' own historic (1952) performance, coupled with a 1936 Dona Nobis Pacem. (http://www.smilies.4-user.de/include/Grosse/smilie_gr_136.gif)

The VW Symphony No 5/Dona Nobis Pacem, conducted by VW is a wonderful CD. I am seeing The Pilgrim's Progress as my birthday treat next weekend. :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 14, 2008, 05:23:54 AM
BBC Music Magazine has a whole issue devoted to Vaughan Williams (July Issue). Now in the UK shops.  The accompanying CD features Symphony No 5 (BBC SO 2007 Proms, Andrew Davis) and the Mass in G Minor.



I have just noticed, Jeffrey...you have started posting CD covers! You have obviously mastered the technique!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 05:43:32 AM
I have just noticed, Jeffrey...you have started posting CD covers! You have obviously mastered the technique!

Thanks to you Colin. There's no stopping me now with my advanced knowledge of technical wizardry  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 14, 2008, 05:54:11 AM
Thanks to you Colin. There's no stopping me now with my advanced knowledge of technical wizardry  ;D

I'll upgrade my system specs. The Sussex Whizzkid is coming...  :o ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 10:40:08 AM
I'll upgrade my system specs. The Sussex Whizzkid is coming...  :o ;D

 ;) ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 14, 2008, 10:54:50 AM
I am going to watch 'O Thou Transcendent' either this evening or tomorrow. I have seen the BBC documentary last week, thanks to you, Jeffrey. I'll be able to compare and contrast.

I liked the documentary. One criticism: if your theme is 'the artist inspired to make great things by the female of the species', I want some stab at a possible explanation why this should be so. It's not at all self-evident. Think of all the nth-rate poetry inspired by love... Now you simply got a mention and/or picture of every woman RVW ever took a fancy to or found attractive. Which is the kind of thing most heterosexual males would recognize, but tells us nothing about creativity and its origins.

As a writer who thinks he understands something of the mechanisms involved, I would have been interested to learn something new.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 14, 2008, 10:32:25 PM
I am going to watch 'O Thou Transcendent' either this evening or tomorrow. I have seen the BBC documentary last week, thanks to you, Jeffrey. I'll be able to compare and contrast.

I liked the documentary. One criticism: if your theme is 'the artist inspired to make great things by the female of the species', I want some stab at a possible explanation why this should be so. It's not at all self-evident. Think of all the nth-rate poetry inspired by love... Now you simply got a mention and/or picture of every woman RVW ever took a fancy to or found attractive. Which is the kind of thing most heterosexual males would recognize, but tells us nothing about creativity and its origins.

As a writer who thinks he understands something of the mechanisms involved, I would have been interested to learn something new.

You make a very interesting point Johan. My own feeling is that because Vaughan Williams' private life (especially his relationship with Adeline and Ursula) was such a closed book until now (Ursula's biography, good as it is, is something of an account of VW's desk diary rather than an attempted exploration of his inner life and relationships), there was bound to be an over-reaction the other way after the death of Ursula. Hence Michael Kennedy's description of Symphony 4 as "rage against Adeline". I am unconvinced, although the revelations about VW's affair with Ursula, her wartime pregnancy by Ralph (possibly) when she was still married to her first husband do help us to fill out the picture of VW. Nothing I saw on either documentary really changed the way I feel about VW as a man of great integrity and a truly great composer. The juxtaposition of images of dead children, in horrific war newsreel footage, alonside Vaughan Williams's 9th Symphony, in the Palmer TV documentary was the least convincing thing I saw in either film.

Good articles in the BBC Music Mag this month on VW and a nice CD with Andrew Davis doing Symph 5 (better than his studio recording I think).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2008, 08:15:30 AM
I liked the documentary. One criticism: if your theme is 'the artist inspired to make great things by the female of the species', I want some stab at a possible explanation why this should be so. It's not at all self-evident. Think of all the nth-rate poetry inspired by love... Now you simply got a mention and/or picture of every woman RVW ever took a fancy to or found attractive. Which is the kind of thing most heterosexual males would recognize, but tells us nothing about creativity and its origins.

Excellent point.

The fact is, that inspiration for creative work comes from many sources, not all of them 'emotionally close' to the artist.

Trying to tie all (or even, the most 'important') aspects of an artist's creative work, to love/romance, makes for long shelf-life, but is as red a herring as ever flew.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2008, 08:16:56 AM
You make a very interesting point Johan. My own feeling is that because Vaughan Williams' private life (especially his relationship with Adeline and Ursula) was such a closed book until now (Ursula's biography, good as it is, is something of an account of VW's desk diary rather than an attempted exploration of his inner life and relationships), there was bound to be an over-reaction the other way after the death of Ursula. Hence Michael Kennedy's description of Symphony 4 as "rage against Adeline". I am unconvinced, although the revelations about VW's affair with Ursula, her wartime pregnancy by Ralph (possibly) when she was still married to her first husband do help us to fill out the picture of VW. Nothing I saw on either documentary really changed the way I feel about VW as a man of great integrity and a truly great composer. The juxtaposition of images of dead children, in horrific war newsreel footage, alonside Vaughan Williams's 9th Symphony, in the Palmer TV documentary was the least convincing thing I saw in either film.

Yes, we quickly reach a point when the 'documentary' is more about the creator of the documentary, than about the ostensible subject thereof.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 15, 2008, 11:49:57 AM
Yes, we quickly reach a point when the 'documentary' is more about the creator of the documentary, than about the ostensible subject thereof.

V good point.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 16, 2008, 01:35:49 PM
I can understand the attempt to put a composer's work in the context of his personal experiences-of war or of love in VW's case. The context can go far to explain the background to his thinking and can therefore do much to help the listener to understand what the music is about. It can however be taken too far and colour the listener's appreciation in ways the composer himself did not actually intend. VW himself-presumably-intended that we listen to his music as music not as a reflection of his sexual frustrations! I watched the BBC documentary with a degree of unease. I welcome the attempt to dispel VW's image as a cuddly old buffer who wrote outdated 'cowpat' music with little relevance to the modern world but I don't really want to dwell over much on his family life or the difficulties of his first marriage any more than I want to listen to Beethoven and think about his foul temper!

I agree, Jeffrey, that the articles in this month's BBC Music Magazine are very interesting and a cut above many of the articles usually found in that publication. They certainly do VW proud. You will have noticed that Hickox's is the preferred choice for No.6-totally against the grain of most contributers to this site!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 16, 2008, 10:12:44 PM
You will have noticed that Hickox's is the preferred choice for No.6-totally against the grain of most contributers to this site!!

Interesting indeed! I didn't even dare to buy the Hickox VI - as it met with such a general disapproval. But since I, no doubt caused by my regrettable lack of insight, tend to disagree with some other common opinions too (I don't prefer Davis' Sixth and I happen to love Thompson's), and since I appreciate Hickox's Fifth, especially, I'll now invest in this CD too:

                                      (http://www.smr-group.net/hfr_discartwork/vw_symphonies_01t.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 17, 2008, 04:26:14 AM
Interesting indeed! I didn't even dare to buy the Hickox VI - as it met with such a general disapproval. But since I, no doubt caused by my regrettable lack of insight, tend to disagree with some other common opinions too (I don't prefer Davis' Sixth and I happen to love Thompson's), and since I appreciate Hickox's Fifth, especially, I'll now invest in this CD too:

                                      (http://www.smr-group.net/hfr_discartwork/vw_symphonies_01t.jpg)

I like the Davis and the Thomson. Boult's 1950s Decca is the best IMHO. The Hickox was a great disappointment but I will give it another listen.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on June 18, 2008, 04:37:38 AM
I won't. Time is precious.   ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: btpaul674 on June 18, 2008, 10:44:03 AM
Interesting indeed! I didn't even dare to buy the Hickox VI - as it met with such a general disapproval. But since I, no doubt caused by my regrettable lack of insight, tend to disagree with some other common opinions too (I don't prefer Davis' Sixth and I happen to love Thompson's), and since I appreciate Hickox's Fifth, especially, I'll now invest in this CD too:

                                      (http://www.smr-group.net/hfr_discartwork/vw_symphonies_01t.jpg)

I don't think the 8th on this disc is that bad. The toccata is amazing. I have yet to find a toccata that is as good as this one. The 6th is a different story.  :-\
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 19, 2008, 01:56:10 PM
Strongly recommend the CD below if you like VW Symphony 6; Benjamin's Symphony is a similarly troubled and visionary score. One of the discoveries of last year for me:

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 19, 2008, 02:01:46 PM
Stronly recommend the CD below if you like VW Symphony 6; Benjamin's Symphony is a similarly troubled and visionary score. One of the discoveries of last year for me.

Thanks for reminding me of this CD. They have it on eMusic. I am going to listen to the symphony very soon...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 22, 2008, 10:10:26 PM
I attended a wonderful performance (semi-staged) of the Pilgrim's Progress at Sadler's Wells in London as my birthday treat yesterday (Hickox, Philharmonia, Roderick Williams etc). I was unprepared for the overwhelming emotional reaction to seeing this live. It has to be one of the best concerts I have been to.

The programme booklet was really good as it covers all the concerts given by the Philharmonia in this anniversary year (ie all nine symphonies etc) with articles by Michael Kennedy etc. I am going back on 2nd November, hopefully, to see them play symphonies 9, 6 and 5 at the Festival Hall. If any VW admirers want me to get the booklet for them, I am happy to do so (it costs £3.50).

Interesting articles and videos on site below:

http://www.philharmonia.co.uk/vaughan_williams/
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 22, 2008, 10:21:50 PM
I attended a wonderful performance (semi-staged) of the Pilgrim's Progress at Sadler's Wells in London as my birthday treat yesterday (Hickox, Philharmonia, Roderick Williams etc). I was unprepared for the overwhelming emotional reaction to seeing this live. It has to be one of the best concerts I have been to.

The programme booklet was really good as it covers all the concerts given by the Philharmonia in this anniversary year (ie all nine symphonies etc) with articles by Michael Kennedy etc. I am going back on 2nd November, hopefully, to see them play symphonies 9, 6 and 5 at the Festival Hall. If any VW admirers want me to get the booklet for them, I am happy to do so (it costs £3.50).

My belated congratulations, Jeffrey! And what a perfect birthday present. A pity I can't be there on 2nd November. I have never heard RVW live...  :'(

(I still have to watch "O Thou Transcendent", btw. Must find a 'slot' for it...)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 23, 2008, 12:42:33 AM
My belated congratulations, Jeffrey! And what a perfect birthday present. A pity I can't be there on 2nd November. I have never heard RVW live...  :'(

(I still have to watch "O Thou Transcendent", btw. Must find a 'slot' for it...)

Thanks Johan,

all best wishes

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 23, 2008, 02:13:44 AM
Happy belated birthday, Jeffrey!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 23, 2008, 02:39:03 AM
Happy belated birthday, Jeffrey!

Seconded!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on June 23, 2008, 03:41:34 AM
Thirded :P

Is this the horribly out of print (even on CD) 4th that people say is rather good? Even though I don't have any means to play vinyl atm, I am tempted to snap it up...

(http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/7710/79076601nu4.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Thom on June 23, 2008, 03:53:19 AM
Many happy returns from me as well, Jeffrey!

Thom
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 23, 2008, 04:22:55 AM
Thirded :P

Is this the horribly out of print (even on CD) 4th that people say is rather good? Even though I don't have any means to play vinyl atm, I am tempted to snap it up...

(http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/7710/79076601nu4.jpg)

This quote from Musicweb is perhaps helpful:

"... we shouldn’t forget a number of other highly successful readings, including two by Boult, on Decca (mono) and later on EMI, Berglund, also on EMI, and, a particular favourite, Bernstein on Sony, whose violins sing their hearts out in that first movement tune."
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 23, 2008, 11:34:58 PM
Karl, Johan, Thom, Lethe.

THANK YOU  :)

Berglund's Vaughan Williams Symphony No 4 is just back, with his terrific sibelian Symphony No 6 (one of the few successful recordings, much better than the Hickox in my view) and Gibson's underrated Symphony No 5. I did a review on Amazon. Here is a link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0018OAP2U/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214296116&sr=1-7


Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on June 24, 2008, 03:11:31 AM
Berglund's Vaughan Williams Symphony No 4 is just back, with his terrific sibelian Symphony No 6 (one of the few successful recordings, much better than the Hickox in my view) and Gibson's underrated Symphony No 5. I did a review on Amazon. Here is a link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0018OAP2U/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214296116&sr=1-7

Ah, how ideal, I can finally buy it. Thanks! :D I bet the greedy person selling the old issue for £44 on Amazon marketplace is wishing he sold it sooner, at a more sane price.

Edit: Hmm with the very good Silv. Tallis fantasia (which I've heard before from Operashare) and a decent recording of the oboe concerto along with the core syms, this could probably be a superb intro CD to one skeptical of RVW in general - I'll take note if I ever encounter such a person 0:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 24, 2008, 04:36:14 AM
Ah, how ideal, I can finally buy it. Thanks! :D I bet the greedy person selling the old issue for £44 on Amazon marketplace is wishing he sold it sooner, at a more sane price.

Edit: Hmm with the very good Silv. Tallis fantasia (which I've heard before from Operashare) and a decent recording of the oboe concerto along with the core syms, this could probably be a superb intro CD to one skeptical of RVW in general - I'll take note if I ever encounter such a person 0:)

Yes, it's a really good CD. Personally I'd have preferred them to use the old British Composers cover art (landscape photo of stormy scene) rather than a photo of a wasp's nest, but it's the music that counts. Having said that my work colleague likes the wasp photo. (my life is really boring isn't it  ::)).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 24, 2008, 04:39:53 AM
Yes, it's a really good CD. Personally I'd have preferred them to use the old British Composers cover art (landscape photo of stormy scene) rather than a photo of a wasp's nest, but it's the music that counts. Having said that my work colleague likes the wasp photo. (my life is really boring isn't it  ::)).

I could listen to you all day. Don't stop.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 24, 2008, 04:42:51 AM
I could listen to you all day. Don't stop.  ;D

 :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 24, 2008, 05:58:13 AM
Karl, Johan, Thom, Lethe.

THANK YOU  :)

Berglund's Vaughan Williams Symphony No 4 is just back, with his terrific sibelian Symphony No 6 (one of the few successful recordings, much better than the Hickox in my view) and Gibson's underrated Symphony No 5. I did a review on Amazon. Here is a link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0018OAP2U/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1214296116&sr=1-7


Jeffrey

Sir Alexander Gibson in Vaughan Williams?? Astonishing! I cannot remember him programming much Vaughan Williams during his tenure as Principal Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra(the SNO as it was then). But, of course, VW was very much out of fashion in those days.

Gibson was a fine conductor but suffered from a lack of charisma, a lack of self-confidence and-very sadly-a decline in his later years after giving up his Scottish post. His contribution to music in Scotland-particularly Scottish Opera-was incalculable however.

At a time when only one British symphony orchestra is under the direction of a British conductor(the Halle under Mark Elder) it is worth recalling the glory days of conductors like Boult, Barbirolli, Groves, Pritchard, Del Mar, Gibson, Rignold and Thomson.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 24, 2008, 02:28:53 PM
Sir Alexander Gibson in Vaughan Williams?? Astonishing! I cannot remember him programming much Vaughan Williams during his tenure as Principal Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra(the SNO as it was then). But, of course, VW was very much out of fashion in those days.

Gibson was a fine conductor but suffered from a lack of charisma, a lack of self-confidence and-very sadly-a decline in his later years after giving up his Scottish post. His contribution to music in Scotland-particularly Scottish Opera-was incalculable however.

At a time when only one British symphony orchestra is under the direction of a British conductor(the Halle under Mark Elder) it is worth recalling the glory days of conductors like Boult, Barbirolli, Groves, Pritchard, Del Mar, Gibson, Rignold and Thomson.


V good points Colin. Gibson's VW No 5 is excellent (as is his Sibelius box on Chandos).

Good review of concert I attended:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/opera/article4192745.ece
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 24, 2008, 02:52:29 PM

V good points Colin. Gibson's VW No 5 is excellent (as is his Sibelius box on Chandos).

Good review of concert I attended:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/opera/article4192745.ece

Well said, Richard Morrison-a really sensible music critic! I am jealous of you living so near to London and being able to access such concerts :(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 24, 2008, 03:03:44 PM
Gibson was a particularly fine Sibelian. I have a number of the Sibelius Tone Poems conducted by Gibson and his version of Symphony No.5.

I was told by an orchestral manager that in his later days he was difficult to engage as a conductor because he appeared to have lost confidence in his own ability to conduct. We all know of composers who ran out of inspiration or who felt that this was the case(Sibelius himself, Bax to an extent) but perhaps we forget that some conductors may feel the same way.

Hmm...think I ought to reflect more on this...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 24, 2008, 03:12:02 PM
Gibson was a particularly fine Sibelian. I have a number of the Sibelius Tone Poems conducted by Gibson and his version of Symphony No.5.

I was told by an orchestral manager that in his later days he was difficult to engage as a conductor because he appeared to have lost confidence in his own ability to conduct. We all know of composers who ran out of inspiration or who felt that this was the case(Sibelius himself, Bax to an extent) but perhaps we forget that some conductors may feel the same way.

Hmm...think I ought to reflect more on this...

Good point Colin; sad about Alexander Gibson. You're up late tonight!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 24, 2008, 03:14:01 PM
Good point Colin; sad about Alexander Gibson. You're up late tonight!

The advantages of retirement, Jeffrey :) :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 24, 2008, 10:30:56 PM
The advantages of retirement, Jeffrey :) :)

Yes, and I'm jealous of that! (back at work now >:()
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2008, 10:02:25 AM
I find that I am listening to the Pilgrim's Progress all the time now since seeing it live last Sunday (Hickox, Chandos recording). I am surprised that I ignored this work for so long.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on June 26, 2008, 10:04:18 AM
There's one I still know by title only.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 26, 2008, 10:32:28 AM
I find that I am listening to the Pilgrim's Progress all the time now since seeing it live last Sunday (Hickox, Chandos recording). I am surprised that I ignored this work for so long.


I have the old Boult recording on EMI although I did read the rave reviews of the Hickox. One aspect of the older version are the rehearsal excerpts included on the CD. It is fascinating to listen to Sir Adrian rehearsing the work. What a marvellous English gentleman he was! A type probably now virtually extinct in this country-courteous, polite, old world charm. But what a magnificent musician! His contribution to British music in the 20th century will never die. Almost single-handedly he preserved the traditions and the reputations of many composers who might otherwise have sunk without trace. Ok I am being unfair to Barbirolli but you probably know what I mean :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2008, 10:46:14 AM

I have the old Boult recording on EMI although I did read the rave reviews of the Hickox. One aspect of the older version are the rehearsal excerpts included on the CD. It is fascinating to listen to Sir Adrian rehearsing the work. What a marvellous English gentleman he was! A type probably now virtually extinct in this country-courteous, polite, old world charm. But what a magnificent musician! His contribution to British music in the 20th century will never die. Almost single-handedly he preserved the traditions and the reputations of many composers who might otherwise have sunk without trace. Ok I am being unfair to Barbirolli but you probably know what I mean :)

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I was lucky enough to see Boult conduct most of the VW symphonies live. His Lyrita Rubbra 7th Symphony is an especial favourite. I have the Boult Pilgrim's Progess too but in some ways the best CD version I have heard is the (unavailable ) Igor Kennaway Northern Opera version in front of an audience. It has the atmosphere of the live performance missing elsewhere (a work colleague lent it to me).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2008, 10:47:18 AM
There's one I still know by title only.

If you like the 5th Symphony you should like the Pilgrim's Progress.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on June 26, 2008, 11:29:28 AM
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I was lucky enough to see Boult conduct most of the VW symphonies live. His Lyrita Rubbra 7th Symphony is an especial favourite. I have the Boult Pilgrim's Progess too but in some ways the best CD version I have heard is the (unavailable ) Igor Kennaway Northern Opera version in front of an audience. It has the atmosphere of the live performance missing elsewhere (a work colleague lent it to me).

I am sure that I saw Boult conducting once but I cannot recall what or where. Tall, ramrod erect, looking like an Edwardian Colonel.

Sir Malcolm Sargent-who did some VW rather well but whose reputation is still sunk in the slough-conducted the first orchestral concert I attended: Holst's Planets back in the 50s.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2008, 11:47:30 AM
I am sure that I saw Boult conducting once but I cannot recall what or where. Tall, ramrod erect, looking like an Edwardian Colonel.

Sir Malcolm Sargent-who did some VW rather well but whose reputation is still sunk in the slough-conducted the first orchestral concert I attended: Holst's Planets back in the 50s.

Sargent is underrated. His BBC Planets is one of the best+excellent Walton No 1, Tallis Fantasia, VW No 4, Sea Symphony+ my favourite Sibelius No 5.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: rubio on June 28, 2008, 08:47:38 AM
Are there some recommended recording of his string quartets? What do you think of these works?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 28, 2008, 08:53:24 AM
Are there some recommended recording of his string quartets? What do you think of these works?

Both are quintessentially Vaughan Williams: the First from his `French' years, 1908, around the time of his short private study with Maurice Ravel, and indeed sounding as if he had had a tea with Debussy, the Second in his `mature' style, from the time of the Second World War, contemporary with the Fifth Symphony.

One of the best versions is by the Maggini Quartet for Naxos, offering an extra advantage in their coupling with the equally interesting Phantasy Quintet from 1912.

Recommended!    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nxegvrUGL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

       
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2008, 10:24:45 AM
Are there some recommended recording of his string quartets? What do you think of these works?

The Naxos is v good and, coincidentally, I just wrote some notes for a CD of the String Quartets and Phantasy Quartet coming out on 1st August on the budget label Alto. The is with the English String Quartet and was a highly regarded CD when it originally appeared on the Unicorn Kanchana Label. Johan is right, the First Quartet shown the influence of Ravel, whom VW had recently studied with, but such an influence is assimilated into VWs early style and the quartet shows the influence of Folk song too. The Second Quartet, a great work in my view, comes from a crucial transitional phase in VW's musical development, between the 5th and 6th symphonies. It is a turbulent wartime work, for three movements and then the finale (Epilogue) returns to the benedictory mood of the finale of the 5th Symphony. The Phantasy Quartet is a lovely early work c 1912.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 28, 2008, 11:40:52 AM
(http://www.emusic.com/img/album/110/122/11012288_155_155.jpeg)

I see this at eMusic. Worthwhile? How does it compare with the Naxos? Listening to a sample of the first movement of the Second SQ the Medici take things slower than the Maginni.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on June 29, 2008, 12:22:38 PM
I see this at eMusic. Worthwhile? How does it compare with the Naxos? Listening to a sample of the first movement of the Second SQ the Medici take things slower than the Maginni.

Nimbus ... that's really a name from the early prehistory of the CD era - and era itself almost over and closed, by now. So, how could we know?  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 02, 2008, 10:24:39 AM
I went this morning to the Royal Library in The Hague. One of the books I came home with was the one by Wilfrid Mellers about RVW, which I intend to read asap.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 02, 2008, 10:33:51 AM
I went this morning to the Royal Library in The Hague. One of the books I came home with was the one by Wilfrid Mellers about RVW, which I intend to read asap.

After almost a lifetime spent with wrong friends, you are improving your life tremendously.  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 02, 2008, 10:40:40 AM
After almost a lifetime spent with wrong friends, you are improving your life tremendously.  8)

You flatter me, my friend.  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 02, 2008, 10:52:09 AM
You flatter me, my friend.  8)

Hey, same glasses?   8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 02, 2008, 11:00:57 AM
No. (http://smileyjungle.com/smilies/glasses3.gif)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 02, 2008, 01:16:07 PM
(http://www.emusic.com/img/album/110/122/11012288_155_155.jpeg)

I see this at eMusic. Worthwhile? How does it compare with the Naxos? Listening to a sample of the first movement of the Second SQ the Medici take things slower than the Maginni.

I have these recordings in a nice Nimbus box set "A Portrait of Vaughan Williams" I find the Nimbus recordings to be rather more "intimate" than the Naxos; a warmer recording. The performances are just as good, if a little more expressive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on July 12, 2008, 12:09:50 AM
There will be a lot of RVW in this year's proms (for obvious reasons). I think the whole cycle of symphonies will be played under various conductors.

Unfortunately, I will be able to attend just two: the 4th (under Yan-Pascal Tortelier) and the 8th (under Mark Elder).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 12, 2008, 12:43:00 AM
I have these recordings in a nice Nimbus box set "A Portrait of Vaughan Williams" I find the Nimbus recordings to be rather more "intimate" than the Naxos; a warmer recording. The performances are just as good, if a little more expressive.

I'll keep it in mind. Thanks, Jeffrey.

Unfortunately, I will be able to attend just two: the 4th (under Yan-Pascal Tortelier) and the 8th (under Mark Elder).

Just two... I have never heard RVW live in my life.  :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 12, 2008, 01:51:23 AM
Just two... I have never heard RVW live in my life.  :'(

They'r seldom played, in these low countries. I myself heard an amateur performance of the Fifth in Amsterdam in 1989. And just one professional performance: the Sinfonia Antartica: Petri Sakari conducting Het Brabants Orkest in a Christmas concert (!) in 's-Hertogenbosch (nice spelling test for our Britons here  ;) ) in 2001. (The local elite poking their noses in embarrassment, impressed by the chilly sounds.)

That's all, apart from a handful of fine amateur performances of the Tallis Fantasia, Oboe concerto, Violin concerto, Dona Nobis Pacem, Hodie: A Christmas Cantata, also heard in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam from the 1980s till present. Even Tubin was better served: I attended fine performances of both his Fifth and Sixth symphonies here in Utrecht, under Arvo Volmer, and of a couple of his concertos elsewhere.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 12, 2008, 01:54:52 AM
's-Hertogenbosch (nice spelling test for our Britons here  ;) )

Never mind the pronunciation.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 12, 2008, 02:46:36 AM
Has Bernard Haitink never conducted any RVW in his native country then? Does he indeed conduct much at all in the Netherlands these days? I seem to recall that his relationship with the Concertgebouw was not entirely happy at the end of his time as Music Director(or am I mistaken?)

There is a Dutch/South African cricketer(yes I love cricket too :)) who plays English county cricket for Essex called Ryan ten Doeschate. His name gave people here some trouble in the pronounciation stakes :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 12, 2008, 02:57:58 AM
Has Bernard Haitink never conducted any RVW in his native country then? Does he indeed conduct much at all in the Netherlands these days? I seem to recall that his relationship with the Concertgebouw was not entirely happy at the end of his time as Music Director(or am I mistaken?)

There is a Dutch/South African cricketer(yes I love cricket too :)) who plays English county cricket for Essex called Ryan ten Doeschate. His name gave people here some trouble in the pronounciation stakes :)

Haitink - no, he never did, I'm afraid. His RVW adventures were solely constricted to his British exile.  ;) And you're not mistaken about his relationship with the Concertgebouw either, though the estrangement was temporary, af far as i can remember.

Is it really that hard to pronounce "Ryan"?  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 12, 2008, 03:03:25 AM
Haitink - no, he never did, I'm afraid. His RVW adventures were solely constricted to his British exile.  ;) And you're not mistaken about his relationship with the Concertgebouw either, though the estrangement was temporary, af far as i can remember.

Is it really that hard to pronounce "Ryan"?  ;D

If you live in Essex perhaps it is :) :) (Note for those outside Britain-Essex is notorious(no doubt disgracefully unfairly :)) for its less than cultured inhabitants-thus, 'Essex Girls')
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 12, 2008, 04:35:45 AM
Haitink - no, he never did, I'm afraid. His RVW adventures were solely constricted to his British exile.  ;)

Not quite.  He's a Conductor Emeritus of the BSO, and the only occasion when I have heard a Vaughan Williams symphony live, was when he led a wicked smashing performance of the Sixth here at Symphony Hall.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 12, 2008, 04:36:34 AM
Not quite.  He's a Conductor Emeritus of the BSO, and the only occasion when I have heard a Vaughan Williams symphony live, was when he led a wicked smashing performance of the Sixth here at Symphony Hall.

Now now, Karl, mind your adverbs.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 12, 2008, 04:39:28 AM
 8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 12, 2008, 04:40:31 AM
It would be obvious to a Bostonian, but wicked smashing and wickedly smashing mean entirely different things  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 12, 2008, 04:56:24 AM
It's a wicked obvious distinction even to this Dutchman...  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 12, 2008, 04:57:43 AM
Excellent, Johan! Er, I mean, wicked cool!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 12, 2008, 05:29:13 AM
Stop it at once ;) :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 12, 2008, 05:37:45 AM
Stop it at once ;) :)

No time Toulouse, eh?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 12, 2008, 06:04:42 AM
"...where the Lowells talk to the Cabots, and the Cabots talk only to God".
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on July 12, 2008, 07:56:10 AM
There will be a lot of RVW in this year's proms (for obvious reasons). I think the whole cycle of symphonies will be played under various conductors.

I hope that somebody takes them under their wing and rips them all at good bitrate to Operashare - or even better, videos for the ones that were broadcast on TV. If this happens I'll rehost and post them here, of course.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 12, 2008, 11:51:11 AM
No. (http://smileyjungle.com/smilies/glasses3.gif)

No??? (http://smileyjungle.com/smilies/glasses3.gif)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 12, 2008, 12:07:24 PM
No??? (http://smileyjungle.com/smilies/glasses3.gif)

Ah! Found it, you have! (http://smileyjungle.com/smilies/smiling17.gif)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 13, 2008, 06:54:23 AM
's-Hertogenbosch (nice spelling test for our Britons here  ;)

Home of Hieronymus?

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 13, 2008, 07:16:07 AM
Home of Hieronymus?

Of course - or Jeroen Bosch, as we say. 's-Hertogenbosch is the official name of the city. Den Bosch is more commonly used. (Cf. 's-Gravenhage and Den Haag.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on July 13, 2008, 06:03:08 PM

Has anyone dared to do the Antarctica without wind machine? I'm wondering if that would help it get taking a little more seriously....
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 13, 2008, 10:55:11 PM
Of course - or Jeroen Bosch, as we say. 's-Hertogenbosch is the official name of the city. Den Bosch is more commonly used. (Cf. 's-Gravenhage and Den Haag.)

One of my favourite artists, along with the equally mad James Ensor.

Below is Ensor's well-known painting:

'Meeting of CMG Forum enthusiasts in Leiden': ;D

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 13, 2008, 11:57:21 PM
Ensor has me down to a T. Incredible!  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 14, 2008, 01:42:51 AM
Has anyone dared to do the Antarctica without wind machine? I'm wondering if that would help it get taking a little more seriously....
 

Is it really true to say that the Sinfonia Antartica is not taken 'seriously'? That may have been the case at one time but I am not so sure is a view still held.

And would omitting the wind machine help? Richard Strauss used one in both 'Don Quixote' and the Alpine Symphony-both of which are taken seriously. So too, Ravel's 'Daphnis et Chloe' and Messiaen's ' Opera 'Saint-Francois d'Assise' and other works.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 14, 2008, 01:48:26 AM
Is it really true to say that the Sinfonia Antartica is not taken 'seriously'? That may have been the case at one time but I am not so sure is a view still held.

And would omitting the wind machine help? Richard Strauss used one in both 'Don Quixote' and the Alpine Symphony-both of which are taken seriously. So too, Ravel's 'Daphnis et Chloe' and Messiaen's ' Opera 'Saint-Francois d'Assise' and other works.

And Brian's Tenth Symphony...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 14, 2008, 01:51:01 AM
Has anyone dared to do the Antarctica without wind machine?

The performance in Jeroen Bosch'/Hieronymus Bosch' birthplace, Den Bosch/'s-Hertogenbosch, I attended back in 2001, by the Brabants Orkest under Petri Sakari, was indeed done without windmachine. Most of that part, as far as I remember, was done by the (augmented?) horn section.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 14, 2008, 01:59:51 AM
And Brian's Tenth Symphony...

Which is not taken ANYTHING like seriously enough :) ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 14, 2008, 02:14:29 AM
The performance in Jeroen Bosch'/Hieronymus Bosch' birthplace, Den Bosch/'s-Hertogenbosch, I attended back in 2001, by the Brabants Orkest under Petri Sakari, was indeed done without windmachine. Most of that part, as far as I remember, was done by the (augmented?) horn section.

I do feel that a composer's wishes should be adhered to! If VW wanted a wind machine then that is what should be used(provided, of course, one is available!). Just like Havergal Brian's 2nd Symphony....if the man wants 16 horns then let's try to grant his wishes...!

Has anyone heard the Chandos CD "The Film Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Volume 1" on which the BBC Philharmonic(Rumon Gamba) play the Suite from the music for the film "Scott of the Antartic"? That is an interesting work, providing the complete music VW wrote for the film(later reworked for the Sinfonia) but NOT using a wind-machine!
It is quite remarkable that VW wrote the music without even seeing the script for the film. When one watches the fim itself(with less than half of VW's music included of course) one is struck by how incredibly fitting the music is! OK, the film IS dated and does have a very British stiff upper-lip portrayal of the doomed expedition but VW himself was very aware of the dangerous(and ultimately fatal) risks run by the polar party and sought to convey the dreadful tragedy as it unfolded. The combination of his music and the film itself is unbelievably potent. It is indeed as VW wrote in 1945 almost as if "the film (was) devised to accompany it(the music)"
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on July 14, 2008, 02:37:53 AM
The importance of Ernest Irving, music director at Ealing studios and orchestrator of SotA, in making the music fit the film should not be underestimated. Not all the music written and recorded for it was actually used in the final cut. I kind of prefer the film score to the symphony, which is not really symphonic anyway.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 14, 2008, 02:40:51 AM
And yet, I think it does work as a symphony. (No reason to omit the wind machine, IMO.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Brewski on July 14, 2008, 11:17:32 AM
Today on Night After Night, Steve Smith posted a good piece (http://www.nightafternight.com/night_after_night/2008/07/pilgrims-progress.html) on Vaughan Williams, calling his symphonies "...quite possibly the most overlooked major cycle of the 20th century."

--Bruce
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 14, 2008, 11:33:28 AM
More overlooked than Holmboe?  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on July 14, 2008, 04:07:06 PM
Thanks for interesting responses. The reason I asked is that it seems to me that some fans of RVW are too prepared to dismiss the 7th as "mere film music" - see Sound67's comment. I wondered if presenting it more as "pure music" might correct this.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2008, 02:49:47 AM
Ensor has me down to a T. Incredible!  ;D

Yes, you are the one in the top hat  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2008, 03:03:21 AM
I do feel that a composer's wishes should be adhered to! If VW wanted a wind machine then that is what should be used(provided, of course, one is available!). Just like Havergal Brian's 2nd Symphony....if the man wants 16 horns then let's try to grant his wishes...!

Has anyone heard the Chandos CD "The Film Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Volume 1" on which the BBC Philharmonic(Rumon Gamba) play the Suite from the music for the film "Scott of the Antartic"? That is an interesting work, providing the complete music VW wrote for the film(later reworked for the Sinfonia) but NOT using a wind-machine!
It is quite remarkable that VW wrote the music without even seeing the script for the film. When one watches the fim itself(with less than half of VW's music included of course) one is struck by how incredibly fitting the music is! OK, the film IS dated and does have a very British stiff upper-lip portrayal of the doomed expedition but VW himself was very aware of the dangerous(and ultimately fatal) risks run by the polar party and sought to convey the dreadful tragedy as it unfolded. The combination of his music and the film itself is unbelievably potent. It is indeed as VW wrote in 1945 almost as if "the film (was) devised to accompany it(the music)"


Colin, I have all three VW film music CDs on Chandos (surprised? ;D), it is a great series. The CD below is also of great interest as it has Boult's fine earliest recording of Symphony 6 (EMI) and extracts from film music, including soundtrack extracts from the Scott music; also the highly characteristic "Loves of Joanna Godden" film score. I play this CD a lot:

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 15, 2008, 03:13:35 AM
Yes, you are the one in the top hat  ;D

I belie my years, don't I?  ;)

On topic: I am reading the late Wilfrid Mellers's book on RVW at last, Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Vision of Albion. A heady cocktail as usual. Stimulating. In the process I plan on watching O thou transcendent, too...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2008, 03:34:31 AM
I belie my years, don't I?  ;)

On topic: I am reading the late Wilfrid Mellers's book on RVW at last, Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Vision of Albion. A heady cocktail as usual. Stimulating. In the process I plan on watching O thou transcendent, too...

Will be v interested to hear what you think of the documentary Johan. There is a really angry debate going on in the letters page of the Vaughan Williams's Society Journal at the moment about the documentary, which is fun. I am tempted to buy the forthcoming "Letters of Vaughan Williams" but it is expensive; £95 (or £60 for members of VW Soc for v limited time). My local library wont order it as it's so expensive  >:(

Off on my hols to Austria tomorrow so will not be compulsively posting for a week.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 15, 2008, 03:38:50 AM
Will be v interested to hear what you think of the documentary Johan. There is a really angry debate going on in the letters page of the Vaughan Williams's Society Journal at the moment about the documentary, which is fun. I am tempted to buy the forthcoming "Letters of Vaughan Williams" but it is expensive; £95 (or £60 for members of VW Soc for v limited time). My local library wont order it as it's so expensive  >:(

Off on my hols to Austria tomorrow so will not be compulsively posting for a week.

Have a happy, peaceful and restful holiday! Don't spend too much money on those extravagantly expensive Austrian confectionery and stay away from CD shops in any Austrian city!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 15, 2008, 03:40:21 AM
Will be v interested to hear what you think of the documentary Johan. There is a really angry debate going on in the letters page of the Vaughan Williams's Society Journal at the moment about the documentary, which is fun. I am tempted to buy the forthcoming "Letters of Vaughan Williams" but it is expensive; £95 (or £60 for members of VW Soc for v limited time). My local library wont order it as it's so expensive  >:(

Off on my hols to Austria tomorrow so will not be compulsively posting for a week.

I'll report back. And - give my regards to Austria, where I've never been, only in spirit... (And enjoy yourself, of course!)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 15, 2008, 03:45:06 AM
I'll report back. And - give my regards to Austria, where I've never been, only in spirit... (And enjoy yourself, of course!)

Beautiful, beautiful country!! Mountains and lakes, more mountains and lakes.....! But expensive :) So are Norway and Sweden, of course, but they speak more English there for we poor uncultured, benighted folk who have failed to learn foreign languages as we should :(
(I could have a pleasant holiday in the Roman Empire speaking my school-learned classical Latin if only the empire could return :))
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2008, 03:48:02 AM
Thank you Colin and Johan, you are kind.

  
I'm hoping that this will be a healthy walking holiday and as I am overweight I will have to keep away from the cakes etc (well, maybe not  >:D) I would love to visit St Florian and Ansfelden, with their Bruckner connections, but that is an unlikely scenario. I've only been to Austria once, on my one and only skiing trip, aged 12.

byebye for now  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on July 15, 2008, 05:37:57 AM
I'm hoping that this will be a healthy walking holiday and as I am overweight I will have to keep away from the cakes etc (well, maybe not  >:D) I would love to visit St Florian and Ansfelden, with their Bruckner connections, but that is an unlikely scenario. I've only been to Austria once, on my one and only skiing trip, aged 12.

byebye for now  :)

Enjoy your time in the country of Franz Schmidt, (Bruckner died before Austria came into being  ;) ), Jeffrey!!  8) :D :)

(I'm leaving too, tonight, for the blessed isle of Crete, for two weeks. Planning to play my Kalomiris and Skalkottas collection there, and read Kazantzakis again - who was from Crete, there's even a Kazantzakis museum. Will also be having the Boult/EMI RVW box with me, otherwise this post would be completely OT  8))
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 15, 2008, 05:40:52 AM
Prettige vakantie, Johan! En kom veilig weer thuis (met je dierbaren).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2008, 11:13:44 AM
Enjoy your time in the country of Franz Schmidt, (Bruckner died before Austria came into being  ;) ), Jeffrey!!  8) :D :)

(I'm leaving too, tonight, for the blessed isle of Crete, for two weeks. Planning to play my Kalomiris and Skalkottas collection there, and read Kazantzakis again - who was from Crete, there's even a Kazantzakis museum. Will also be having the Boult/EMI RVW box with me, otherwise this post would be completely OT  8))


OT

Thank you Johan. Have a great time in Crete with your VW box  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on July 18, 2008, 12:57:34 PM
Has anyone dared to do the Antarctica without wind machine? I'm wondering if that would help it get taking a little more seriously....
 

     The impression I get, based on the reaction here at GMG and from what little I've read elsewhere, is that the reputation of this symphony has gone up over time along with the overall estimation of RVW as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Perhaps some don't regard it as a proper symphony. I don't think that matters much anymore. (I recall something Thomas Pyncheon wrote about Mozart's lost Kazoo Concerto. ::) I might have to draw the line at that...)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on July 18, 2008, 01:17:42 PM
     The impression I get, based on the reaction here at GMG and from what little I've read elsewhere, is that the reputation of this symphony has gone up over time along with the overall estimation of RVW as one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Perhaps some don't regard it as a proper symphony. I don't think that matters much anymore. (I recall something Thomas Pyncheon wrote about Mozart's lost Kazoo Concerto. ::) I might have to draw the line at that...)

You are absolutely correct about both RVW's overall reputation and the Sinfonia Antartica.

Many members on here have pointed out repeatedly that the concept of a 'proper symphony' has become eroded in recent decades.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Wanderer on July 18, 2008, 10:47:42 PM
(I'm leaving too, tonight, for the blessed isle of Crete, for two weeks. Planning to play my Kalomiris and Skalkottas collection there, and read Kazantzakis again - who was from Crete, there's even a Kazantzakis museum. Will also be having the Boult/EMI RVW box with me, otherwise this post would be completely OT  8))

Sinfonia antartica would certainly be out of place in Crete, although the Fifth would fit in nicely (while amid the ruins of Knossos, for instance).  :)
You probably won't see this until after you return, but have fun and we're awaiting your traveling impressions!  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: rw1883 on July 23, 2008, 04:54:01 PM
These two sets are coming out next month from Music & Arts (The Art of Dmitri Mitropoulos):

http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html (http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html)

Besides all the other selections the first set has the Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis and the second set has the VW 4th.  I have some of the other works on different labels, but the remastering is the "2008 digital restoration utilizing the revolutionary 'harmonic balancing" technique'".  I have the Furtwangler Bruckner set and the Toscanini Beethoven set that uses this same remastering technique and the results are excellent!  I've been wanting to hear the VW/Mitropoulos 4th so this might be the right time...

Paul
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: SE pipesmoker etc on July 24, 2008, 12:34:20 AM
These two sets are coming out next month from Music & Arts (The Art of Dmitri Mitropoulos):

http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html (http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html)

Besides all the other selections the first set has the Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis and the second set has the VW 4th.  I have some of the other works on different labels, but the remastering is the "2008 digital restoration utilizing the revolutionary 'harmonic balancing" technique'".  I have the Furtwangler Bruckner set and the Toscanini Beethoven set that uses this same remastering technique and the results are excellent!  I've been wanting to hear the VW/Mitropoulos 4th so this might be the right time...

Paul

I have the old Sony CD of this (together with the brilliant, original version of the 6 with Stokowski (when is Hickox going to record that?)). It's quite an electrifying, haunting version (sharp brass) and good sound quality. The Fantasia is also very good, very moving forward, but a little too quick for me (3 min faster then most versions), I'm a Thomson man otherwise, I like it dreamy...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Renfield on July 24, 2008, 02:14:08 AM
These two sets are coming out next month from Music & Arts (The Art of Dmitri Mitropoulos):

http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html (http://www.musicandarts.com/0808_New_Class.html)

Say what!?

I had no idea about this release; in general, not just concerning the Vaughan-Williams. Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on July 24, 2008, 04:24:44 PM

Is there a list somewhere of which M&A releases have the "harmonic balancing"? Couldn't find anything on their site....
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 10, 2008, 08:14:50 PM
I think I am starting to "get" Vaughan Williams, thanks to Gibson's interpretation of symphony 5. Compared to Previn/LSO this has warmer sound, but is also more emotional. The first movement has a hushed expectancy, while the 3rd movement has a great yearning quality. Finale could have been taken with more vigour. Incidentally, I found this movement made me think of some sort of filmic finale, though the only one I could specify was the climax of Peter Weir's film Fearless, which I think has fugal accompaniment.

For both Gibson and Previn I thought the 2nd movement wasn't nearly presto as required, and the finale lacked true allegro. I suspect this is common performing practice, perhaps from a subconscious wish to make this another "Pastoral" symphony. Perhaps earlier performances are more stringent here?

I've now heard the 6th symphony conducted by Previn, Handley and Berglund. I'm not sure any of them get it quite right. I feel this work needs strongly felt underlying tension, almost (dare I say it?) Shostakovichian. I wonder if the Andrew Davis performance will meet my requirements...
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 04:10:30 AM
I think I am starting to "get" Vaughan Williams, thanks to Gibson's interpretation of symphony 5. Compared to Previn/LSO this has warmer sound, but is also more emotional. The first movement has a hushed expectancy, while the 3rd movement has a great yearning quality. Finale could have been taken with more vigour. Incidentally, I found this movement made me think of some sort of filmic finale, though the only one I could specify was the climax of Peter Weir's film Fearless, which I think has fugal accompaniment.

For both Gibson and Previn I thought the 2nd movement wasn't nearly presto as required, and the finale lacked true allegro. I suspect this is common performing practice, perhaps from a subconscious wish to make this another "Pastoral" symphony. Perhaps earlier performances are more stringent here?

I've now heard the 6th symphony conducted by Previn, Handley and Berglund. I'm not sure any of them get it quite right. I feel this work needs strongly felt underlying tension, almost (dare I say it?) Shostakovichian. I wonder if the Andrew Davis performance will meet my requirements...

The Andrew Davis recording is very good; the best in his VW symphony cycle. Personally I like Boult's 1950s Decca recording of Symphony 6 best of all, but it is only available in a boxed set. I like the Berglund, Davis, Haitink, Abravanel and Barbirolli also.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 03:31:30 PM
Very good new CD:

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_cd_review.php?id=5860
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 11, 2008, 06:14:19 PM
The Andrew Davis recording is very good; the best in his VW symphony cycle. Personally I like Boult's 1950s Decca recording of Symphony 6 best of all, but it is only available in a boxed set. I like the Berglund, Davis, Haitink, Abravanel and Barbirolli also.

I had no idea Barbirolli had recorded the 6th...

I am looking for energised, symphonic performances, and am contemplating the Boult/Decca and Haitink sets. Has anyone heard Thomson's set? I understand it was energetic but very reverberant.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on August 11, 2008, 10:41:08 PM
I had no idea Barbirolli had recorded the 6th...

I am looking for energised, symphonic performances, and am contemplating the Boult/Decca and Haitink sets. Has anyone heard Thomson's set? I understand it was energetic but very reverberant. 

Once in a while, I confess my own preference for Thomson's Sixth in these columns. Yes, your description is apt, but at the same time, his slow, dramatic treatment of the opening, combined with great acoustics in the best Chandos recordings tradition, do it for me. Compared with Thomson, especially Davis' opening is much quicker and more lively, but for me there's a big loss in drama, too. At least we can all agree that Thomson's version differs from the other ones.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 10:59:53 PM
Bryden Thomson was a very underrated conductor who sadly died too young.

I forgot to mention his VW No 6 in my list below. Christo is right; it is one of the best. Infact the BBC Music Mag "Top 1000 CDs Guide" lists it as their No 1 choice: "Command of the ardour,menace and baleful violence of the first three movements (Davis, Handley, Previn) doesn't guarantee ability to sustain the miasmic tension of the sphinx-like finale.....but Slatkin (like Kees Bakels on Naxos) seems to achieve it at the expense of the other movements' tensions....Thomson, despite the slightly cavernous Chandos sound, here delivers the most cogent performance of his cycle...and, there is a rapt frozen beauty about the finale." (Calum MacDonald). This is a fine performance and I feel that the church recording is an asset. I would point out that Andrew Achenbach described the performance as "soggy and washed-up" but later adopted a more sympathetic view!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 11:04:21 PM
I had no idea Barbirolli had recorded the 6th...

I am looking for energised, symphonic performances, and am contemplating the Boult/Decca and Haitink sets. Has anyone heard Thomson's set? I understand it was energetic but very reverberant.
 

Barbirolli's recording with the Bavarian RSO is/was on Orfeo, coupled bizarrely with Brahms's Second Symphony.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 14, 2008, 05:50:49 PM
(http://www.jimmythrasher.com/images/dot.png)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 15, 2008, 05:05:00 AM
Barbirolli's 6th is a fiery account, but because of the unfamiliarity of the orchestra with the composer's idiom (which, sadly, is all too obvious) it cannot be considered the benchmark recording. I would opt for either Andrew Davis OR Maurice Abravanel. Both are great.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 16, 2008, 01:24:58 AM
Barbirolli's 6th is a fiery account, but because of the unfamiliarity of the orchestra with the composer's idiom (which, sadly, is all too obvious) it cannot be considered the benchmark recording. I would opt for either Andrew Davis OR Maurice Abravanel. Both are great.

Thomas

I agree in many ways. Nice to see another vote for Abravanel, as not everyone likes it (Andrew Achenbach in his Gramophone survey was dismissive of it). I think it's terrific (longest epilogue on CD...works well...usually this music is rushed or too loud). Also, great, unique coupling: Dona Nobis Pacem. They go well together I think.
Jeffrey
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 16, 2008, 06:29:30 PM
Barbirolli's 6th is a fiery account, but because of the unfamiliarity of the orchestra with the composer's idiom (which, sadly, is all too obvious) it cannot be considered the benchmark recording.

How is that obvious? Please give concrete examples. What characterizes VW's "idiom"?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 16, 2008, 10:54:56 PM
How is that obvious? Please give concrete examples. What characterizes VW's "idiom"?

Quit stalking me, nincompoop. 

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 16, 2008, 11:05:57 PM
Barbirolli's recording with the Bavarian RSO is/was on Orfeo, coupled bizarrely with Brahms's Second Symphony.

Has anyone heard the re-release of the Berglund-Bournemouth account of the 6th yet? How does it compare?

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 17, 2008, 02:05:57 AM
Has anyone heard the re-release of the Berglund-Bournemouth account of the 6th yet? How does it compare?

Thomas

I did a review on the Amazon UK site (below). I think that it is one of the few successful performances on CD:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0018OAP2U/ref=cm_cr-mr-title
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 17, 2008, 12:46:16 PM
Quit stalking me, nincompoop. 

You aren't interesting enough to stalk, sorry.

That was actually a serious question though. Since I am very interested in playing and performance styles, in what is "idiomatic" performance of music, it would interest me to know what VW's "idiom" is and how the SOBR failed to realize it and how Barbirolli failed to school them in it. Unfortunately, this look once again like the typical sound67 tactic of hinting at some deep, "non-mainstream" insights few other people have, but then once again, there doesn't seem to be much behind the claim other than attitude. A pity. I would have liked to learn more about this subject.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 17, 2008, 11:36:56 PM
You aren't interesting enough to stalk, sorry.

Sorry, but you are (hence the senseless comment in the film music thread. You're pathetic.  $:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 17, 2008, 11:46:34 PM
You are enormously easy to unsettle. Not surprising though since most of your material is just attitude, not substance. Again, a pity since I would have liked to learn more about VW's "idiom".
Can anybody else actually comment on that?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 18, 2008, 12:16:28 AM
You are enormously easy to unsettle.

You are right. People with narrow fields of interests and narrow minds such as yourself are a lot less easy to unsettle.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on August 18, 2008, 04:53:47 AM
You are enormously easy to unsettle. Not surprising though since most of your material is just attitude, not substance. Again, a pity since I would have liked to learn more about VW's "idiom".
Can anybody else actually comment on that?

Since when have you cared about English music or its performance practice?

Thomas has a point.

Bugger off to your German domain and Sinopoli.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 18, 2008, 06:56:33 AM
Since when have you cared about English music or its performance practice?

Thomas has a point.

What business of yours is it what interests me and what not? Why do you meddle here? Do you have something to add or do you just want to provoke? What is his point? That he makes claims of knowledge that he doesn't have? Yes, that is apparently true. He does that all the time.

All this smoke blowing instead of just answering the question?

Well, of course, we know, there is no answer - it is already totally obvious that that was just one of sound67's hollow phrases. When someone says something vague but hinting at specialized knowledge like "they don't understand VW's idiom", then I find that interesting and want to know more about that.

So, since sound67 can not answer the question, can anybody else explain, is there a specific recognizeable VW "idiom", and what consists "idiomatic" playing of his music?

Oh, and a question to both Hector and sound67: have you ever played music by VW? I don't mean in the CD player, I mean as musicians? What specific insights into his musical "idiom" did you gain from that practical playing experience that Barbirolli was not able to communicate to the SOBR in that recording?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 18, 2008, 07:10:09 AM
I don't know if this is what others are talking about, but I tend to associate 20th century English music with a certain string sound, which might be described as somewhat maudlin or sentimental, perhaps typified by this excellent release:

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/8c/f8/d4b49833e7a0a084ae6e1110.L.jpg)

Neville Marriner and his ASMF may be another example.  I seem to recall reading claims that it has something to do with bowing with high speed but light pressure, accompanied by a generous vibrato.  In Barbirolli recordings, the grunting, moaning, or humming along of the conductor is an essential part. 

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 18, 2008, 07:15:45 AM
In Barbirolli recordings, the grunting, moaning, or humming along of the conductor is an essential part. 

So that is what foreign RVW performances have been lacking ;D Colin Davis is another master of this dicipline...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 18, 2008, 08:00:24 AM
So that is what foreign RVW performances have been lacking ;D Colin Davis is another master of this dicipline...

Yes, that is the essence of the Brittish idiom, podium grunting.  Can you imagine Karajan grunting? 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on August 18, 2008, 12:19:53 PM
So, since sound67 can not answer the question, can anybody else explain, is there a specific recognizeable VW "idiom", and what consists "idiomatic" playing of his music?
It's very, very Antarctican.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 18, 2008, 01:33:27 PM


Well, of course, we know, there is no answer - it is already totally obvious that that was just one of sound67's hollow phrases. When someone says something vague but hinting at specialized knowledge like "they don't understand VW's idiom", then I find that interesting and want to know more about that.

So, since sound67 can not answer the question, can anybody else explain, is there a specific recognizeable VW "idiom", and what consists "idiomatic" playing of his music?


      It's mostly just a question of tradition and how interpretations are passed down, and from the standpoint of the listener you get the impression that certain orchestras and conductors have that measure of experience that you don't get elsewhere. It's not (at least to my knowledge) a matter of mistakes so much as familiarity. I hear it with American and British music that doesn't get played often outside of the home countries. There may be, in addition, objective differences that are specific to how musicians play, but that would not have to be the case. If it sounds idiomatic in some way that would be enough. Special knowledge in listening amounts to no more than that. I don't think my American identity gives me any edge with Copland or Harris, except to the extent that I like some of their music and have listened to many recordings and a few performances. That isn't very specialized knowledge, it's just experience that many others don't have.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 18, 2008, 02:02:26 PM
      It's mostly just a question of tradition and how interpretations are passed down, and from the standpoint of the listener you get the impression that certain orchestras and conductors have that measure of experience that you don't get elsewhere. It's not (at least to my knowledge) a matter of mistakes so much as familiarity. I hear it with American and British music that doesn't get played often outside of the home countries. There may be, in addition, objective differences that are specific to how musicians play, but that would not have to be the case. If it sounds idiomatic in some way that would be enough. Special knowledge in listening amounts to no more than that. I don't think my American identity gives me any edge with Copland or Harris, except to the extent that I like some of their music and have listened to many recordings and a few performances. That isn't very specialized knowledge, it's just experience that many others don't have.

I hate to turn into M forever here, but could you formulate a more vague set of truisms than that?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 18, 2008, 06:17:21 PM

Thanks to scarpia and drogulus for getting us back on topic. Could we please avoid tedious flaming in future?

Re the English (British?) idiom, it's honestly not something I've thought about. So few non-Brit orchestras have tackled the repertoire that general comparisons may not be possible. Brit orchestras can do a pretty good impersonation of German or Russian, but tend to need a native conductor to bring that out. As drogulus said, familiarity also has a lot to do with it, and that works both ways - the CPO are surely very familar with Dvorak, but then perhaps their way with the music has become so ingrained that we think it's THE way.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 18, 2008, 09:52:19 PM
Thanks to scarpia and drogulus for getting us back on topic. Could we please avoid tedious flaming in future?

Yes, indeed. Thanks. I think my question was a valid one. We now know sound67 doesn't want to (read: have to) say anything about that, but I think we have the basis for a new branch of the discussion now.

drogulus: you are indeed being very vague here. You are defining what could in general be described as "idiomatic", but in very general terms. We want to find out what that could be in this particular music.

I have a few more thoughts myself, but M has to go to bed now! Oyasumi.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 19, 2008, 06:37:50 AM
I hate to interrupt the heart-warming banter going on here but did anyone else hear the great performance of VW's Piano Concerto from the Proms? Sadly I couldn't make it to the concert but I thoroghly enjoyed the performance on the radio today. Such an important and underrated work. I like it more and more.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 19, 2008, 11:42:02 AM
I hate to turn into M forever here, but could you formulate a more vague set of truisms than that?


     No, I don't think I could. Does it need to be more vague? It certainly doesn't need to be more specific. From the standpoint of a performing musician there are perhaps nonvague differences in the way phrasing is done. For the listener it's mostly a matter of the music sounding like the player is aware of a performance tradition. Recently I attended a performance of Vaughan Williams (Serenade to Music) where the singers were accompanied by a piano instead of orchestra. The pianist played as though she had never encountered this music before, and the notes were delivered in what sounded like a mechanical fashion. Was this complete unfamiliarity? Was it poor musicianship, or was it merely unidiomatic? I don't know, nor do I have any idea how I could tell just by listening.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 19, 2008, 01:52:55 PM
     No, I don't think I could. Does it need to be more vague? It certainly doesn't need to be more specific. From the standpoint of a performing musician there are perhaps nonvague differences in the way phrasing is done. For the listener it's mostly a matter of the music sounding like the player is aware of a performance tradition. Recently I attended a performance of Vaughan Williams (Serenade to Music) where the singers were accompanied by a piano instead of orchestra. The pianist played as though she had never encountered this music before, and the notes were delivered in what sounded like a mechanical fashion. Was this complete unfamiliarity? Was it poor musicianship, or was it merely unidiomatic? I don't know, nor do I have any idea how I could tell just by listening.

No, it could scarcely have been more vague and I think it needs to be more specific.  The question was "what constitutes an idiomatic Vaughan Williams performance?"  The question wasn't "what constitutes an idiomatic performance in general?"  I think everyone knows that an idiomatic performance is by definition one that respects performance traditions.  The question was, what distinctive performance traditions are associated with Vaughan Williams.  The answer to that question has some chance of being interesting.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 19, 2008, 02:40:05 PM
The question was, what distinctive performance traditions are associated with Vaughan Williams.  The answer to that question has some chance of being interesting.


     Could you be a little less vague? What do you mean by the vague phrase "performance tradition"? If you look again at my answer you'll see that I'm casting doubt on the meaning of this term "idiomatic". I think it's a catchall for what works*. I'm embarrassed to say I've used the term in posts occasionally, so I'll just say it's likely that other people use it the way I do. If a precise meaning is to be had I'll be glad to learn it.

     So far no one has offered anything specific about Vaughan Williams. I'd like to know, for example, just what it is that makes the Haitink recording of Sinfonia Antartica "unidiomatic" but nevertheless a convincing reading, and in fact one of the most well regarded among the many recordings available. The answer might indeed be interesting, but I'm willing to bet it will be uninformative, because "idiom" isn't a real distinction for Vaughan Williams. Perhaps it is for......Bruckner. We'll see if anyone is willing to commit themselves on this. So, I'll stand pat and wait for the answer man, who has been delayed for some reason.

     *I should have said "what has worked".
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 20, 2008, 05:07:50 PM

Maybe "idiomatic" is code for "sounds like Boult"  :P
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 20, 2008, 11:39:20 PM
Maybe "idiomatic" is code for "sounds like Boult"  :P

An exaggeration with a kernel of truth.

English music has 'traveled' too little. Ideas of what constitutes 'an idiomatic performance' can only really come about through comparison. If, say, German, French, Dutch orchestras and conductors had taken up RVW, then we could judge Boult's and others' approaches better, especially if those non-British performances were very different but just as satisfying. It would have sharpened our ideas of what RVW's music is and is capable of. Now we are simply used to the British way of playing him. (I leave it to others to explain the details to M.) It is as if you could listen to Sibelius played only by Finnish orchestras. 'Authentic', perhaps. But I am glad Karajan did the Fourth. (Although I have my problems with Haitink in RVW!)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 21, 2008, 12:05:51 AM
English music has 'traveled' too little. Ideas of what constitutes 'an idiomatic performance' can only really come about through comparison. If, say, German, French, Dutch orchestras and conductors had taken up RVW, then we could judge Boult's and others' approaches better, especially if those non-British performances were very different but just as satisfying

When all is said and done though, I think "idiomatic" simply boils down to "good". Many German orchestras have a darker string sound than e.g. the BBC orchestras - which would affect the result even if they play the music along the same interpretive parameters. Would that mean it'd be less "idiomatic"? Was Vaughan Williams' music composed with the sound of British orchestras (often referred to as brass bands with string attached) in mind? I don't think so.

Sadly, as you pointed out, a true comparison is not possible because there are so few recordings of RVW by German, or other central European orchestras. And the ones there are are let down by untidy ensemble (as the Bavarian RSO's of the 6th, especially in the brass - no, m-forever, I can't be more specific, it's tugged away in a packing case) or were done by less distinguished orchestras and conductors (such as the RVW 5th from Frankfurt/Oder).

Thomas 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 21, 2008, 03:49:35 AM
When all is said and done though, I think "idiomatic" simply boils down to "good". Many German orchestras have a darker string sound than e.g. the BBC orchestras - which would affect the result even if they play the music along the same interpretive parameters. Would that mean it'd be less "idiomatic"? Was Vaughan Williams' music composed with the sound of British orchestras (often referred to as brass bands with string attached) in mind? I don't think so.

Sadly, as you pointed out, a true comparison is not possible because there are so few recordings of RVW by German, or other central European orchestras. And the ones there are are let down by untidy ensemble (as the Bavarian RSO's of the 6th, especially in the brass - no, m-forever, I can't be more specific, it's tugged away in a packing case) or were done by less distinguished orchestras and conductors (such as the RVW 5th from Frankfurt/Oder).

Thomas 

In view of what you say, I wonder what this CD is like:

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 21, 2008, 04:28:27 AM
So that is what foreign RVW performances have been lacking ;D Colin Davis is another master of this dicipline...

Speaking of Sir Colin, does anyone know why he's never recorded any of the RVW symphonies? Has he performed them in concert? The only RVW work I can think of that he has recorded is The Lark Ascending with Hilary Hahn. Seems odd when you think of his status as a British conductor.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 21, 2008, 05:00:14 AM
Speaking of Sir Colin, does anyone know why he's never recorded any of the RVW symphonies?
Uhh, maybe he doesn't like them? Just because he is British doesn't mean he is obliged to perform works by British composers. There are American conductors who wouldn't touch American music with the proverbial 10 foot pole so this phenomenon is not limited to Sir Colin.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 21, 2008, 05:09:00 AM
Uhh, maybe he doesn't like them?

Uh, ya think?  ;D  I was looking for a more specific reason; hoping someone might have read or heard him discussing Vaughan Williams.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 21, 2008, 05:12:25 AM
Uhh, maybe he doesn't like them? Just because he is British doesn't mean he is obliged to perform works by British composers. There are American conductors who wouldn't touch American music with the proverbial 10 foot pole so this phenomenon is not limited to Sir Colin.

You probably didn't mean it, but the wording here comes close to confusing 'Vaughan Williams' with 'British music'. Colin Davis, one of the greatest exponents of e.g. Tippett, would disagree strongly that he 'wouldn't touch British music with a 10 foot pole'.  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 21, 2008, 05:14:30 AM
A while ago I listened to Colin Davis conducting RVW's 4th on the radio, with the Bavarian RSO.

You can hear parts of the symphony in this audio podcast on Bayern radio (about 40% into the sound file):
http://www.br-online.de/bayern4klassik/galleria/audio-williams-sinfonie-ID1218876987968.xml

Davis also discusses the music - in German!

Also: http://www.newberkshire.com/7bso-boston-symphony-colin-davis.php

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 21, 2008, 05:21:21 AM
A while ago I listened to Colin Davis conducting RVW's 4th on the radio, with the Bavarian RSO.

You can hear parts of it in this audio podcast on Bayern radio (about 40% into the sound file):
http://www.br-online.de/bayern4klassik/galleria/audio-williams-sinfonie-ID1218876987968.xml

Also: http://www.newberkshire.com/7bso-boston-symphony-colin-davis.php

Thomas


Thanks, Thomas

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 21, 2008, 05:22:45 AM
You probably didn't mean it, but the wording here comes close to confusing 'Vaughan Williams' with 'British music'. Colin Davis, one of the greatest exponents of e.g. Tippett, would disagree strongly that he 'wouldn't touch British music with a 10 foot pole'.  :)
I am not sure if I would cast Sir Colin as a great exponent of British music in general. Yes he did record Britten, Elgar, Holst, and a little a bit of Walton (in addition to Tippett that you mentioned). But these composers are probably as "cosmopolitan" as they come. They are British but they have quite a bit of international stature. Can you think of a British composer whose music would not be heard if it wasn't for Sir Colin? This is not a knock on Sir Colin, his niche really wasn't as an exponent of British music in general.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 21, 2008, 05:53:26 AM
I am not sure if I would cast Sir Colin as a great exponent of British music in general. Yes he did record Britten, Elgar, Holst, and a little a bit of Walton (in addition to Tippett that you mentioned). But these composers are probably as "cosmopolitan" as they come. They are British but they have quite a bit of international stature. Can you think of a British composer whose music would not be heard if it wasn't for Sir Colin? This is not a knock on Sir Colin, his niche really wasn't as an exponent of British music in general.

Well, yes, back to Tippett - Davis was the foremost recording conductor of his music from the mid 60s onwards, the operas (his most important works, probably) above all; that is, from the time that Tippett began to carve out a reputation beyond the shores of Britain. I have a feeling the two facts are not unrelated. The premieres of most of Tippett's major orchestral works from the Concerto for Orchestra right up to The Rose Lake, and of his 3rd and 4th operas, were entrusted to Davis. Somewhere or other I have quotations from Tippett himself full of gratitude for the work Davis did on his behalf, which I feel was probably instrumental in turning the composer from a 'British' figure into one of international stature.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 21, 2008, 06:03:30 AM
I remember Tippett's 3rd being performed at the Concertgebouw. It was in 1970s and the conductor was, iirc, Colin Davis. I didn't attend (I was more into Mahler and Wagner at the time).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 21, 2008, 06:50:15 AM
A while ago I listened to Colin Davis conducting RVW's 4th on the radio, with the Bavarian RSO.

I quite liked his 6th with the same orchestra, which was/is on Operashare. It didn't gain any positive reaction when I reposted it on the forum at the time. I think one person positively hated the performance :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 21, 2008, 09:25:26 AM
Well, yes, back to Tippett - Davis was the foremost recording conductor of his music from the mid 60s onwards, the operas (his most important works, probably) above all; that is, from the time that Tippett began to carve out a reputation beyond the shores of Britain. I have a feeling the two facts are not unrelated. The premieres of most of Tippett's major orchestral works from the Concerto for Orchestra right up to The Rose Lake, and of his 3rd and 4th operas, were entrusted to Davis. Somewhere or other I have quotations from Tippett himself full of gratitude for the work Davis did on his behalf, which I feel was probably instrumental in turning the composer from a 'British' figure into one of international stature.

This is definitely true. Tippett was writing these scores that were monstrously difficult and awkward for the players. He had a reputation as someone with a lot of ideas that he didn't know how to express. Colin Davis' recordings showed how gorgeous the music could really sound when it was performed properly. I think his recordings of The Midsummer Marriage and the Third Symphony in particular turned a lot of heads. From the illustrations in the accompanying booklet, it seems apparent that the Covent Garden production of the Midsummer Marriage which Davis recorded really captured the atmosphere of the work, and allowed it to come off on stage in a way that counteracted his reputation for bad librettos (a flaw that unfortunately couldn't be disguised in his later operas).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 21, 2008, 09:40:16 AM
...in a way that counteracted [Tippett's] reputation for bad librettos (a flaw that unfortunately couldn't be disguised in his later operas).

I think I'm the only person on earth who likes Tippett's libretti! At least, I feel they are of a piece with his personality and above all with his music - the same peculiar blend of awkwardness and courageousness which, to my mind, only increases the communicative human power of the whole. BTW, humour my posting probably Tippett's most famous non-libretto words, a passage whose oft-quoted closing words encapsulate Tippett's music perfectly:

Quote from: Tippett
This tradition is to create images from the depths of the imagination and to give them form whether visual, intellectual or musical. For it is only through images that the inner world communicates at all. Images of vigour for a decadent period, images of calm for one too violent. Images of reconciliation for the worlds torn by division. And in an age of mediocrity and shattered dreams, images of abounding, generous, exuberant beauty.

Sorry to derail things; back to VW (though the VW-Tippett link is an interesting one too....)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 21, 2008, 05:36:14 PM
A while ago I listened to Colin Davis conducting RVW's 4th on the radio, with the Bavarian RSO.

You can hear parts of the symphony in this audio podcast on Bayern radio (about 40% into the sound file):
http://www.br-online.de/bayern4klassik/galleria/audio-williams-sinfonie-ID1218876987968.xml

Davis also discusses the music - in German!

Also: http://www.newberkshire.com/7bso-boston-symphony-colin-davis.php

Thomas

I should warn the unwary that this last link leads to a concert review by a certain "Karl Henning".  $:)
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on August 22, 2008, 02:59:54 AM
I think I'm the only person on earth who likes Tippett's libretti! At least, I feel they are of a piece with his personality and above all with his music - the same peculiar blend of awkwardness and courageousness which, to my mind, only increases the communicative human power of the whole. BTW, humour my posting probably Tippett's most famous non-libretto words, a passage whose oft-quoted closing words encapsulate Tippett's music perfectly:
 
Sorry to derail things; back to VW (though the VW-Tippett link is an interesting one too....)

No no, that's fine! I do like Tippett's writing. Symphony nr 3 has a moving text and "Moving into Aquarius" (Paladin books 1974) is a great collection of essays and poems : "I am a composer .That is someone who imagines sound, creating music from the inner world of the imagination."

But back to RVW now!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 22, 2008, 04:31:16 AM
Indeed, RVW time :D

Did he write any substantial (and good) instrumental/chamber music beyond the two SQs and phantasy quintet? I recall having heard the Hyperion/Nash Ensemble "early chamber music" twofer at some point, but it didn't make much of an impact.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 22, 2008, 04:45:59 AM
There is a violin sonata that's quite intriguing:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2007/Nov07/English_sonatas_pcl2105.jpg)
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2007/Nov07/English_sonatas_pcl2105.htm

It was written in 1954, it's among the "harsher" pieces in his oeuvre, no unlike parts of the 4th and 6th symphonies.

He wrote only a few piano pieces, none of them of any consequence. His "Six Studies in English Folk Song" are a popular work though. They're available in various guises (for cello, viola, clarinet etc.)

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on August 22, 2008, 05:06:47 AM
I have Menuhin's recording of the Sonata, Thos; though I have not listened to it yet . . . fact is, I bought the disc for the Elgar Sonata.

But it's time I listened to the Vaughan Williams, of course.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 22, 2008, 05:11:36 AM
Thomas - thanks, that sonata sounds unmissable :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 23, 2008, 12:53:33 AM
I agree with Thomas. The late, craggy Violin Sonata is my favourite piece of VW chamber music. My favourite recording is with the Music Group of London (including the late Hugh Bean, whose "Lark Ascending" with Boult is the best I know.) There is also the chamber version of the vocal "On Wenlock Edge, a wonderful work (although I prefer the version for full orchestra).

The CD below "The Lake in the Mountains", is an excellent collection of VW chamber works, including a fine performance of the Violin Sonata:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Chamber-Music/dp/B00006644H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1219484951&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 23, 2008, 01:52:17 AM
Very true, and the string quartet performance is also very good. I have yet to see a truly bland, or poor, performance from the Nash Ensemble. Their Bliss Chamber Works CD is one of my top ten CDs ever!

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/66137.jpg)

I put the "portrait" twofer (was: Cala) forward to sneak in some even lesser-known British repertoire to annoy m forever.  ;D

Though Stanzeleit's performance isn't bad either.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on August 23, 2008, 03:04:06 AM
I hesitate to reopen the discussion of 'idiomatic/unidiomatic' performances of VW's music. I have been on holiday in Norway and Sweden-in fact I still am :) :)
Having accessed the forum from a friend's house in Stockholm however I note that there is a reference to the point I made some time ago about Haitink's recording of the Sinfonia Antartica as unidiomatic but deeply impressive and convincing.

What did I mean by that? I must admit that it was the sort of remark which needed greater thought and consideration. Many of the points made subsequently impress me as very valid. There is a 'performing tradition' in VW which has developed over the decades since the music was first performed. As a consequence of the fact that first and following performances were given by British orchestras and that conductors like Boult and Barbirolli were particularly associated with these performances we do-naturally-think of such a 'performing tradition' as specifically British. A conductor like Vernon Handley is frequently seen as Boult's conducting heir-yet Handley's interpretations are not slavish imitations of those by Sir Adrian.

The reality that few non-British orchestras or conductors performed VW meant that it was extremely difficult to compare or contrast these interpretations with possible alternatives. We talk about conductors brought up in the central European traditions of Bruckner and Mahler-composers whose music was relatively little heard in Britain until later in the 20th century.

Haitink is such a conductor. Some of us then assume that he can bring a different perspective to the interpretation of VW.
Yet, of course, Haitink recorded his VW cycle with the London Philharmonic-the orchestra most particularly associated with Boult's performances and recordings on early LP. The Haitink cycle has been criticised in some quarters. Some people-including myself- admire the performance of the Sinfonia Antartica because it appears to invest that work with a majesty and grandeur which elevates a piece which can seem incidental to the VW symphonic canon into a more substantial and genuinely 'symphonic' work. Is this then just a 'better' performance? Perhaps so. Is it 'unidiomatic'? Probably not. Is Haitink's interpretation of the 'London Symphony' unidiomatic? Well, it is 'different'.

I apologise for not being able to be more 'specific' or necessarily helpful. Perhaps critics (and some of us) are just being a bit lazy in using words like 'unidiomatic' without more clearly defining what we mean by that :)

Anyway...I am returning  to my holiday for another few days ;D :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 23, 2008, 03:13:24 AM
The Haitink cycle has been criticised in some quarters. Some people-including myself- admire the performance of the Sinfonia Antartica because it appears to invest that work with a majesty and grandeur which elevates a piece which can seem incidental to the VW symphonic canon into a more substantial and genuinely 'symphonic' work. Is this then just a 'better' performance? Perhaps so. Is it 'unidiomatic'? Probably not. Is Haitink's interpretation of the 'London Symphony' unidiomatic? Well, it is 'different'.

I have mixed feelings about the Haitink cycle, too. I often use the term "Brucknerian" to describe the specific nature of those recordings, by which I mean a majesty and an emphasis on line, not on colour (that's why I consider his RVW 8th a complete failure, it just sounds "grey" to me). The orchestra may have an RVW tradition, but I don't think there are many players left from the days of Boult.

Quote
I apologise for not being able to be more 'specific' or necessarily helpful. Perhaps critics (and some of us) are just being a bit lazy in using words like 'unidiomatic' without more clearly defining what we mean by that :)

Guilty. It just comes (too) naturally, doesn't it? I mean, if all the details are in the scores, why should a musician in Timbuktu not be able to play it the same way a player in London does? If he's of the same caliber (ok, it might be difficult to find enough of those in Timbuktu, so let's say, Hong Kong) and his instrument is, too (mich may be even more diificult) . Tratditions of how to play certain instruments (that Czech timbre in horn playing, how to describe it?) can alter the result, but if e.g. a German orchestra play under Norrington, couldn't he specifically instruct people to play in a manner he considers "British"?  :-X

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on August 23, 2008, 05:25:42 AM
Thanks for the violin sonata recommendation. I don't know this work at all, and I really like the craggy RVW, so this sounds like a must.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 23, 2008, 06:19:20 AM
It really is superb - stands up very well next to the Elgar sonata. I prefer RVW's piano writing to that one, actually. The overall feel to the work is perhaps less nostalgic than Elgar's, but still surprisingly affecting. It is lengthy (thank God) and rather than going down the cheerful route of works such as the phantasy quintet, this is rather more ruminative and slightly beguiling in mood. The violinist's role is certainly less overtly folksy than in the Lark Ascending, and digging more into the music at times rather than serenely passing by. This is going to provide many rewarding relistens, I am sure.

The Nash disc is very strong, both in playing and recording (the 2nd SQ has just begun now and has grabbed me in a way that I can't recall the acclaimed and also great Naxos disc having done before). I am tempted to buy the English violin sonatas twofer to hear some of works by other composers (I haven't heard a note by Dunhill or Fricker)...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on August 24, 2008, 05:09:55 AM
Oh, just stumbled across André Previns Sinfonia Antarctica with the LSO from the box set, what do you think about this one?

(http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/antarctica_previn.jpg)

For those who don't know this one, I've got a snippet for you:

[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/rvw7-1.mp3[/mp3]

I must say it seems :-*:-*:-* I love this :-*:-*:-* celibidachesque interpretation much more than the one I preferred before (Bakels on Naxos). It's much slower and therefore more exiting I think. The speed (e.g. the first Andante is 11 minutes) goes well with this piece. Maybe it's just that the visionary Previn wanted to slow down the pole melting in 1967 already.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 24, 2008, 06:16:06 AM
I hesitate to reopen the discussion of 'idiomatic/unidiomatic' performances of VW's music. I have been on holiday in Norway and Sweden-in fact I still am :) :)
Having accessed the forum from a friend's house in Stockholm however I note that there is a reference to the point I made some time ago about Haitink's recording of the Sinfonia Antartica as unidiomatic but deeply impressive and convincing.

What did I mean by that? I must admit that it was the sort of remark which needed greater thought and consideration. Many of the points made subsequently impress me as very valid. There is a 'performing tradition' in VW which has developed over the decades since the music was first performed. As a consequence of the fact that first and following performances were given by British orchestras and that conductors like Boult and Barbirolli were particularly associated with these performances we do-naturally-think of such a 'performing tradition' as specifically British. A conductor like Vernon Handley is frequently seen as Boult's conducting heir-yet Handley's interpretations are not slavish imitations of those by Sir Adrian.

The reality that few non-British orchestras or conductors performed VW meant that it was extremely difficult to compare or contrast these interpretations with possible alternatives. We talk about conductors brought up in the central European traditions of Bruckner and Mahler-composers whose music was relatively little heard in Britain until later in the 20th century.

Haitink is such a conductor. Some of us then assume that he can bring a different perspective to the interpretation of VW.
Yet, of course, Haitink recorded his VW cycle with the London Philharmonic-the orchestra most particularly associated with Boult's performances and recordings on early LP. The Haitink cycle has been criticised in some quarters. Some people-including myself- admire the performance of the Sinfonia Antartica because it appears to invest that work with a majesty and grandeur which elevates a piece which can seem incidental to the VW symphonic canon into a more substantial and genuinely 'symphonic' work. Is this then just a 'better' performance? Perhaps so. Is it 'unidiomatic'? Probably not. Is Haitink's interpretation of the 'London Symphony' unidiomatic? Well, it is 'different'.

I apologise for not being able to be more 'specific' or necessarily helpful. Perhaps critics (and some of us) are just being a bit lazy in using words like 'unidiomatic' without more clearly defining what we mean by that :)

Anyway...I am returning  to my holiday for another few days ;D :)

    I agree with you entirely. :(

   
Oh, just stumbled across André Previns Sinfonia Antarctica with the LSO from the box set, what do you think about this one?

(http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/antarctica_previn.jpg)

For those who don't know this one, I've got a snippet for you:

[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/rvw7-1.mp3[/mp3]

I must say it seems :-*:-*:-* I love this :-*:-*:-* celibidachesque interpretation much more than the one I preferred before (Bakels on Naxos). It's much slower and therefore more exiting I think. The speed (e.g. the first Andante is 11 minutes) goes well with this piece. Maybe it's just that the visionary Previn wanted to slow down the pole melting in 1967 already.

    I've had this on the Pod recently and I'm trying to adjust to the slow first movement. On the whole I think Previn is a convincing interpreter but he's not my first choice in any of the symphonies, though I had the LP of the 5th and it was a serious contender, or so I thought at the time (decades ago).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 24, 2008, 01:02:38 PM
I hesitate to reopen the discussion of 'idiomatic/unidiomatic' performances of VW's music. I have been on holiday in Norway and Sweden-in fact I still am :) :)
Having accessed the forum from a friend's house in Stockholm however I note that there is a reference to the point I made some time ago about Haitink's recording of the Sinfonia Antartica as unidiomatic but deeply impressive and convincing.

What did I mean by that? I must admit that it was the sort of remark which needed greater thought and consideration. Many of the points made subsequently impress me as very valid. There is a 'performing tradition' in VW which has developed over the decades since the music was first performed. As a consequence of the fact that first and following performances were given by British orchestras and that conductors like Boult and Barbirolli were particularly associated with these performances we do-naturally-think of such a 'performing tradition' as specifically British. A conductor like Vernon Handley is frequently seen as Boult's conducting heir-yet Handley's interpretations are not slavish imitations of those by Sir Adrian.

The reality that few non-British orchestras or conductors performed VW meant that it was extremely difficult to compare or contrast these interpretations with possible alternatives. We talk about conductors brought up in the central European traditions of Bruckner and Mahler-composers whose music was relatively little heard in Britain until later in the 20th century.

Haitink is such a conductor. Some of us then assume that he can bring a different perspective to the interpretation of VW.
Yet, of course, Haitink recorded his VW cycle with the London Philharmonic-the orchestra most particularly associated with Boult's performances and recordings on early LP. The Haitink cycle has been criticised in some quarters. Some people-including myself- admire the performance of the Sinfonia Antartica because it appears to invest that work with a majesty and grandeur which elevates a piece which can seem incidental to the VW symphonic canon into a more substantial and genuinely 'symphonic' work. Is this then just a 'better' performance? Perhaps so. Is it 'unidiomatic'? Probably not. Is Haitink's interpretation of the 'London Symphony' unidiomatic? Well, it is 'different'.

I apologise for not being able to be more 'specific' or necessarily helpful. Perhaps critics (and some of us) are just being a bit lazy in using words like 'unidiomatic' without more clearly defining what we mean by that :)

Anyway...I am returning  to my holiday for another few days ;D :)

Thanks for this contribution. You don't have to "apologize" for re-opening the discussion - it was never really "opened" since no one so far has been able to say what an "idiomatic" performance of RVW's music actually is. You and some other posters made some valid points regarding how "authentic" or "idiomatic" performing traditions can come into life and are handed down to the next generations of performers, and all that is very true in general, but none of that answers the question what characterizes an "idiomatic" performance of this music - or not.

BTW, did you go to the Vasa museum in Stockholm? Extremely impressive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on August 24, 2008, 01:27:14 PM
No, I did not go to the Vasa Museum on this trip but I have been there at least three times in the past with different friends.
It is-as you say-extremely impressive :) Sad that such a magnificent ship should sink on its maiden voyage before it even got out of the harbour :( A shorter maiden voyage than that of the 'Titanic'!!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 24, 2008, 01:28:46 PM
Well, it looks magnificent, but the design/engineering wasn't so magnificent  $:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on August 24, 2008, 02:40:33 PM
Well, it looks magnificent, but the design/engineering wasn't so magnificent  $:)

Indeed :(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 24, 2008, 07:29:30 PM
I've had this on the Pod recently and I'm trying to adjust to the slow first movement. On the whole I think Previn is a convincing interpreter but he's not my first choice in any of the symphonies, though I had the LP of the 5th and it was a serious contender, or so I thought at the time (decades ago).

I've only heard Bakels and Previn thus far. I like Previn's performance but feel he could have gone further - if you're going to go slow, this music could stand to be even slower and grander.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2008, 10:59:38 PM
Very true, and the string quartet performance is also very good. I have yet to see a truly bland, or poor, performance from the Nash Ensemble. Their Bliss Chamber Works CD is one of my top ten CDs ever!

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/66137.jpg)

I put the "portrait" twofer (was: Cala) forward to sneak in some even lesser-known British repertoire to annoy m forever.  ;D

Though Stanzeleit's performance isn't bad either.

Thomas

OT I know but just to say that the Bliss Oboe Quintet is one of my very favourite pieces of chamber music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2008, 11:02:37 PM
Thanks for the violin sonata recommendation. I don't know this work at all, and I really like the craggy RVW, so this sounds like a must.

More "craggy VW" for you:

Fantasia on the Old 104th for Piano and Orchestra

Piano Concerto

Symphony 9

Less craggy perhaps, but my favourite VW unknown work is the late cantata "Epithalamion", a beautiful score.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: greg on August 25, 2008, 05:06:09 AM
Thanks for this contribution. You don't have to "apologize" for re-opening the discussion - it was never really "opened" since no one so far has been able to say what an "idiomatic" performance of RVW's music actually is. You and some other posters made some valid points regarding how "authentic" or "idiomatic" performing traditions can come into life and are handed down to the next generations of performers, and all that is very true in general, but none of that answers the question what characterizes an "idiomatic" performance of this music - or not.

BTW, did you go to the Vasa museum in Stockholm? Extremely impressive.
I don't think anyone has a good answer without any scores, M.....
to be able to say you "know" a composer's idiom, i think, definitely requires several scores and lots of time- so probably no one who regularly posts on this thread could say anything worthwhile (unless i'm proven wrong)  ;).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on August 25, 2008, 08:27:18 AM
Piano Concerto

Symphony 9
Both amongst my favourite RVW works, particularly the concerto. I'll have to take a look at the other two you mentioned.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 25, 2008, 03:19:39 PM
50th Anniversary of Vaughan Williams's death today as he died in the early hours of 26th August 1958, seven hours before Adrian Boult and the LPO recorded his 9th Symphony (being performed in an all VW concert at the Proms in London tonight). Sadly I wont be there as I have to take my daughter to catch the Harwich-Hook-of-Holland ferry, but I'll listen on the radio and at midnight I played the 5 Variants on Dives and Lazarus (played at VW's funeral in Westminster Abbey) and Fantasia on the Old 104th Psalm as my own little tribute.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 25, 2008, 03:48:11 PM
I've only heard Bakels and Previn thus far. I like Previn's performance but feel he could have gone further - if you're going to go slow, this music could stand to be even slower and grander.
 

     My rec is you go straight to Boult for Sinfonia Antartica. I have the 1953 mono recording (with the John Geilgud spoken introductions). This performance has never been surpassed and rarely equalled.   

     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VKRWJDS1L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
     

     If mono isn't acceptable get the EMI stereo recording.

      (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41D35JEC9PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

     And now I just want to look at this again after 46 years. This is my first ever LP purchase, long gone from my collection.

     (http://www.invinylveritas.com/pictures/Boultwilliams.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 25, 2008, 06:49:46 PM
My rec is you go straight to Boult for Sinfonia Antartica. I have the 1953 mono recording (with the John Geilgud spoken introductions). This performance has never been surpassed and rarely equalled.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VKRWJDS1L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)   

If mono isn't acceptable get the EMI stereo recording.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41D35JEC9PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Thanks for the recommend. I've been anguishing slightly about which cycle to buy next - Boult/Decca often seems to be discounted because of the earlier, mono sound, making the comparisons I've read a little difficult to gauge. If those recordings are at least equal to the Collins Sibelius cycle (one of my favourites), I think I would be happy with it. Overlooking sound differences, the main differences between the Boult cycles seem to be small degrees of energy and speed.

I'm also wondering about the Haitink cycle - I've read it's quite grand and "symphonic" (if you know what I mean), but I've also read that it's banal and/or "unidiomatic". But how does that contrast with Boult, so often characterised as solid and straight forward?
 
 
to be able to say you "know" a composer's idiom, i think, definitely requires several scores and lots of time- so probably no one who regularly posts on this thread could say anything worthwhile (unless i'm proven wrong)  ;).

I think we are actually discussing idiom of performance, rather than composer. Specifically, whether there is a British "way" with Vaughan Williams' music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on August 25, 2008, 11:13:15 PM
The Boult mono sounds very decent for its age. If you are alright with older recordings in general these will not be difficult to listen to. As "interesting" as the Haitink may be, it doesn't compensate in overall value for Boult who practically owns several of the symphonies (1, 5, 6). The total inspiration of his interpretations IMO belie any thoughts of "stuffiness". If anything, that term better applies to later run-throughs by conductors performing the music on autopilot, such as Hickox. One of the Boults is basically the only "mandatory" cycle for fans - after that it's down to preference.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 25, 2008, 11:47:36 PM
50th Anniversary of Vaughan Williams's death today as he died in the early hours of 26th August 1958, seven hours before Adrian Boult and the LPO recorded his 9th Symphony (being performed in an all VW concert at the Proms in London tonight). Sadly I wont be there as I have to take my daughter to catch the Harwich-Hook-of-Holland ferry, but I'll listen on the radio and at midnight I played the 5 Variants on Dives and Lazarus (played at VW's funeral in Westminster Abbey) and Fantasia on the Old 104th Psalm as my own little tribute.

I think I'll refresh my (and RVW's) memory by listening to the Piano Concerto.

(Your daughter coming to Leiden at last!)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 26, 2008, 01:13:41 AM
I think I'll refesh my (and RVW's) memory by listening to the Piano Concerto.

(Your daughter coming to Leiden at last!)

OT, Yes, the great day has finally come!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 26, 2008, 07:09:12 AM
I think I'll refesh my (and RVW's) memory by listening to the Piano Concerto.



This is an interesting, enjoyable version of the PC, with the Slovenian RSO:
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 26, 2008, 07:11:35 AM
Proms tonight (26/8) all VW Concert. BBC Radio 3. Tallis, Job, Symphony No 9 etc.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 26, 2008, 07:13:48 AM
Proms tonight (26/8) all VW Concert. BBC Radio 3. Tallis, Job, Symphony No 9 etc.

Thanks for the reminder!  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 26, 2008, 07:40:14 AM
Thanks for this contribution. You don't have to "apologize" for re-opening the discussion - it was never really "opened" since no one so far has been able to say what an "idiomatic" performance of RVW's music actually is.

I beg you pardon, MF, but I addressed precisely that point when the issue was raised.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 26, 2008, 08:57:23 AM
This is an interesting, enjoyable version of the PC, with the Slovenian RSO:

I seriously doubt it's a patch for the Lyrita version (which also includes John Foulds' fine Dynamic Triptych.

(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0211.jpg)

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 26, 2008, 09:56:30 AM
I seriously doubt it's a patch for the Lyrita version (which also includes John Foulds' fine Dynamic Triptych.

(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0211.jpg)

Thomas

Which is what I listened to.

At the moment: Job has just started on BBC 3....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2008/promsbroadcasts/
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 27, 2008, 12:18:30 PM
I listened to the concert on the car radio en-route to Holland. Oddly nostalgic for me. I first discovered Vaughan Williams when I was 17 in  1972 and worked on a farm in Holland for 6 weeks between school and university in the summer of 1973. I remember driving round the farm tractor in deserted fields in Zeeland (at a mad reckless speed....I was much less timid in tose days) with Vaughan Williams's Ninth Symphony running through my head.  It was really weird and a huge nostalgia trip to be listening to Symphony No 9 on the car radio while taking my daughter to study in Holland for one year.  The performance of Job and the Ninth Symphony, conducted by Andrew Davis sounded very moving. Hearing Job was another nostalgic experience as I heard Adrian Boult conduct it (it is dedicated to him) on 12th October 1972 at the Festival Hall in London, VW's 100th birthday.

For me the highlight of this anniversary year has been attending The Pilgrim's Progress in London and I am looking forward to hearing Richard Hickox conduct symphonies 5,6 and 9 in November.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 27, 2008, 01:23:15 PM
The Boult mono sounds very decent for its age. If you are alright with older recordings in general these will not be difficult to listen to. As "interesting" as the Haitink may be, it doesn't compensate in overall value for Boult who practically owns several of the symphonies (1, 5, 6). The total inspiration of his interpretations IMO belie any thoughts of "stuffiness". If anything, that term better applies to later run-throughs by conductors performing the music on autopilot, such as Hickox. One of the Boults is basically the only "mandatory" cycle for fans - after that it's down to preference.

     Hickox has done a fine 5th, though I'll take Barbirolli, Boult, and Previn ahead of it. The Hickox London Symphony with the restored cuts is a special case. I need to listen to it some more.

     Last night I played the London Symphony recording made by Barbirolli with the Hallé Orchestra (not the later one on EMI).

     (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2002/Apr02/barb_RVW.jpg)

    This is really interesting. The sound is very clear for a 1956 recording, and the orchestra plays beautifully and expressively (with the usual limitations of this group). The recording was made by the Mercury team, and sounds like it.

     Edit: It was not made by the Mercury team. The 8th symphony, on the same disc, was. This 1957 recording is by the Pye team (Robert Auger, Douglas Terry). It's hard to describe how it differs from other good recordings from the era, so:

     [mp3=200,20,0,center]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/11/2/1559968/IV%20%20Andante%20con%20moto.mp3
[/mp3]

     It's remarkably dynamic for a recording of this age, and less congested sounding on peaks.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 27, 2008, 02:25:23 PM
I listened to the concert on the car radio en-route to Holland. Oddly nostalgic for me. I first discovered Vaughan Williams when I was 17 in  1972 and worked on a farm in Holland for 6 weeks between school and university in the summer of 1973. I remember driving round the farm tractor in deserted fields in Zeeland (at a mad reckless speed....I was much less timid in tose days) with Vaughan Williams's Ninth Symphony running through my head.  It was really weird and a huge nostalgia trip to be listening to Symphony No 9 on the car radio while taking my daughter to study in Holland for one year.  The performance of Job and the Ninth Symphony, conducted by Andrew Davis sounded very moving. Hearing Job was another nostalgic experience as I heard Adrian Boult conduct it (it is dedicated to him) on 12th October 1972 at the Festival Hall in London, VW's 100th birthday.

For me the highlight of this anniversary year has been attending The Pilgrim's Progress in London and I am looking forward to hearing Richard Hickox conduct symphonies 5,6 and 9 in November.

I KNEW you'd be listening to the concert on your car radio! I only wondered whether your daughter would put up with it. But she apparently did...  :)

I always have a problem with Sir Andrew Davies in that I find his conducting rather run-of-the-mill. I like his (rostrum) personality more than his talent. Both Job and the Ninth need a visionary to really bring them off, which Andrew Davies, IMO, signally isn't... Still - I enjoyed the performances up to a certain point (the works are so strong, they can withstand mediocrity).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on August 28, 2008, 04:56:47 AM
Just realized it was his 50th anniversary of death (2008-08-26).
Deutschlandfunk addresses this. (http://www.podcast.de/episode/836000/Ralph_Vaughan_Williams,_50._Todestag) (German language)

Bought today of Chandos: Christmas Music and On Wenlock Edge etc.:

(http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/rvw_tn.jpg) (http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/rvw.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 28, 2008, 06:48:09 AM
Just realized it was his 50th anniversary of death (2008-08-26).
Deutschlandfunk addresses this. (http://www.podcast.de/episode/836000/Ralph_Vaughan_Williams,_50._Todestag) (German language)

Thanks for the link!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 03:48:59 AM
I KNEW you'd be listening to the concert on your car radio! I only wondered whether your daughter would put up with it. But she apparently did...  :)

I always have a problem with Sir Andrew Davies in that I find his conducting rather run-of-the-mill. I like his (rostrum) personality more than his talent. Both Job and the Ninth need a visionary to really bring them off, which Andrew Davies, IMO, signally isn't... Still - I enjoyed the performances up to a certain point (the works are so strong, they can withstand mediocrity).


The deal was that she HAD to put up with me listening to it on the car radio, in return for me accompanying her on the madcap trip to Leiden at the last minute. There was one ugly moment, however, when she decided to call her boyfriend on her mobile and instructed me to "turn the music down"  :o >:D >:(. I explained that I was doing no such thing, so a sort-of compromise was eventually reached where I pretended to turn the radio down, but then turned it straight up again ;D

It sounded to me (from what I was allowed to hear) that Davis's performances of Job and the 9th Symphony were rather better than those on his Warner CD coupling but, no doubt, the moving nature of the occasion and the live, appreciative (apart from my daughter) audience had something to do with that.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 29, 2008, 04:48:44 AM
My apologies to Sir Andrew Davis for consistently and stupidly misspelling his name...  ???


The deal was that she HAD to put up with me listening to it on the car radio, in return for me accompanying her on the madcap trip to Leiden at the last minute. There was one ugly moment, however, when she decided to call her boyfriend on her mobile and instructed me to "turn the music down"  :o >:D >:(. I explained that I was doing no such thing, so a sort-of compromise was eventually reached where I pretended to turn the radio down, but then turned it straight up again ;D

For this you'll receive from me the sobriquet Braveheart.

Quote
It sounded to me (from what I was allowed to hear) that Davis's performances of Job and the 9th Symphony were rather better than those on his Warner CD coupling but, no doubt, the moving nature of the occasion and the live, appreciative (apart from my daughter) audience had something to do with that.

He has improved, then. Still, I don't expect greatness from him, alas...  :(



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 08:24:38 AM
My apologies to Sir Andrew Davis for consistently and stupidly misspelling his name...  ???

For this you'll receive from me the sobriquet Braveheart.

He has improved, then. Still, I don't expect greatness from him, alas...  :(

OT

Yes, Davis without the "e" is the more cultured spelling  ;D

"Braveheart" yes, that suits me, notwithstanding the fact that I screamed when a frog  jumped out in front of me a while back.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 09:27:41 AM
I beg you pardon, MF, but I addressed precisely that point when the issue was raised.


Did you mean the string sound or the grunting part?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on August 29, 2008, 09:59:03 AM
I listened to the concert on the car radio en-route to Holland. Oddly nostalgic for me. I first discovered Vaughan Williams when I was 17 in  1972 and worked on a farm in Holland for 6 weeks between school and university in the summer of 1973. I remember driving round the farm tractor in deserted fields in Zeeland (at a mad reckless speed....I was much less timid in tose days) with Vaughan Williams's Ninth Symphony running through my head.  It was really weird and a huge nostalgia trip to be listening to Symphony No 9 on the car radio while taking my daughter to study in Holland for one year. 

Lovely story, read with great pleasure. :D The empty horizon of Zeeland filled with the sound of Vaughan Williams' Ninth, back in the 1970s...  ::) My own first encounter with the Ninth came later in the decade, but in a similar landscape. I remember vividly that our Radio 4 broadcasted all of his symphonies, probably Boult's second cycle, in the Summer of 1978. And I hurried back home after school on my bike, 11 kilometres (sorry: 7 miles) through a similar type of "polder" (your "deserted fields") just in time to hear the mysterious Finale of the Ninth, but too late for the first three movements. For a couple of years, that was the only part of the Ninth I knew, since I could only afford to buy an LP with it (Previn's) in the Spring of 1981.

Well, those were the days.  8)

BTW, there's a literary equivalent to your nostalgic memories of Zeeland. In 1962, William Golding wrote about his sailing trip across the Channel to Zeeland, for the Holiday magazine, reprinted among his collection of essays in `A Moving Target'. His observations on the landscape and its people remind me of your account - might be fun to read them (for me, they are).  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 10:04:36 AM
I have listened to most of the VW symphonies at some point, but I never got much into the music. Maybe I should have another go at exploring his "idiom". What symphonies would the VW experts here recommend to listen to first?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 29, 2008, 10:45:24 AM

     I would start with the 5th symphony. There are a number of fine performances to choose from.

     Here are 2 CDs that would be a good starting point:

     (http://img147.imageshack.us/img147/9009/41wmkrbpkplss400kf6.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

     Richard Hickox with the London Symphony Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Symphony-5/dp/B00009VZHI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1220037683&sr=1-4), a hybrid SACD with some good couplings especially The Pilgrim Pavement.

     You might find this one even better for the study of the particular idiom of RVW, since it has performances of both the 5th and A Pastoral Symphony(No. 3) conducted by Adrian Boult, who more than anyone is responsible for establishing the performance tradition. (click the pic for link)

     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5149M3C42VL._SS400_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Ralph-Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B000002S2P/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1220037683&sr=1-2)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 29, 2008, 12:08:09 PM
My own first encounter with the Ninth came later in the decade, but in a similar landscape. I remember vividly that our Radio 4 broadcast all of his symphonies, probably Boult's second cycle, in the Summer of 1978.

I don't remember. But I must have known a few of RVW's symphonies already, by then (I discovered Brian in '77, so I must have been listening to British music)...

Quote
BTW, there's a literary equivalent to your nostalgic memories of Zeeland. In 1962, William Golding wrote about his sailing trip across the Channel to Zeeland, for the Holiday magazine, reprinted among his collection of essays in `A Moving Target'. His observations on the landscape and its people remind me of your account - might be fun to read them (for me, they are).  :)

Interesting!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 01:47:57 PM
I have listened to most of the VW symphonies at some point, but I never got much into the music. Maybe I should have another go at exploring his "idiom". What symphonies would the VW experts here recommend to listen to first?

VW's own favourite was A London Symphony and, at some point you must listen to the original version on Chandos (Hickox) which contains some exquisite music which VW later excised from the score. Generally though, symphonies 4-6 are considered the greatest. EMI have just issued an inexpensive double album with all three symphonies in great performances (Gibson/Berglund, link below). I think that that would be a good place to start. The Chandos CD (Hickox) with No 5 on is very good and contains some unusual other works like The Pilgrim's Pavement.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0018OAP2U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1220050121&sr=1-1

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 29, 2008, 01:51:14 PM
VW's own favourite was A London Symphony and, at some point you must listen to the original version on Chandos (Hickox) which contains some exquisite music which VW later excised from the score.

for good reason too. Composers have to have the courage to cut even exquisite music when it's out of place, makes the music too long, or obscures the structure. RVW had that courage.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 02:01:22 PM
Lovely story, read with great pleasure. :D The empty horizon of Zeeland filled with the sound of Vaughan Williams' Ninth, back in the 1970s...  ::) My own first encounter with the Ninth came later in the decade, but in a similar landscape. I remember vividly that our Radio 4 broadcasted all of his symphonies, probably Boult's second cycle, in the Summer of 1978. And I hurried back home after school on my bike, 11 kilometres (sorry: 7 miles) through a similar type of "polder" (your "deserted fields") just in time to hear the mysterious Finale of the Ninth, but too late for the first three movements. For a couple of years, that was the only part of the Ninth I knew, since I could only afford to buy an LP with it (Previn's) in the Spring of 1981.

Well, those were the days.  8)

BTW, there's a literary equivalent to your nostalgic memories of Zeeland. In 1962, William Golding wrote about his sailing trip across the Channel to Zeeland, for the Holiday magazine, reprinted among his collection of essays in `A Moving Target'. His observations on the landscape and its people remind me of your account - might be fun to read them (for me, they are).  :)


Thank you Johan,

Yes, there was something about the juxtapostion of the empty Zeeland sky (empty that is apart from the occasional Dutch airforce jet fighter), and Vaughan Williams's Ninth Symphony which stayed with me. My first VW LP was of Morton Gould conducting the Tallis Fantasia, English Folk Song suite etc, but what bowled me over was the Boult Decca Eclipse LP of Symphony No 6 (complete with composer's speech) which I bought one day on my way home from school.  After that I saved up from my Saturday job in the WH Smith record dept in Earl's Court Rd, until I could buy the Boult EMI LP cycle in a boxed set and I never looked back (infact my wages were invariably spent on LPs)

William Golding; interesting. I will look out for that.  In fact I had to study Golding's novels in my first year at university. I enjoyed Lord of the Flies but found works like Pincher Martin rather heavy going.  My feelings may be different now.

By the way, I bought a map of the Netherlands in Leiden yesterday and worked where the farm was. It was at a remote place called Portvliet on the island of Tholen in Zeeland. I would be curious to go back there one day.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 02:07:03 PM
for good reason too. Composers have to have the courage to cut even exquisite music when it's out of place, makes the music too long, or obscures the structure. RVW had that courage.

Yes, but I think that excising the section just before the end was a mistake; one of the most moving passages in all VW. I think that at that point (and that point only) the structural gain was offset by the poetic loss. At the time of his final revision (1936), VW was very influenced by Sibelius. I have also seen it argued that the cut at the end actually weakens the structure by creation too abrupt a transition to the Epilogue section.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 02:14:08 PM
I think I actually have the 5th symphony because I have a Telarc disc of the Tallis Fantasia with RPO/Previn which also has the 5th on it. The Tallis Fantasia is the only VW piece I know very well because I once performed it with my chamber group in Berlin. There is a chance I might still have a copy of the recording of the concert (every time I am reminded of this, I could hit my head against the wall because when I last came across the tape, I think that was when I packed for moving to the US 5 years ago, I didn't set it aside but packed it up with other stuff...).
Anyway, when I listened to the 5th, I didn't find much access to the music. I might buy the download of that Boult recording. I think I also have the 6th and 9th with LSO/Previn somewhere. Did Previn understand the very special "idiom"?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 02:19:19 PM
I think I actually have the 5th symphony because I have a Telarc disc of the Tallis Fantasia with RPO/Previn which also has the 5th on it. The Tallis Fantasia is the only VW piece I know very well because I once performed it with my chamber group in Berlin. There is a chance I might still have a copy of the recording of the concert (every time I am reminded of this, I could hit my head against the wall because when I last came across the tape, I think that was when I packed for moving to the US 5 years ago, I didn't set it aside but packed it up with other stuff...).
Anyway, when I listened to the 5th, I didn't find much access to the music. I might buy the download of that Boult recording. I think I also have the 6th and 9th with LSO/Previn somewhere. Did Previn understand the very special "idiom"?

By the way, the CD I recommended above (Berglund/Gibson) has a wonderful performance of the Tallis Fantasia conducted by Constantin Sivestri in Winchester Cathedral; my favourite version of this much recorded work.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 29, 2008, 03:16:22 PM
Did Previn understand the very special "idiom"?

    Idioms aren't special, as you probably know. It's just what's been done and passed down. For me, Previn sounds like an insider, someone who understands what the music requires without a lot of work (not that he didn't do it. Perhaps the work paid off).

   
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 03:21:11 PM
Idioms aren't special, as you probably know.

I didn't, actually. I thought a specific "idiom" is always "special" (as well as specific) because it is a distinct set of expressive and stylistic means.

It's just what's been done and passed down.

The question is, what has "been done and passed down"?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 29, 2008, 05:25:33 PM
I didn't, actually. I thought a specific "idiom" is always "special" (as well as specific) because it is a distinct set of expressive and stylistic means.

The question is, what has "been done and passed down"?

     Yes, you know the lingo, I see. Also, you probably know something about how it's used by performers, which I wouldn't know, not being one. So how about you cut the shit with your mock questions and tell me what, in your educated opinion, "a distinct set of expressive and stylistic means" means from a working musicians perspective. We listeners would like to know, and I said in an earlier post, I'd like to know.

     I recognize, within limits, what so-called authentic performances sound like, though I've made it clear that recognizing something as familiar and liking it are not the same as knowing in detail how this is accomplished.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 05:52:25 PM
I can't tell you what's "idiomatic" when it comes to VW because I don't know the music well (in fact, very little). That's why I am asking. ome experts here pointed or rather hinted at a particular idiom and some musicians' familiarity (or lack thereof) , so I want to know, what characterizes that? You said yourself that to you, Previn sounds "like an insider", what elements of his interpretations make you think that?

I just listened to the 6th symphony which was quite interesting although I wouldn't pretend that I got more than a superficial first impression. I couldn't follow the music completely. My initial reaction was like, OK, so what was your point? I am not sure I get what the music tries to express, both in musical or extra-musical (if any) dimensions. I could tell though he really liked Ravel, Nielsen, and Janáček.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 29, 2008, 06:08:38 PM
I can't tell you what's "idiomatic" when it comes to VW because I don't know the music well (in fact, very little). That's why I am asking. ome experts here pointed or rather hinted at a particular idiom and some musicians' familiarity (or lack thereof) , so I want to know, what characterizes that? You said yourself that to you, Previn sounds "like an insider", what elements of his interpretations make you think that?

I just listened to the 6th symphony which was quite interesting although I wouldn't pretend that I got more than a superficial first impression. I couldn't follow the music completely. My initial reaction was like, OK, so what was your point? I am not sure I get what the music tries to express, both in musical or extra-musical (if any) dimensions. I could tell though he really liked Ravel, Nielsen, and Janáček.

    OK, there are 2 things here. One is knowing what is or isn't idiomatic, the way I and others have used this expression. The second thing is what makes a particular performance idiomatic. What am I recognizing as familiar and convincing? That's what I don't know. I haven't heard the Previn since I owned the LP 20 years ago, so what impressed me about it has been lost.

    Now your point about RVW ("OK, so what was your point?") is in fact a very common reaction to his music, in part because of its modal nature. It seems that it just goes round and round. There are all these minor seconds and thirds that just keep piling up and where are they going? I can easily put myself in the frame of mind of someone who doesn't know what's going on. So I think that rather than understanding RVWs music I've been accustomed to it after it grabbed me at a very early age. I recognize that RVW does to some extent represent a special problem without knowing how exactly.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 29, 2008, 06:36:23 PM
I think parts of the first movement are his answer to Gershwin's "American in Paris"  $:) I like the somewhat improvisatory, strolling nature of that music though, with lots of small surprises and unexpected turns here and there. The interesting thing is that in other sections, the same disjointedness of musical thought is there, too, with long, rambling declamations which appear to me to be more the attempt at an than an actually widely arched statement. But again, these are just first impressions. I have a feeling this performance isn't as coherent as it could (and should) be. A lot of phrase turns aren't really shaped, they just happen, and there are no special inflections in most of these places. So I have the feeling that the conductor doesn't have an overall concept, he seems to shape the music a little bit as it goes along, but many of these phrase turns appear to surprise him, too, as some passages sound rather awkward.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on August 29, 2008, 08:42:56 PM
Did you mean the string sound or the grunting part?

I consider the string sound to be a superficial attribute in comparison with the grunting.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 29, 2008, 10:08:45 PM
I can't tell you what's "idiomatic" when it comes to VW because I don't know the music well (in fact, very little). That's why I am asking. ome experts here pointed or rather hinted at a particular idiom and some musicians' familiarity (or lack thereof) , so I want to know, what characterizes that? You said yourself that to you, Previn sounds "like an insider", what elements of his interpretations make you think that?

I just listened to the 6th symphony which was quite interesting although I wouldn't pretend that I got more than a superficial first impression. I couldn't follow the music completely. My initial reaction was like, OK, so what was your point? I am not sure I get what the music tries to express, both in musical or extra-musical (if any) dimensions. I could tell though he really liked Ravel, Nielsen, and Janáček.

I find it very doubtful he knew very much Janáček, FWIW. In his book 'National Music' he doesn't mention the name once; when he talks about Czech music only the names of Dvorak and Smetana are found. OTOH, about a decade after the composition of VW's 6th we find Tippett writing of Jenufa with the joy and wonder of a great discovery - to paraphrase, 'I'd heard of this composer, but I didn't expect anything like this!'. If that was the case for Tippett, a younger composer as aware of 'The Repertoire' as any other British composer, I'm sure it was for VW too.

Re the 6th - its structure, its 'point' to use your word, was devastatingly clear to me from the first time I heard it as a youngster: the alternation of aggressive, demonic and destructive forces (nagging ostinati, wheeling and wheedling tritones, galumphing cross-rhythms...) with folk-music-type lyricism forms the heart of the first movement (reminds me somewhat of Brian's 8th - would be an interesting and revealing coupling!). In the central movements negativity has the upper hand, so that the unique bleached-out epilogue is all that is left to be said. This movement is sometimes seen as a post-nuclear wasteland, which would make the various elements of the rest of the symphony somehow warlike in association. That makes some sense, of course - certainly we have martial elements, grotesqueries, 'grace-under-fire' and so on - but we ought to be careful about ascribing this sort of thing. Especially as VW said elsewhere when such subtexts were applied to his music "...why can't a fellow just write a piece of music?"

A very penetrating, revealing read is Wilfrid Meller's study on VW, the 'Vision of Albion'. One of those books which takes analysis to the point it always aims at but rarely achieves: a real elucidation of why the music works as it does, why it has the strong-but-previously-indescribable emotional impact that it has. His explanation of the implication of false relations, for instance, is extraordinary and, speaking from my own listening experience, absolutely correct, though until I'd read it, I had no idea that this was why I experienced the music as I did.

I second, BTW, the advice to listen to the sequence 4-5-6....but I'm loath to leave out 3, which is an equally remarkable work (and pre-dates Ligeti by decades in its use of 'out-of-tune' natural horn playing!)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 29, 2008, 10:16:15 PM
I find it very doubtful he knew very much Janáček, FWIW. In his book 'National Music' he doesn't mention the name once; when he talks about Czech music only the names of Dvorak and Smetana are found. OTOH, about a decade after the composition of VW's 6th we find Tippett writing of Jenufa with the joy and wonder of a great discovery - to paraphrase, 'I'd heard of this composer, but I didn't expect anything like this!'. If that was the case for Tippett, a younger composer as aware of 'The Repertoire' as any other British composer, I'm sure it was for VW too.


I wrote this and then suddenly remembered Janacek's single visit to Britain in 1926, at the behest of Rosa Newmarch. I remembered that Henry Wood had played a role in the welcoming committee, but then I had a flash of recollection that RVW did too, though how much he knew of Janacek's music at this time when hardly anyone knew much of it is unknown to me. This interesting article from Musicweb (http://www.musicweb-international.com/Chisholm/Janacek/chapter1.htm) implies that despite being on the committee, as a composer with his interest in 'national music' ought to be, he can't have known much, as I suspect, for the reasons outlined before.

Quote
Janáček visited London only once in his life-during April-May 1926 at the time of the General Strike-at the invitation of an influential group of English musicians headed by Rosa Newmarch who, at that time, was the leading propagandist of Czech music in Britain. Others on the committee were Sir Henry Wood, Adrian Boult, Sir Hugh Allen and Vaughan Williams. Janáček’s music was then little known in England although his operas (particularly Jenůfa) were becoming increasingly popular elsewhere. In the same year as Janáček visited London, Jenůfa was played in about seventy different opera houses: the first English production, however, did not occur till thirty years later.

(that's the production that Tippett found so revelatory.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 29, 2008, 10:34:00 PM
Re the 6th - its structure, its 'point' to use your word, was devastatingly clear to me from the first time I heard it as a youngster

Same here. For the rest - excellent post. I am reading 'The Vision of Albion' at the moment - it shows extraordinary insight into what makes RVW tick. I would recommend it only to those already 'touched' by his music, though (and who possess some grounding in the mechanics of music). Elucidation can only become revelatory if you are already 'inside', so to speak.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on August 29, 2008, 10:56:05 PM
(empty that is apart from the occasional Dutch airforce jet fighter

We were similarly exposed to them in our "polder": in those days they were Starfighters, and occasionally a Northrop 5

William Golding; interesting. I will look out for that.  In fact I had to study Golding's novels in my first year at university. I enjoyed Lord of the Flies but found works like Pincher Martin rather heavy going.  My feelings may be different now.

I enjoyed all of his novels, especially Free Fall, Rites of Passage and his unfinished The Double Tongue. I mentioned his name because I guess there might be some similarities between his interests and yours, but that's just my intuition.

Poortvliet at Tholen: never been there, but I imagine the landscape to be rather similar to where I grew up. An ideal setting for Vaughan Williams, imo.  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 29, 2008, 11:33:38 PM
We were similarly exposed to them in our "polder": in those days they were Starfighters, and occasionally a Northrop 5

I enjoyed all of his novels, especially Free Fall, Rites of Passage and his unfinished The Double Tongue. I mentioned his name because I guess there might be some similarities between his interests and yours, but that's just my intuition.

Poortvliet at Tholen: never been there, but I imagine the landscape to be rather similar to where I grew up. An ideal setting for Vaughan Williams, imo.  ;)



Actually I was knocked off my bicycle by a Dutch airforce jet. Not literally, of course, otherwise I would not be here, but it flew so low above me, as I was cyclying along, minding my own business, huming Vaughan Williams's 9th Symphony to myself, that I had a big fright and turned my bike into a ditch  ::)

Other than that, you are right, the landscape went very well with Symphony No 9.  Happy memories (apart from the Starfighter, or whatever it was !).

I usually associate VW with landscape. Nos 1,2 and 7 are obvious but No 6 always is associated in mind with the bleaker elements of the English countryside, probably because of the photo of the Lake District (Blea Tarn in Cumbria) on the sleeve of my old Decca Eclipse LP.  such is the power of association. Interestingly, the same area features on the cover painting of Kees Bakels's Naxos recording of Symphony 6.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 03:58:10 AM
I think parts of the first movement are his answer to Gershwin's "American in Paris"  $:)

I find this a most surprising link! I'd be interested to hear your reasons for making it. I suppose, if I look totally objectively at the piece, I could with difficulty twist some of its features - major-minor harmonies, syncopated marching/walking figures - so as to force a connection with the Gershwin, but it's an enormous stretch. To me, this whole movement is cries of pain, destruction, brutishness (unusually, the fairly complex syncopations and rhythmic dislocations cause the music to become deliberately lumpen and degraded), lyricism momentarily resurgent....

I like the somewhat improvisatory, strolling nature of that music though, with lots of small surprises and unexpected turns here and there. The interesting thing is that in other sections, the same disjointedness of musical thought is there, too, with long, rambling declamations which appear to me to be more the attempt at an than an actually widely arched statement. But again, these are just first impressions. I have a feeling this performance isn't as coherent as it could (and should) be. A lot of phrase turns aren't really shaped, they just happen, and there are no special inflections in most of these places. So I have the feeling that the conductor doesn't have an overall concept, he seems to shape the music a little bit as it goes along, but many of these phrase turns appear to surprise him, too, as some passages sound rather awkward.

Deryck Cooke chose this symphony as the subject of one of the two extended studies that form the last part of his classic 'The Language of Music' (the other was Mozart #40). He saw it as a work of extreme urgency and great communicative power, and as one which used that 'language of music' in such a way as to ensure compelling sweep and unity from start to finish. That's certainly how I've always experienced the work - as one of the most compelling and stripped-down of all 20th century symphonies. Just FWIW.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 30, 2008, 04:09:33 AM
I find this a most surprising link!

This suddenly brings back my memory of listening to VW's London symphony for the first time - the 'jaunty' (Mellers) second subject of the first movement also reminded me of Gershwin (I didn't know Elgar's Cockaigne, then, or Walton's Portsmouth Point, which inhabit some of the same world).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 04:14:27 AM
Now, that connection I can understand a little more. 'A Gloucestershirian in London', perhaps. With horse 'jingles' replacing car-horns.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 30, 2008, 05:56:24 AM
I think parts of the first movement are his answer to Gershwin's "American in Paris"  $:) I like the somewhat improvisatory, strolling nature of that music though, with lots of small surprises and unexpected turns here and there. The interesting thing is that in other sections, the same disjointedness of musical thought is there, too, with long, rambling declamations which appear to me to be more the attempt at an than an actually widely arched statement. But again, these are just first impressions. I have a feeling this performance isn't as coherent as it could (and should) be. A lot of phrase turns aren't really shaped, they just happen, and there are no special inflections in most of these places. So I have the feeling that the conductor doesn't have an overall concept, he seems to shape the music a little bit as it goes along, but many of these phrase turns appear to surprise him, too, as some passages sound rather awkward.

    I don't think Gershwin is right. The London Symphony premiered in 1914, An American in Paris in 1928. The rest of your impressions sound spot on, but note that I have the same reactions after decades of listening to these works. Vaughan Williams is a composer whose difficulties don't disappear with time, they're just there. You either accept what he does or you don't, and some people never do. This is a problem I don't have with Sibelius, Hindemith, Shostakovitch, or Copland (and certainly not with Mahler or Strauss, who by comparison compose like schoolboys eager to please their instructor). I do have it with Roy Harris, who goes off on inexplicable tangents in his music that leave me baffled, not unlike Vaughan Williams.

         
Quote
(apart from the Starfighter, or whatever it was !).

      (http://www.flightsimx.co.uk/images/AlphaSimreleasesF104Starfighter_7388/F104_2.jpg)

    I read a book some years ago that analyzed RVWs music in some detail. It mostly flew right over my head, though I might understand it a little better today. I wish I could remember what it was.

     Edit: Could it have been the Kennedy book?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 30, 2008, 08:24:04 AM
This suddenly brings back my memory of listening to VW's London symphony for the first time - the 'jaunty' (Mellers) second subject of the first movement also reminded me of Gershwin (I didn't know Elgar's Cockaigne, then, or Walton's Portsmouth Point, which inhabit some of the same world).

But it's just got to be some kind of English or Scottish folk song. Is this the theme with the syncopation in the first bar? (sol-la---do-re---mi----sol) The 5th-8th bars of it sound like "Loch Lomond". A lot of themes in this movement sound like folk songs.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 08:47:59 AM
But it's just got to be some kind of English or Scottish folk song. Is this the theme with the syncopation in the first bar? (sol-la---do-re---mi----sol) The 5th-8th bars of it sound like "Loch Lomond". A lot of themes in this movement sound like folk songs.

IIRC the only genuine folk songs quoted in VW symphonies are to be found buried somewhere in the scherzo of the Sea Symphony. In general he doesn't use folk songs as source material in works that aren't arrangements.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 30, 2008, 08:51:07 AM
IIRC the only genuine folk songs quoted in VW symphonies are to be found buried somewhere in the scherzo of the Sea Symphony. In general he doesn't use folk songs as source material in works that aren't arrangements.


But he knew them well enough that he could come up with his own tunes in the same style.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 08:54:37 AM
Oh absolutely! And he turns the 'folk music style' into a style with its own moral tone, so that when we hear the (original) 'folk tune' in the first movement of the 6th it affects us as more than 'a good tune' but as a positive or natural force.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 30, 2008, 08:54:49 AM
But it's just got to be some kind of English or Scottish folk song. Is this the theme with the syncopation in the first bar? (sol-la---do-re---mi----sol) The 5th-8th bars of it sound like "Loch Lomond". A lot of themes in this movement sound like folk songs.

I was not so much thinking of that theme (with its 'Scotch snap' and whose 5th-8th bars do indeed sound like "Loch Lomond" speeded up!), but that car-honking motif with the percussion (bass drum + cymbals).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 12:09:49 PM
I don't think Gershwin is right. The London Symphony premiered in 1914, An American in Paris in 1928.

I wasn't talking about the London Symphony (which I only heard once a long time ago, incidentally, in London, and which I might listen to next - I like London, have been there many times and actually lived there for a few months at on point).

(and certainly not with Mahler or Strauss, who by comparison compose like schoolboys eager to please their instructor)

That's a surprisingly silly comparison. I usually avoid these comparisons anyway since I don't see much point in it, although it is sometimes interesting to compare how different composers work with similar material or ideas. If you have to make that comparison, what you said really doesn't make sense since in their time, both Mahler and Strauss (pre-WWI) were much more innovative than VW appears to me to have been (I don't know enough of the music yet to have a more pronounced opinion about that, obviously), and, this is easily overlooked because they are so immensely popular composers today, also much more controversial and much less compromising. In fact, when I listen to this piece (VW's 6th) what kind of puts me off is a sense of complacency that the music has for me, not self-confidence with itself after having gone through a long process of refinement and self-criticism, but simply lack of critical review. It sounds to me as if he simply put everything in that he came up with and didn't even bother much to look into how some of the material (like the tatata in the second movement) could have been developed or employed more effectively.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 12:22:06 PM
I find it very doubtful he knew very much Janáček, FWIW.

I think it's very obvious that he knew the Sinfonietta, if you listen carefully to the first movement (e.g. about 1'30 into it, but also in other places). It's also obvious that he knew Bartók well (see the epilogue of the 6th symphony). And that's basically OK, all composers work from what has been before them, process it and make the material their own and (hopefully) original musical language. In this piece though I simply had the déjà-vu (or rather déjà-ecouté) way too much for comfort. Rather like with the other well known Williams.
I think I will listen to the London Symphony next. There is a download of that symphony with Boult on amazon, and since Boult is said to embody the authentic style of performance, I can also look for that elusive "idiom" there, I guess.

I would be interested to have some more feedback about that Previn recording of the 6th that I listened to. My feeling is that whatever its coherence (or lack thereof) is, my feeling is that material can be presented in a more compelling and coherent way than Previn did.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 12:38:21 PM
I wasn't talking about the London Symphony (which I only heard once a long time ago, incidentally, in London, and which I might listen to next - I like London, have been there many times and actually lived there for a few months at on point).

No, I didn't think you were talking about the London Symphony! It confused me a little when Ernie brought that up.... To clarify, my own comments on your Gershwin comparison therefore still stand, FWIW.

That's a surprisingly silly comparison. I usually avoid these comparisons anyway since I don't see much point in it, although it is sometimes interesting to compare how different composers work with similar material or ideas. If you have to make that comparison, what you said really doesn't make sense since in their time, both Mahler and Strauss (pre-WWI) were much more innovative than VW appears to me to have been (I don't know enough of the music yet to have a more pronounced opinion about that, obviously), and, this is easily overlooked because they are so immensely popular composers today, also much more controversial and much less compromising.

Like the 'atonal v tonal' debate, I think the 'innovative v non-innovative' debate is somewhat misleading. I'd say that VW is, in his own terms and in his own context, every bit as innovative and uncompromising as Mahler and Strauss. Certainly there was no-one like him before; it's a quiet revolution that he initiated but a real one. His innovations show themselves in less obvious ways than those which go into the grand Hegelian narrative of classical music - no enormous contributions to the art of orchestration, no increase in density or complexity of rhythm or harmony. They are subtle, but they are very powerful.

In fact, when I listen to this piece (VW's 6th) what kind of puts me off is a sense of complacency that the music has for me, not self-confidence with itself after having gone through a long process of refinement and self-criticism, but simply lack of critical review. It sounds to me as if he simply put everything in that he came up with and didn't even bother much to look into how some of the material (like the tatata in the second movement) could have been developed or employed more effectively.

I've got the highest respect for your listening skills which far surpass mine in most ways - but I can't see how that rapped-out rhythm could be used more effectively than it is. It doesn't need to be developed or extended, beyond the increase in dynamic intensity that we find - its insistence and threatening banality seem to me to be the whole point, and VW has found a wonderful musical image here.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 12:48:16 PM
I think it's very obvious that he knew the Sinfonietta, if you listen carefully to the first movement (e.g. about 1'30 into it, but also in other places). It's also obvious that he knew Bartók well (see the epilogue of the 6th symphony). And that's basically OK, all composers work from what has been before them, process it and make the material their own and (hopefully) original musical language. In this piece though I simply had the déjà-vu (or rather déjà-ecouté) way too much for comfort. Rather like with the other well known Williams.

It is very possible that he heard the Sinfonietta (though not much else), but I can't for the life of me hear a trace of it in the 6th, nor anywhere else in VW. (In fact, there are very few composers in which I can hear the influence of Janacek). At about 1'30 into my recording is a passage which reminds me of Holst, specifically The Planets - and there is a piece which VW certainly did know inside and out (including writing analyses of it). But this only sprang into my mind because I was intently listening to see if I could trace-the-influence at this point. Just listening to the music on its own merits, not trying to spot the source, all I've ever heard is pure VW!

That's not to say that VW didn't draw from elsewhere - Elgar and Parry, the English Renaissance school, Holst, Ravel at times - but that by his maturity he had developed one of the most personal, individual voices in music, one which other, later composers took a great deal from.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 30, 2008, 01:01:15 PM
When RVW's Fourth Symphony was played in Amsterdam in the 1980s, the reviewer of a local newspaper was amazed that a theme from the first movement seemed to presage Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra by a decade...

It's tempting to try to 'place' an unknown (to you) composer by comparing him to other, sometimes more internationally famous, ones. But, as Luke says, Vaughan Williams is utterly individual, once you know him. Of course he has been influenced (what artist hasn't?), but his processes and procedures are his own, and the 'virgin' listener must try to judge those on their own merits.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 01:06:28 PM
His innovations show themselves in less obvious ways than those which go into the grand Hegelian narrative of classical music - no enormous contributions to the art of orchestration, no increase in density or complexity of rhythm or harmony. They are subtle, but they are very powerful.

Please explain further.

I've got the highest respect for your listening skills which far surpass mine in most ways - but I can't see how that rapped-out rhythm could be used more effectively than it is. It doesn't need to be developed or extended, beyond the increase in dynamic intensity that we find - its insistence and threatening banality seem to me to be the whole point, and VW has found a wonderful musical image here.

I will get back to that later after I have listened to it some more. Right now, I am listening to Boult's recording of the Tallis Fantasia (which came with the London Symphony).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 01:13:27 PM
It's tempting to try to 'place' an unknown (to you) composer by comparing him to other, sometimes more internationally famous, ones. But, as Luke says, Vaughan Williams is utterly individual, once you know him. Of course he has been influenced (what artist hasn't?), but his processes and procedures are his own, and the 'virgin' listener must try to judge those on their own merits.

Please read my posts before replying to them! The dscussion makes more sense that way.

That's a surprisingly silly comparison. I usually avoid these comparisons anyway since I don't see much point in it, although it is sometimes interesting to compare how different composers work with similar material or ideas.

Although in this particular case, it is very hard to avoid that because a lot of the material is more than just "influenced".

It is very possible that he heard the Sinfonietta (though not much else), but I can't for the life of me hear a trace of it in the 6th, nor anywhere else in VW. (In fact, there are very few composers in which I can hear the influence of Janacek). At about 1'30 into my recording is a passage which reminds me of Holst

My timing was wrong. Listen to the violin ostinati a little earlier, beginning at around 1'00.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 01:43:23 PM
Although in this particular case, it is very hard to avoid that because a lot of the material is more than just "influenced".

Personally, as I said, I think it extremely doubtful that the VW 6 is influenced at all in the ways you say - VW was a mature composer with a well-established language of his own by this point, a language in which he thought fluently. In any case, no other commentators who've spent a lifetime with this music seem to have noticed the influences of other composers that you found so obvious on just one listen (I've just read through a few analyses of the piece to make sure; one mentions the obvious 'grotesque stylizations of pop music' later in the music, but I don't think that's the same as saying it is influenced by American in Paris!). However, maybe VW was so influenced, it is possible. Now, though, based on that one listen, you're all of a sudden implying that VW has lifted material (with the dark phrase 'more than just "influenced" '). Why the sudden up-grade of the charge sheet? Having listened to this piece only once (or even having listened to it many times) I don't think making such definitive statements is anything more than provocative.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 30, 2008, 01:45:34 PM
Please read my posts before replying to them!

I never react to what I haven't read.

The idea that Vaughan Williams 'liked' Nielsen (unknown outside Denmark at the time) is the very understandable reaction of someone trying to place a new phenomenon. You know your Nielsen and you hear a similarity. Well, sometimes it's just a case of an affinity. Nothing more. This dangerous jumping to conclusions is what I criticized, perhaps less clearly, when I wrote "It's tempting to try to 'place' an unknown (to you) composer by comparing him to other, sometimes more internationally famous, ones". That's all.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 01:51:14 PM
That Janacek influence you sense at 1'00 - I assume you mean it is similar to the violin figure which comes at the start of the Sinfonietta's 5th movement. The figure itself, though, as used by VW, clearly derives from the movement's opening cascade of notes, curtailed and turned into a nagging, negative ostinato such as this work is filled with. Nothing more sinister than that, though. It's such a simple figure, too - a three-note descending pattern, repeating. You find it in the same form in Mozart's G major Quartet K 387 too, for example (same notation as in Janacek - VW's notation is different from either IIRC). And, no, I don't think Janacek lifted it from Mozart either.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 30, 2008, 02:14:59 PM


    The point of comparing RVW to Mahler and Strauss was about how easy it was to understand how things fit together. Because these composers are architectural in a quite familiar way I never feel lost listening to them. It doesn't mean they are lesser composers. You could put this negatively and say that RVW didn't learn his lessons, but that would lose an essential point, that his divergence was highly successful with a discerning audience, though it's taken time for him to assume the high place he holds today.

     I probably shouldn't have made it sound like I was demeaning those composers, because I admire them greatly. But I think my point is correct. If you understand their music it's because it has a very familiar form. RVW sounds completely different in this respect.

     
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 02:20:57 PM
Ernie's correct about this, I think. VW's music is completely different in this respect. Formally speaking, his symphonism is not like Mahler's. But that is because he thoroughly understood what he was doing, and knew that the roots of his style implied formal structures unlike Germanic models. Which is really what all the below is about, too:

Please explain further.

First, remember that I don't claim that VW made enormous advances for the general state of future music.  I'm not going to make extravagant claims that he invented x or was the first to do y, where x and y are major features of music after him - but then, not many composers did. VW's discoveries are small-scale, but profound, and influenced the generation of British composers who followed him - in fact, they made this music possible. The following is an attempt to explain something of what I mean, but, as you can see, it's wordy. The trouble with these subtle innovations is that they don't fit into easy definitions! I quickly stop saying what VW's contribution was, and then go on to expound upon the hows and whys. But then I expect you appreciate more rather than less.

IMO perhaps the most important thing VW did was to understand the aesthetic or metaphysical implications of modality, and therefore how it could be integrated into (for instance) symphonic structures. In the finest VW modality isn't decorative, or a surface harmonic feature - it becomes structural in the deepest sense. It and its implications are thoroughly understood. The book by Mellers which I mentioned has a great deal to say on this issue, which helped me to realise quite how profoundly 'right' VW's treatment of modality, diatonicism and chromaticism is - but I have no idea how conscious VW was of the sort of things Mellers postulates. Possibly a great deal; possible not at all.

Mellers links the modality of the English Renaissance (c.f. the Tallis portions of the Tallis Fantasia) and of English folk music (c.f the solo viola tune that unfolds in the centre of the Tallis Fantasia) to the world of those pre-Enlightenment, pre-Enclosure times: the lack of sharpened leading notes etc leads to a floating music, a music in which the functional, time-directed progress from Chord A to Chord B of diatonicism is on the contrary left unemphasized. Modality, being thus relatively non-directional, is not ideally suited to the teleology of the traditional symphony. Which is why, I suppose, modality in most pre-VW symphonies is decorative rather than operational at a deeper level.

Mellers views VW as a 'double man', one caught between various postions - urban+rural, Christian+agnostic etc. - and this duality is clear in the way 'timeless' modality confronts 'teleological' diatonicism, most obviously in the sweet-painful clash of the false relation. As you know, traditional harmony explains this as a clash between two forms of a note - say, C and C# - when two lines following the rules of voice-leading but moving in contrary directions happen to contradict each other. Mellers, though, takes this a step further - the pain of the false relation derives from this metaphysical clash of types: the ancient and freely-floating (rural...) and the modern and directed (urban...)

Well, you might think that's all a load of crap, and you may be right, though I think it (as Mellers writes about it, anyway) is one of the most penetrating bits of music writing I've read. And of course, as I said, VW may have thought no such thing anyway - if you don't agree, try not to tar him with the brush you want to apply to Mellers! But the point is that VW's music does operate with this kind of thing, this duality between modality and diatonicism, with all that entails, in the background. His 5th symphony - the echt-VW symphony, IMO - is a beautiful example. We had a great discussion of it starting here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,6037.msg144416.html#msg144416) on an old VW thread - read on a page or two to read more about Mellers' theory. I managed to describe it a bit more lucidly back then! In any case, what I said about the 5th symphony then was the following - I didn't play up the modality issue back then particularly because I wasn't having this discussion with you!:

Quote
this is precisely where the Fifth scores so heavily - paradise isn't reached until the end; and the gorgeousness of earlier moments is never fully stable until then. The first movement has this undertow of conflict - seen right at the opening between pure D major (the horns) and the modal implications of the underlying C; the whole movement is nagged at by this modal and chromatic ambiguity, like a Blakean worm in the rose - the development section is haunted by those baleful semitonal incantations which expand into a battering figure. The movement ends with the same C/D ambiguity it started with. Classic stuff, the sonata principle used as a vehicle for a clash of tonalities but also tonal types, the whole thing suggesting VWs perpetual concern with 'paradise' and 'fallen man'. The scherzo has similar concerns, I think, almost like a kind of perverted version of the first movement, whirring along at breakneck pace with increasing metrical complexity and conflict, eventually reaching those vicious, cruel brass outbursts. It is in the ritualistic third movement that things finally take a positive turn, but this movement needs to go through a tense fire at its heart before it can reach the balm of the coda. Full-on diatonic tonality is only reached in the last movement - paradise attained! - reaching real radiance in the polyphony of the coda.

Well, now, this deep connection between the behaviour of notes and of voice-leading and the aesthetics underpinning the music is truly rare, I think. A composer who is able to understand the full implications, structural and aesthetic, of the harmony and modality he uses, whether consciously or subconsciously, has discovered something of value, and I think this is perhaps VW's main 'discovery', if you like. Certainly, as I said, it's impossible to imagine so much later British music without this discovery. Along with a host of smaller figures, Tippett, to speak of a major figure, is a true inheritor of this aspect of VW's writing.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 04:55:28 PM
Now, though, based on that one listen, you're all of a sudden implying that VW has lifted material (with the dark phrase 'more than just "influenced" '). Why the sudden up-grade of the charge sheet?

I said more than just influenced, not lifted. Please don't twist my words. There are some very extended passages which really sound a lot like other composers to me - like the first minute, that sounds totally like Nielsen (but not quite as densely musical, more all over the place). The last movement sounds too much like Bartók for comfort. If the writing was more to the point, it would strike me as less driectly "influenced", but on the whole, this sounds more like someone who is an avid collector of interesting musical material than a really original composer.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 05:04:47 PM
Well, you might think that's all a load of crap, and you may be right

I actually thik that's quite interesting, and something to think about. It will definitely be a while anyway before I form more of an actual own opinion than these first impressions I shared here.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 30, 2008, 05:58:50 PM


    I was cruising around the web looking for something about In the Fen Country, which I was listening to the other night. I had the idea that this early work (1904) represented some kind of transition. It seems that in this work RVW sticks basically to a single mode, whereas he subsequently became "multimodal". That interests me, because like everyone who studies this composer, I wonder why he sounds different. It may be because there are rules for changing keys, but no set rules for the kinds of modal changes that RVW uses. Every trip is a new one compared to the long history of tonal development. This would account for the unfinished or poorly developed impression that his music leaves, sometimes even for those who love the music. He doesn't have the history of Western music backing him up to anything like the extent of....you know. ;) My other favorite composers.  :D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 30, 2008, 10:05:02 PM
The BBC televised the Proms Concert anniversary tribute last night. I just caught Symphony 9. It may be available on their podplayer (or whatever it's called for a week)

As for Symphony No 6, Michael Kennedy speculates that it might be a tribute to Holst. Certainly, there are echoes of Holst's Egdon Heath and Saturn and Neptune from The Planets. I've always wondered if VW heard Honegger's Liturgique Symphony, which is a stormy contemporaneous work which also ends with a hushed epilogue (although the VW is much bleaker, without a redemptive bird song at the end), Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem and the Moeran Symphony have also been cited as possible influences. In VW's own works, there are echoes of No 6 in the earlier String Quartet No 2, Job, the Piano Concerto and some of the Film Music (ie "Dead Man's Kit" from Story of a Flemish Farm.) None of this is to take away the striking originality of Symphony 6.

An interesting book on VW is "Vaughan Williams in Perspective" (ed. Lewis Foreman) and there is a good chapter called "Vaughan Williams as a writer on Music" in a book called "Romanticism and Melody" by George Colerick, a book which I'd strongly recommend (it's in paperback). The Collected Letters of VW have just been published, but it's an (£90) expensive hardback. I got it with a big reduction through the VW Society, so, if anyone wants me to look anything up in it I will be happy to do so.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 30, 2008, 10:12:01 PM
The BBC televised the Proms Concert anniversary tribute last night. I just caught Symphony 9. It may be available on their podplayer (or whatever it's called for a week)

But only for UK residents.  :'(
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 30, 2008, 10:22:13 PM
But only for UK residents.  :'(

Yes, sorry about that Johan, but I did a DVD copy of Symphony No 9. If you want a copy let me know.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 10:45:11 PM
I said more than just influenced, not lifted. Please don't twist my words.

I wasn't trying to twist your words, I merely felt this strong inference in them. If you don't want your views misrepresented, then it's best not to leave such darkly suggestive phrases as 'a lot of the material is more than just "influenced" ' hanging around!  ;D I still think that the most obvious reading of this phrase implies that the unconsciousness of influence has been superceded by the consciousness of copying. Which = lifting.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 30, 2008, 10:52:50 PM
I actually thik that's quite interesting, and something to think about. It will definitely be a while anyway before I form more of an actual own opinion than these first impressions I shared here.

Glad you think so, and also glad you are keeping an open mind on VW. Not, as you may think, because I'm a particularly avid fan of his - actually, I love a lot of his music and think that he attained a fascinating and unique style, but he's not a main area of interest for me and I know nothing about him compared to others on this thread. No, I'm simply pleased that you're keeping an open mind because he is worth discovering, he does offer real rewards and insights to the listener. if possible, I would suggest that you take it on trust from those here who know their VW that he's worth it, and that he's an original, and try not to hear him 'in terms of' other composers* - an understandable habit, which we probably all share when listening to a new-to-us composer, but not really a helpful one.

*as I said before, no one will deny that other composers influenced VW in small ways, just as even the greatest composer bears traces of others, but that's not really important in the appreciation of his music. If, listening to La Mer for the first time, I'd got stuck on the fact that it reminded me of Franck in some ways, and had allowed that to inform my image of the composer, it would have somewhat inhibited my appreciation of his originality.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 11:06:24 PM
Glad you think so, and also glad you are keeping an open mind on VW. Not, as you may think, because I'm a particularly avid fan of his - actually, I love a lot of his music and think that he attained a fascinating and unique style, but he's not a main area of interest for me and I know nothing about him compared to others on this thread. No, I'm simply pleased that you're keeping an open mind because he is worth discovering, he does offer real rewards and insights to the listener. if possible, I would suggest that you take it on trust from those here who know their VW that he's worth it, and that he's an original, and try not to hear him 'in terms of' other composers - an understandable habit, which we probably all share when listening to a new-to-use composer, but not really a helpful one.

Not everything stylistically copied or imitated is directly "lifted". It's not that simple. It's not either "unconsciously" influenced (which I find very strange, since one can be very consciously influenced and still process the influences to arrive at original forms of expression) or, as the only alternative, consciously "lifted". There are many stages in between.
And conscious copying or quoting can also be original in a way if the context is.


Glad you think so, and also glad you are keeping an open mind on VW. Not, as you may think, because I'm a particularly avid fan of his - actually, I love a lot of his music and think that he attained a fascinating and unique style, but he's not a main area of interest for me and I know nothing about him compared to others on this thread. No, I'm simply pleased that you're keeping an open mind because he is worth discovering, he does offer real rewards and insights to the listener. if possible, I would suggest that you take it on trust from those here who know their VW that he's worth it, and that he's an original, and try not to hear him 'in terms of' other composers - an understandable habit, which we probably all share when listening to a new-to-use composer, but not really a helpful one.

I don't have that habit. At all. I am actually looking for and hoping for new and unheard styles of music when I discover new repertoire. Often, when I hear music that I don't connect with but that I notice has interesting elements that might take time or another mindset or mood to appreciate, I set the music aside and return to it at some other point. That usually works well.
But so far, I have to say that with the exception of the fairly original and well crafted Tallis Fantasia, what I have heard does not make me very interested and curious at all. I listened to the London Symphony and the 9th in the meantime, and it's basically the same disjointed, rambling, all-over-the-place throwing in of musical ideas and materials that I have heard in other works. I find the ending of the 9th symphony laughable, like a bad joke, a Schickele-type parody - but my feeling is that it is supposed to be somehow "grand". He does come up with some interesting ideas and sounds, but I don't see the scope of symphonic music in that at all. But there is a lot of grand gesturing going on.
I prefer composers who actually have some degree of self-criticism and who don't think that everything they come up with has to go on the page. Composers who develop and refine and concentrate their material. Have you ever heard the first version of Sibelius' 5th? It has most of the great musical ideas that the revised version has, plus a lot of hollow musical filler material. Then Sibelius withdrew the symphony and boiled it down to the concise but truly epic masterwork it now is. I don't have that sense of compelling musical argument when I listen to VW's music at all. There are lots of nice sounds, and some interesting phrase turns here and there, and a lot of random stuff in between.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 30, 2008, 11:29:06 PM
 I think that you are either tuned in to the Vaughan Williams idiom (whatever that is) or you are not. If you are, you can look forward to a life time of musical discovery; if not, you will, no doubt, find the same thing elsewhere. I think that it's as simple as that, but I always try to keep an open mind to composers whose music has hitherto eluded me.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 30, 2008, 11:41:49 PM
I think that you are either tuned in to the Vaughan Williams idiom (whatever that is)

Yes, whatever that is. What had made me interested was when I asked the question, what is that actually, and I was surprised by how little real feedback that question triggered. I think there isn't much of a special "idiom" there, just a lot of collected musical material. There are many composers with wildly varying styles whose music immediately makes a striking impression, one way or another. This music leaves me with the feeling that in order to get 5 minutes worth of really good material, I have to sit through 45 minutes of musical blabla. I rarely ever have that feeling with other music, even music that doesn't appeal to me or that I don't "get".

The funny thing is, I normally don't get into comparing music and composers as much as most people do (see the many replies here who inferred comparisons I would never have thought of, and, of course, all the endless threads and polls here, like "Wagner or Wiener Schnitzel"?). I think I get a lot of the historical connections and vectors of influences which connect all musical styles, but when I listen to this music, I have the feeling a lot that I have heard something similar before, but more to the point and more distinct than what I am hearing right now.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 31, 2008, 03:53:05 AM
It helps to remind one that M forever admires Mahler, a composer where you usually get zero minutes worth of really good material and you have to sit through 80 minutes of blabla - made worse by that it's 80 minutes of navel-gazing blabla.  ;D

That may be why RVW called Mahler "a tolerable imitation of a composer" whose notes always sounded "painfully right". Or, that Mahler keeps milking for emotional climaxes (by which I mean facile orchestral bonanzas) every two to three seconds, instead of reserving them for the places they can have maximum impact, like RVW usually does.  :)

See, I'm not into comparing composers either. Certainly not with M forver, who should keep busy doing Aufstrich und Abstrich.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 04:06:31 AM
Well, I don't see a need to denigrate Mahler in order to praise VW, but I do think that M's use of the term 'blabla' is both unnecessary and incorrect! I've rarely heard full-length symphonies as tightly-knit as VW 4-6, and there's certainly no hint of diffuseness in any of them. Every note counts, every phrase means something and also leads you somewhere else equally vital - and that's why, listening to them, I always feel that these symphonies are a lot shorter than they actually are. That's something VW does share with Nielsen and Sibelius, I think.

Yes, whatever that is. What had made me interested was when I asked the question, what is that actually, and I was surprised by how little real feedback that question triggered.

I have a feeling you might have been hoist by your own petard here, though. I for one wasn't sure how seriously to take your request for information on the VW idiom*, and in any case, I thought you meant performance idiom (which I couldn't possibly talk about interestingly) not the idiom of the notes themselves, which is what you're talking about here.   

The Vaughan Williams idiom, though, seems to me one of the most remarkably unified and self-sufficient in 20th century music. He doesn't quite achieve the degree of individuality that (say) Janacek did, perhaps, but he's darned close to it. A few traits, in the order they occur to me:

His harmony is distinctively his - predominantly triadic, not chromatic, but with the triads themselves frequently related by false-relation (who did this before him? where did he get it from? rhetorical questions both, because it seems clear that this sound, which influenced so many later composers, was Vaughan Williams' own). These false-relations have a force all of their own, too, as I indicated yesterday.

He uses different modes with great consistency - the Phrygian for this sort of music, the Mixolydian for that, and so on. And he uses diatonicism, pentatonicism and chromaticism with the same 'rightness'. There is as much logic in his use of the various modes as there is in (say) Bruckner's use of major and minor (I'm not comparing in any other respect, and Bruckner's name is pulled at random), and so the modes and their relationships take on a force equivalent to that between major and minor in earlier music. Hear that Phrygian pull at the beginning of the 9th, and its continuation into the parallel chord motive of the saxophones? That dark, ominous use of the Phrygian semitone is treated with great logicality, going to to inflect/infect the harmony throughout the movement, leading to constant major-minor ambiguities that likewise inflect/infect the music even when it moves into aeolian, major and lydian modes. This is wonderful symphonic thinking, a perfect reconciliation of two things - modality and development - that really oughtn't go together!

In a related area, he has a great sensitivity to the expressive power and implication of interval - perfect fourths and fifths to conjure purity, nature, Godliness; tritones etc for negativity, destruction, hellishness. He's hardly alone in this, of course, but what is striking is that he is remarkably consistent and coherent in his writing in this respect, so that his music carries an extraordinarily strong moral punch, if I can put it that way. (To my mind, only Nielsen really comes close to achieving the same kind of moral force, and he does so in similar ways but with less shocking consistency). So, if you look at the opening of the London Symphony you will find that 95% of all intervals, chordal or melodic, are perfect fourth, perfect fifth and major second (which is the difference between the two). These (rather than the major triad) set the moral tone of the symphony's 'bedrock' so that all chromatic inflections that happen after a minute or two are heard as slight moral disturbances, and the entrance of the Allegro - essentially chromatically descending minor triads with bitonal implications - is really a cataclysm. Compare this use of the 'pure' intervals to the demonic Scherzo of the 6th, where for large stretches of the music you will find scarcely anything that isn't tritone or minor second - quite audibly, the movement is monomaniacally fixated on this interval, and it infects the moral tone thoroughly. This kind of intervallic consistency, whatever it 'means', is undoubtedly a VW fingerprint.

In VW texture means something - polyphony, homophony, monody all play a role in the musical argument, not just in themselves but (again) because of their implications. Homophony - which emphasizes time, the movement from place to place - is often 'human' in implication, perhaps hymnic (Tallis Fantasia), perhaps spiritual (Mass for unaccompanied chorus - 'et homo factus est') etc. etc. etc.

VW's orchestration isn't dazzling in a Straussian or Mahlerian way. But again he has an instinctive feeling for the moral tone of an instrument, which means we may get one-offs - like the flugelhorn and the trio of saxes in in the 9th - or instrumental images that are consistent throughout his music. That solo violin of The Lark Ascending actually appears in countless places, and it always seems to carry something of the same tone, of purity and goodness. In the 9th it is the solo violin's pained oscillations between major and minor that usher in some sort of resolution; in the Tallis Fantasia or the Serenade to Music (pure VW both, start to finish) it is the solo violin which puts a seal on things, Lark-like.

And so on and on - these are just some of the things which make up the VW idiom....

* wasn't sure because there was obviously antagonism between you and the one you originally asked about the issue and because, simply going by your posting history, I'm afraid there's always the suspicion that you're simply angling for an argument. And I'm still not sure quite how seriously you want the answer to that question either, because although you've covered all your bases very well ('I've listened to this and this; 'I've asked the question in all seriousness') I can't help but be aware of the way you've ratcheted up the tone of your 'I'm not impressed' language in the last few posts. Again, only going by your past history, this leaves me with the feeling that what you're really interested in doing is getting a rise out of others. I'm very sorry if this isn't the case, and I hope it isn't - but it's not my fault if it's the impression I've got, despite my attempts to take your request for information about VW at face value. (If I wasn't making that attempt, I wouldn't be taking the time to write lengthy posts like this)

I think there isn't much of a special "idiom" there, just a lot of collected musical material. There are many composers with wildly varying styles whose music immediately makes a striking impression, one way or another. This music leaves me with the feeling that in order to get 5 minutes worth of really good material, I have to sit through 45 minutes of musical blabla. I rarely ever have that feeling with other music, even music that doesn't appeal to me or that I don't "get".

The funny thing is, I normally don't get into comparing music and composers as much as most people do (see the many replies here who inferred comparisons I would never have thought of, and, of course, all the endless threads and polls here, like "Wagner or Wiener Schnitzel"?). I think I get a lot of the historical connections and vectors of influences which connect all musical styles, but when I listen to this music, I have the feeling a lot that I have heard something similar before, but more to the point and more distinct than what I am hearing right now.

Yes, and you said you'd been most impressed by the Tallis Fantasia, which you called 'fairly original', implying that even this still has debts. I'd be interested to know what they are, though, outside the English Renaissance music which self-evidently lies behind the piece. Seems to me that nothing like the Tallis Fantasia had been written before - though plenty of pieces like it were written afterwards! The Tallis Fantasia, FWIW and IMO, distills everything that is most personal to VW into one space - the parallel chords in false relation, modality, metrically-fixed homophony and winged, rhythmically-free monody, the use of solo violin which is special to VW, the link between cloister and field. Apart from the Tallis tune itself, I can't see a note in it that derives from anyone else. This piece alone is proof that VW was an extraordinary musical thinker
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 31, 2008, 04:17:09 AM
* wasn't sure because there was obviously antagonism between you and the one you originally asked about the issue and because, simply going by your posting history, I'm afraid there's always the suspicion that you're simply angling for an argument.

Bull's eye. Of course I myself would never do that.  0:)

And I wasn't denigrating Mahler, just pointing out he's pompous and hollow, the exact opposite of RVW.  ;D

Quote
(If I wasn't making that attempt, I wouldn't be taking the time to write lengthy posts like this)

And you're covering some valid bases very well. But, alas, it'll be for naught - as far as M forever is concerned. You might convince some others tough, so it's definitely worth the effort.

Right about 4-6, and when RVW realized there was a certain hint of diffuseness about the original version of the London Symphony (a great impressionistic work it is), he did the right thing - cut the rot out. Kind of great we have the Hickox recording to prove RVW was correct.

Thomas

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on August 31, 2008, 04:32:48 AM
I wasn't denigrating Mahler, just pointing out he's pompous and hollow, the exact opposite of RVW.  ;D
I trust the smiley indicates that the irony here is intentional...?  Your ridiculous claim is more likely to get a rise out of Mahler fanboys on a Mahler thread. 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 31, 2008, 04:37:07 AM
I trust the smiley indicates that the irony here is intentional...?  Your ridiculous claim is more likely to get a rise out of Mahler fanboys on a Mahler thread. 

Only trying to get a rise out of the Mahler fanboy around here.

... Oops!

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on August 31, 2008, 04:54:54 AM
Ernie's correct about this, I think. VW's music is completely different in this respect. Formally speaking, his symphonism is not like Mahler's. But that is because he thoroughly understood what he was doing, and knew that the roots of his style implied formal structures unlike Germanic models. Which is really what all the below is about, too:

First, remember that I don't claim that VW made enormous advances for the general state of future music.  I'm not going to make extravagant claims that he invented x or was the first to do y, where x and y are major features of music after him - but then, not many composers did. VW's discoveries are small-scale, but profound, and influenced the generation of British composers who followed him - in fact, they made this music possible. The following is an attempt to explain something of what I mean, but, as you can see, it's wordy. The trouble with these subtle innovations is that they don't fit into easy definitions! I quickly stop saying what VW's contribution was, and then go on to expound upon the hows and whys. But then I expect you appreciate more rather than less.

IMO perhaps the most important thing VW did was to understand the aesthetic or metaphysical implications of modality, and therefore how it could be integrated into (for instance) symphonic structures. In the finest VW modality isn't decorative, or a surface harmonic feature - it becomes structural in the deepest sense. It and its implications are thoroughly understood. The book by Mellers which I mentioned has a great deal to say on this issue, which helped me to realise quite how profoundly 'right' VW's treatment of modality, diatonicism and chromaticism is - but I have no idea how conscious VW was of the sort of things Mellers postulates. Possibly a great deal; possible not at all.

Mellers links the modality of the English Renaissance (c.f. the Tallis portions of the Tallis Fantasia) and of English folk music (c.f the solo viola tune that unfolds in the centre of the Tallis Fantasia) to the world of those pre-Enlightenment, pre-Enclosure times: the lack of sharpened leading notes etc leads to a floating music, a music in which the functional, time-directed progress from Chord A to Chord B of diatonicism is on the contrary left unemphasized. Modality, being thus relatively non-directional, is not ideally suited to the teleology of the traditional symphony. Which is why, I suppose, modality in most pre-VW symphonies is decorative rather than operational at a deeper level.

Mellers views VW as a 'double man', one caught between various postions - urban+rural, Christian+agnostic etc. - and this duality is clear in the way 'timeless' modality confronts 'teleological' diatonicism, most obviously in the sweet-painful clash of the false relation. As you know, traditional harmony explains this as a clash between two forms of a note - say, C and C# - when two lines following the rules of voice-leading but moving in contrary directions happen to contradict each other. Mellers, though, takes this a step further - the pain of the false relation derives from this metaphysical clash of types: the ancient and freely-floating (rural...) and the modern and directed (urban...)

Well, you might think that's all a load of crap, and you may be right, though I think it (as Mellers writes about it, anyway) is one of the most penetrating bits of music writing I've read. And of course, as I said, VW may have thought no such thing anyway - if you don't agree, try not to tar him with the brush you want to apply to Mellers! But the point is that VW's music does operate with this kind of thing, this duality between modality and diatonicism, with all that entails, in the background. His 5th symphony - the echt-VW symphony, IMO - is a beautiful example. We had a great discussion of it starting here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,6037.msg144416.html#msg144416) on an old VW thread - read on a page or two to read more about Mellers' theory. I managed to describe it a bit more lucidly back then! In any case, what I said about the 5th symphony then was the following - I didn't play up the modality issue back then particularly because I wasn't having this discussion with you!:

Well, now, this deep connection between the behaviour of notes and of voice-leading and the aesthetics underpinning the music is truly rare, I think. A composer who is able to understand the full implications, structural and aesthetic, of the harmony and modality he uses, whether consciously or subconsciously, has discovered something of value, and I think this is perhaps VW's main 'discovery', if you like. Certainly, as I said, it's impossible to imagine so much later British music without this discovery. Along with a host of smaller figures, Tippett, to speak of a major figure, is a true inheritor of this aspect of VW's writing.

One of the most enjoyable and rewarding posts to grace the Veranda, IMO. Thanks, Luke.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on August 31, 2008, 04:56:47 AM
Well, I don't see a need to denigrate Mahler in order to praise VW, but I do think that M's use of the term 'blabla' is both unnecessary and incorrect! I've rarely heard full-length symphonies as tightly-knit as VW 4-6, and there's certainly no hint of diffuseness in any of them. Every note counts, every phrase means something and also leads you somewhere else equally vital - and that's why, listening to them, I always feel that these symphonies are a lot shorter than they actually are. That's something VW does share with Nielsen and Sibelius, I think.

Hear, hear.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on August 31, 2008, 04:59:33 AM
Only trying to get a rise out of the Mahler fanboy around here.

... Oops!
Your sense of humor is so dry, Thomas, that it goes over the heads of many.  Wit, however, must hit its target, and in this case you've missed by a mile.  Nice try, though.  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 31, 2008, 05:16:21 AM
Admirable post, Luke. You put the case very well. Anyone expecting the Beethovenian-Brahmsian-Mahlerian logic will be disappointed, because Vaughan Williams thinks outside the Austro-German box, achieving his own brand of symphonic coherence. But to appreciate this, you must be attuned to him. If you don't like a composer, no amount of intelligent elucidation will convince you of his qualities.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 05:23:55 AM
I find the ending of the 9th symphony laughable, like a bad joke, a Schickele-type parody - but my feeling is that it is supposed to be somehow "grand".

Just to pick up on this - that would show a surprising lack of perceptiveness, I'd say, though the type of mishearing this suggests does help to show why you're not connecting with VW. It's pretty clear to me, in all sorts of ways, that the end of # 9 is anything but grand. There is a long-striven for E major chord, fff, yes - but it's arrived at in a deliberately perfunctory manner, imposed forcibly on the Phrygian lines preceding it and still undercut by the baleful Phrygian saxophones from the first movement. The chord tries again and again to assert itself, but eventually it fades away. I find it an extraordinary ending, the way these two harmonic types cut across each other along with - as I said earlier - the moral implications they both hold. True symphonism, this. It's comparable to Mahler 6, in a way - not in specifics, but in the way a modal dialectic present throughout the symphony finally becomes the shaping force for the closing cadence.

I prefer composers who actually have some degree of self-criticism and who don't think that everything they come up with has to go on the page. Composers who develop and refine and concentrate their material. Have you ever heard the first version of Sibelius' 5th? It has most of the great musical ideas that the revised version has, plus a lot of hollow musical filler material. Then Sibelius withdrew the symphony and boiled it down to the concise but truly epic masterwork it now is. I don't have that sense of compelling musical argument when I listen to VW's music at all. There are lots of nice sounds, and some interesting phrase turns here and there, and a lot of random stuff in between.

As others have hinted, this Sibelian refining process was precisely followed by VW too - and is audible in the recording of the original version of the London Symphony. To create the final form, VW ruthlessly cut out pages of beautiful music, which tends to argue against your vision of someone who simply strung lots of pretty stuff together without self-criticism.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 31, 2008, 05:38:03 AM
Just to pick up on this - that would show a surprising lack of perceptiveness, I'd say, though the type of mishearing this suggests does help to show why you're not connecting with VW. It's pretty clear to me, in all sorts of ways, that the end of # 9 is anything but grand. There is a long-striven for E major chord, fff, yes - but it's arrived at in a deliberately perfunctory manner, imposed forcibly on the Phrygian lines preceding it and still undercut by the baleful Phrygian saxophones from the first movement. The chord tries again and again to assert itself, but eventually it fades away. I find it an extraordinary ending,

I'll say. Very haunting and unsettling. A kind of "let's put on a happy face for the camera" in which all manner of doubts and uncertainties still make themselves apparent. The tension of the saxophones' f minor persisting as the orchestra swells on the E major produces major goosebumps on me.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 31, 2008, 05:43:26 AM

 the sweet-painful clash of the false relation. As you know, traditional harmony explains this as a clash between two forms of a note - say, C and C# - when two lines following the rules of voice-leading but moving in contrary directions happen to contradict each other.

a phenomenon which is particularly characteristic of English Renaissance music. RVW would have been especially keen to pick up on that.

I think Mellers has a special talent for making anything he talks about sound unbearbly pompous, but I don't let him affect my reaction to RVW.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 05:49:31 AM
a phenomenon which is particularly characteristic of English Renaissance music. RVW would have been especially keen to pick up on that.

Absolultely. This is the whole background to Mellers' point. He sees in this Renaissance polyphony the tug between the ancient, 'timeless' + medieval and the incipient, temporal tonal harmony of modern man. There is no doubt that the false relation has a very special effect, hence the adjectives usually lavished on it ('bittersweet', 'biting' etc.) - it is so much more than simply a minor second or major seventh or minor ninth, even though in strict harmonic terms that is all it is. AFAIK no one before Mellers has satisfactorily explained why its effect is so much more than its simple theoretical explanation. But once I'd read him, I realised - 'yes, that's precisely how I experience it - that the clash between eagerly, onwards-pushing sharpened leading note and downwards floating flattened one really does encapsulate a clash of something much bigger.' What VW did, in general terms, was to turn this into something bigger, more complex, more tortured, more relevant; more specifically he also applied the principle to chords as well as to individual lines.

I think Mellers has a special talent for making anything he talks about sound unbearbly pompous, but I don't let him affect my reaction to RVW.

There is that danger, and I think it's because he tends to talk in abstractions with great big Capital Letters all over the place - Godly, Heavenly, Devilish, Hellish, Edenic etc. etc. I know other people who've reacted negatively to this too. But it's never bothered me - I've always thought his fundamental theses are so penetrating and convincing that such use of language doesn't matter. And in any case, he's dealing with big concepts, and it's important that the reader understands what concrete significance they have in his argument. The 'Capitals' certainly serve to make this argument much clearer than it otherwise would be.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on August 31, 2008, 06:10:57 AM
Breathtaking series of exposés, Luke.

Never since I (too) accidentally read Mellers' book, did I see such an insightful analysis of RVW's style. You may not convince the odd Teuton here, but your argument is very helpful for RVW's admirers, who know quite well what they love and how unique his voice actually is.  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 06:16:32 AM
You're very kind. Though as I said earlier, and I meant it, I know nothing about VW compared to some here - not most of the minor pieces, not many of the details of biography. I know that most of what I've said comes from elsewhere - and everything else probably does too!  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 31, 2008, 06:18:54 AM


He uses different modes with great consistency - the Phrygian for this sort of music, the Mixolydian for that, and so on. And he uses diatonicism, pentatonicism and chromaticism with the same 'rightness'. There is as much logic in his use of the various modes as there is in (say) Bruckner's use of major and minor (I'm not comparing in any other respect, and Bruckner's name is pulled at random), and so the modes and their relationships take on a force equivalent to that between major and minor in earlier music. Hear that Phrygian pull at the beginning of the 9th, and its continuation into the parallel chord motive of the saxophones? That dark, ominous use of the Phrygian semitone is treated with great logicality, going to to inflect/infect the harmony throughout the movement, leading to constant major-minor ambiguities that likewise inflect/infect the music even when it moves into aeolian, major and lydian modes. This is wonderful symphonic thinking, a perfect reconciliation of two things - modality and development - that really oughtn't go together!


    Tremendous posts , Luke. I wish I could read them as well as you write them.

    And this "rightness", because it belongs to RVW and not to the main line of tonal development, will always be contested to an even greater extent than other composers, at least outside the avant-garde. In fact, I think this shows that it isn't just the avant-garde that raises the question of how to judge music that doesn't exist comfortably within a framework.

    I think I'd better stay away from Mellers, and see if I can find the Kennedy book and try harder this time.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 06:42:24 AM
    And this "rightness", because it belongs to RVW and not to the main line of tonal development, will always be contested to an even greater extent than other composers, at least outside the avant-garde. In fact, I think this shows that it isn't just the avant-garde that raises the question of how to judge music that doesn't exist comfortably within a framework.

I think there's a lot to this. And I'm probably not alone in thinking 'Havergal Brian' when I read it! Though of course there are many, many others...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on August 31, 2008, 06:43:42 AM
    Tremendous posts , Luke. I wish I could read them as well as you write them.
Yes, thank you so much, Luke, for taking the time to offer these thoughtful and very helpful analyses.  I will try to digest the points you make and keep them in mind the next time I listen to RVW, a composer whom I like but haven't really understood yet, even in my limited, non-expert, and far-from-musically-sophisticated way.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 31, 2008, 06:45:26 AM
I think there's a lot to this. And I'm probably not alone in thinking 'Havergal Brian' when I read it!

No, you're not...  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 06:48:18 AM
Yes, thank you so much, Luke, for taking the time to offer these thoughtful and very helpful analyses.  I will try to digest the points you make and keep them in mind the next time I listen to RVW, a composer whom I like but haven't really understood yet, even in my limited, non-expert, and far-from-musically-sophisticated way.

 :) A pleasure.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on August 31, 2008, 06:50:26 AM
No, you're not...  ;)
Of course not.  That's the case for Sibelius, Bax, RVW, and so on...in other words, virtually every artist who expresses a truly distinctive voice that expands the framework, whether with party hats and full-page ads in the Times or with somewhat less fanfare and grandiosity.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 07:30:39 AM
Enough talking for today, I just listened to VW 5 (and its erotic counterpart, Flos Campi). My word, what a piece that symphony is - surely VW's most perfect symphony, no? No more theory or metaphysics for now - it's just damned beautiful, compelling, lucid, perfectly imagined and perfectly formed. And - let's get down to brass tacks - is that not one of the most sublime slow movements ever composed!?  ;D ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 08:06:57 AM
BTW, that movement - and the rest of the symphony - prominently feature the same figure that M heard in the 6th as being derived from Janacek's Sinfonietta, but which I think is simply a common musical figure (as I pointed out, found in exactly the same form as in the Janacek in Mozart K387). It's simply a descending 2nd followed by a descending 3rd, and it's one of the most common melodic shapes in many folk musics, found over and over in many folk-music-influenced composers even up to Ligeti's Violin Concerto (and it's a shape which I'm well aware is a constantly recurring one in my own music). I'd never really concentrated on it in VW until now, but it's clearly a vital shape in his music too - it's the opening of the Tallis Fantasia, it's the violin's opening shape in the 5th, which haunts the piece throughout, become by turns demonic and tortured in the first movement's development and in the central movements, it and its variants are all through Flos Campi, it's the shape into which those saxophone chords break in the 9th (and which expand throughout the orchestra), and of course it's a dominant feature of the 6th, from the very first bar - and these, of course, are just the pieces I've been thinking about today. The point being, something that on one's first listen to a composer may seem to come from somewhere else turns out to be an integral feature, that runs through all that composer's music as if part of its DNA.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 31, 2008, 09:50:22 AM
    I think I'd better stay away from Mellors, and see if I can find the Kennedy book and try harder this time.

I read the Mellers 14 years ago right after the Kennedy, which is very hands-on and perceptive. After that, the Mellers (we're talking about the ''Vision of Albion'' thingee here?) seemed like one big waffle, very repetitive in its effort to drive home very few points by "examining" a lot of different works.

Picked up two new books on RVW in London this time,

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qoZ4sxvsL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511664ZZY9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

"Vaughan Williams on Music", naturally, is very fragmented - sometimes the comments on a certain subject consist of just a couple of lines, my favorite being his comment on the passing of Schoenberg:

"Schoenberg meant nothing to me. But as he meant a lot to a lot of other people I daresay it's all my fault."


The analyses on folk music, some British composers, Strauss and Brahms etc. are intriguing.

Haven't got around to the other one yet. Too busy devouring Bukowski crudities.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on August 31, 2008, 10:07:30 AM
I read the Mellers 14 years ago right after the Kennedy, which is very hands-on and perceptive. After that, the Mellers (we're talking about the ''Vision of Albion'' thingee here?) seemed like one big waffle, very repetitive in its effort to drive home very few points by "examining" a lot of different works.

That may well be true - I'm certainly aware of Mellers' idiosyncrasies, and they exist not just in this book but in his others too. I just think that those 'very few points' are vital and insightful, and left unsaid or insufficiently emphasized by others. VW's music is the perfect music for Mellers' approach, because the composer obviously had the same kind of sensitivity to nuances of interval, key, mode and metre as Mellers himself does, and he is also located in the midst of social and historical trends which Mellers (above all a social historian of music) is very alive to. Anyway, enough about Mellers!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on August 31, 2008, 11:51:10 AM


     That's right, it's Mellers, not Mellors.  :-[

     



     
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 31, 2008, 06:41:04 PM
Generally though, symphonies 4-6 are considered the greatest.

 8)

Barbirolli's EMI recording of the 5th is supposed to be The Best, but I haven't heard it.

For the 6th, Andrew Davis's recording has received much praise (it's the only one of his cycle that did).


Re the London symphony, one reason I haven't quite taken to it is the " 'ave a banana" musical quote in the first movement (reminding me of comedian Bill Bailey's skit on the Cockney origins of much classical music).

For the 9th, I've only heard Previn thus far, and found it far from satisfactory. He doesn't seem to have a grip on the rhetorical style needed here.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on August 31, 2008, 08:48:40 PM
In respomse to reading some of the posts here, I have ordered a full cycle of the symphonies. At present I only have four of them. So, thanks, especialy to Luke, for firing my interest. I will go over some of the posts again when I can listen to specific symphonies.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on August 31, 2008, 09:26:46 PM
I have ordered a full cycle of the symphonies.

That's very provocative.... Which cycle, may we ask?
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on August 31, 2008, 09:36:57 PM
I have ordered the Previn set. I can see they all have their ups and downs, but it has plenty of good points according to what I read.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on August 31, 2008, 10:09:30 PM
I can see they all have their ... downs

Handley's doesn't.   $:)

The Previn set has a fine Sea Symphony, arguably the "best" Pastoral (a.o.t. he and Boult are the only ones that get the Moderato opening right), a great Antartica. I'm less convinced his 4th and 6th still make the grade, but the "London" and 5th are both good, too.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 31, 2008, 10:26:56 PM
Thanks for all the detailed replies. I didn't have time to read through all of them, however, the first reply to my last post by sound67, a self-declared VW expert, already confirmed what I had suspected, namely that VW's music can apparently only be appreciated by comparing it to more famous composers of his era, and putting these down. But I am not interested in that. I am only interested in music which stands on its own. Apparently, VW's music doesn't.
According to several people here, it only gains status as some kind of anti-thesis to composers like Mahler and Strauss, and others. Funny, I am not even into Mahler that much right now, in fact, I have been tired of and taking a break from his music for a long time now and wanted to explore music which is radically different and which offers me contrasting perspectives on how musical material can be sourced, used, and developed to make coherent, relevant statements which stand on their own. That does not seem to be the case here with VW. According to sound67, being a trained musician also stands in the way of appreciating his music. I do not know of any other composer where that is the case. In fact, understanding music from the point of view of a trained musician usually enhances enjoyment of just about any kind of musical style. Since that is not the case here, I think I will just pass and spend my time better exploring the music of more relevant composers than this marginal English phenomenon, like VW's teacher Ravel from whom I have never heard a single bar of music, be it orchestral, chamber music, or songs, which did not deeply fascinate and intrigue  me. The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence? Why do even English musicians prefer to perform the music of such composers that their local heroes, like VW, get compared to by the "experts"? Why is his music performed far less even in England than any given composer - and I mean any, even the more marginal figues included - from the standard canon of French - German - Austrian - Czech - Russian composers? Wy does it not stand on its own, but only as a negative comparison to these by pseudo-intellectuals?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Guido on August 31, 2008, 10:29:32 PM
Another thank you here Luke - truly great posts... I'm going to have to listen through Symphonies 3-6 again.

You say that the fifth is his most perfect, but I'm sure you've said that the sixth represents the pinnacle of his Symphonic thinking too. I guess this could be a subtle difference.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Guido on August 31, 2008, 10:36:49 PM
Thanks for all the detailed replies. I didn't have time to read through all of them, however, the first reply to my last post by sound67, a self-declared VW expert, already confirmed what I had suspected, namely that VW's music can apparently only be appreciated by comparing it to more famous composers of his era, and putting these down. But I am not interested in that. I am only interested in music which stands on its own. Apparently, VW's music doesn't.
According to several people here, it only gains status as some kind of anti-thesis to composers like Mahler and Strauss, and others. Funny, I am not even into Mahler that much right now, in fact, I have been tired of and taking a break from his music for a long time now and wanted to explore music which is radically different and which offers me contrasting perspectives on how musical material can be sourced, used, and developed to make coherent, relevant statements which stand on their own. That does not seem to be the case here with VW. According to sound67, being a trained musician also stands in the way of appreciating his music. I do not know of any other composer where that is the case. In fact, understanding music from the point of view of a trained musician usually enhances enjoyment of just about any kind of musical style. Since that is not the case here, I think I will just pass and spend my time better exploring the music of more relevant composers than this marginal English phenomenon, like VW's teacher Ravel from whom I have never heard a single bar of music, be it orchestral, chamber music, or songs, which did not deeply fascinate and intrigue  me. The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence? Why do even English musicians prefer to perform the music of such composers that their local heroes, like VW, get compared to by the "experts"? Why is his music performed far less even in England than any given composer - and I mean any, even the more marginal figues included - from the standard canon of French - German - Austrian - Czech - Russian composers? Wy does it not stand on its own, but only as a negative comparison to these by pseudo-intellectuals?

Please lets cut this crap. This post is just an excuse for you to not really engage with anything serious that has been said - like all of Luke's fantastic posts. sound67's comments were very very obviously a joke, and you treating them as serious and then using this as an excuse to dismiss VW's music is just unbelievably lazy intellectually. It is painfully obvious that everything that Luke said he suspected but hoped you weren't doing is in fact exactly what you are doing here.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on August 31, 2008, 10:48:20 PM
Excusez-moi? Please don't treat sound67 as if his posts are just jokes, he means to be taken very, very seriously, and like I said, that was already enough information for me in this context. Ever since I asked about VW's "idiom" about two weeks ago, most of the posts regarding that were just personal attacks and what you probably would call jokes, so I am convinced now that there isn't really much more to the subject. Like I said, there must be a reason even English musicians treat him as a marginal phenomenon. Maybe it's because he apparently was just a very mediocre composer who gets a little bit elevated by the dire, dire need for English people to have at least one, or one and a half, "great composers"? That his music can apparently not be appreciated on his own, but just by putting more famous composers down confirms to me that there isn't much to appreciate there, unless you adopt that as an intellectual, or rather, pseudo-intellectual, attitude. And again, like I said before, this is the only time I have ever seen somebody say that being a trained musicians is actually an obstacle to enjoying anybody's music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on August 31, 2008, 11:19:04 PM
My favourite recordings:

A Sea Symphony: Boult-Decca, Previn-RCA, Handley-Emi, Daniel-Naxos

A London Symphony: Hickox-Chandos, Wood-Dutton, Barbirolli-EMI, Boult-Decca or EMI

A Pastoral Symphony: Previn-RCA

Symphony No 4: Berglund-EMI, Daniel-Naxos, Thomson-Chandos, Boult-EMI, Mitropolous-Sony

Symphony No 5: Barbirolli-EMI, Koussevitsky-Guild, Vaughan Williams-Somm, Gibson-EMI

Symphony No 6: Boult-Decca, Davis-Warner, Thomson-Chandos, Berglund-EMI, Abravanel-Vanguard/Silvrerline, Haitink-EMI, Stokowsky-Sony

Symphony 7: Barbirolli-EMI, Haitink-EMI

Symphony No 8: Previn-RCA

Symphony No 9: Stokowski-Cala,Thomson-Chandos, Slatkin-RCA, Handley-EMI (for the harps at the end)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 01, 2008, 12:12:44 AM
Ahhh, here we go again. And why wouldn't we ...  0:)

A Sea Symphony: Boult-Decca, Boult-EMI (it always boils down to Boult-only for me)
London Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Haitink-EMI, Handley-EMI-LPO (the earlier one), Arwel-Hughes-ASV, Barbirolli-Dutton
Pastoral Symphony: Boult-Decca, Previn-RCA, Thomson-Chandos
4th Symphony: Berglund-EMI, Thomson-Chandos, Vaughan Williams-Dutton
5th Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI, Hickox-Chandos (his only really fine one), Barbirolli-EMI (not the earlier Barbirolli-Dutton)
6th Symphony: A.Davis-Teldec (HIS only great one), Handley-EMI-RLPO (not the LPO this time), Berglund-EMI (just re-released), Abravanel-Silverline(DVD-A)
Sinfonia Antartica: Barbirolli-EMI, Haitink-EMI, Previn-RCA
8th Symphony: Handley-EMI, Boult-Decca
9th Symphony: Slatkin-RCA, Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI

The Hickox-Chandos "London" of course is a special case. On interpretive grounds, I do not rate it very highly (in a review back then I found it too "Elgarian"), but of course it's a worthwile addition to the RVW discography, if only to prove RVW was right.

700+ replies, closing in on 19,000 page views. Uncle Ralph isn't doing badly for a composer whose music "does not stand on its own"  ;)

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: rickardg on September 01, 2008, 12:55:16 AM
Thanks for posting your pearls, Luke, even if it seems to turn out to be before swines... :-)

Enough talking for today, I just listened to VW 5 (and its erotic counterpart, Flos Campi). My word, what a piece that symphony is - surely VW's most perfect symphony, no? No more theory or metaphysics for now - it's just damned beautiful, compelling, lucid, perfectly imagined and perfectly formed. And - let's get down to brass tacks - is that not one of the most sublime slow movements ever composed!?  ;D ;)

For those that crave theory and metaphysics there is an interesting episode of BBC3 Discovering Music that analyzes VW 5 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdmvwilliams5.ram) (link directly to RealAudio file).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 02:23:12 AM
Ahhh, here we go again. And why wouldn't we ...  0:)

A Sea Symphony: Boult-Decca, Boult-EMI (it always boils down to Boult-only for me)
London Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Haitink-EMI, Handley-EMI-LPO (the earlier one), Arwel-Hughes-ASV, Barbirolli-Dutton
Pastoral Symphony: Boult-Decca, Previn-RCA, Thomson-Chandos
4th Symphony: Berglund-EMI, Thomson-Chandos, Vaughan Williams-Dutton
5th Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI, Hickox-Chandos (his only really fine one), Barbirolli-EMI (not the earlier Barbirolli-Dutton)
6th Symphony: A.Davis-Teldec (HIS only great one), Handley-EMI-RLPO (not the LPO this time), Berglund-EMI (just re-released), Abravanel-Silverline(DVD-A)
Sinfonia Antartica: Barbirolli-EMI, Haitink-EMI, Previn-RCA
8th Symphony: Handley-EMI, Boult-Decca
9th Symphony: Slatkin-RCA, Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI

The Hickox-Chandos "London" of course is a special case. On interpretive grounds, I do not rate it very highly (in a review back then I found it too "Elgarian"), but of course it's a worthwile addition to the RVW discography, if only to prove RVW was right.

700+ replies, closing in on 19,000 page views. Uncle Ralph isn't doing badly for a composer whose music "does not stand on its own"  ;)

Thomas

We agree on quite a few and I could have added the earlier Handley London Symphony on EMI. Must listen to the Thomson No 2 and No 4.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 02:41:59 AM
Thanks, M. Against all my better judgement, I took your request for information on VW’s idiom seriously, and took the time to wrote you several lengthy posts on it, as well as on trying to correct some of your misunderstandings about the roots of VW’s style. But, of course, and as I suspected, it turns out that what I wrote doesn’t really fit with the way you wanted this discourse to go, and so you’ve conveniently disregarded it. Despite your protestations, I suppose it was always clear that you didn’t really want a serious, musical reply of this sort, because as long as one was not forthcoming you could continue to go on disingenuously observing how surprised you were that no one could describe VW’s idiom for you, and, therefore, you could also continue to imply that VW doesn’t actually have such an idiom worth talking about. As indeed, in your last post, where you say:

Quote
Ever since I asked about VW's "idiom" about two weeks ago, most of the posts regarding that were just personal attacks and what you probably would call jokes, so I am convinced now that there isn't really much more to the subject.

As I say, convenient, huh?

So, you ignored chose not to read my personal-attack-free, serious, lengthy and musical comments (and others from other people), and instead focussed on a short post by sound67 (because, as you later say yourself, it provides ‘already enough information for me in this context’ = fits what I want to believe/say better). So, you say:

Thanks for all the detailed replies. I didn't have time to read through all of them, however, the first reply to my last post by sound67, a self-declared VW expert, already confirmed what I had suspected, namely that VW's music can apparently only be appreciated by comparing it to more famous composers of his era, and putting these down. But I am not interested in that. I am only interested in music which stands on its own. Apparently, VW's music doesn't.

Again the disingenuousness, again the selective reading of replies to fit your own agenda. You’ve made clear that you have absolutely no respect for sound67’s views, but here you pretend to take them on trust (‘a self-declared VW expert’ - we can all sense the sarcasm underneath that description) so that you can then extrapolate whatever meaning you want to from it:

…already confirmed what I had suspected, namely that VW's music can apparently only be appreciated by comparing it to more famous composers of his era, and putting these down. But I am not interested in that. I am only interested in music which stands on its own. Apparently, VW's music doesn't…..According to sound67, being a trained musician also stands in the way of appreciating his music. I do not know of any other composer where that is the case. In fact, understanding music from the point of view of a trained musician usually enhances enjoyment of just about any kind of musical style. Since that is not the case here, I think I will just pass and spend my time better exploring the music of more relevant composers than this marginal English phenomenon

That, of course, is horse shit from first to last; no serious responses on this thread (you know, the ones you chose not to respond to) have said any such thing; nowhere have I (for instance) felt it necessary to put down other composers in order to inflate VW’s worth - and responding to sound67 I explicitly said as much. And nowhere have I (for instance) said or implied that being trained interferes with one’s ability to appreciate his music.  As you rightly say, training tends only to enhances one’s appreciation of a composer, and that was the case with me and VW - the more I knew of his music, the more I respected his achievements. VW stands on his own merits, merits to which your usually admirable ear momentarily seems hilariously (and conveniently for you) deaf. Which, again, suits you, because despite all your protestations to the contrary, I doubt there’s a person on this board who believes that you approached this composer with anything like an open mind. You wanted to be able to say ridiculous things about him, and damn it, you’re going to find a way to do so no matter what.

And why? The answer’s pretty clear to all, I think, in the last words of the previous quote - as your insults grow more general, VW stops being a composer and becomes a ‘marginal English phenomenon’ - and in the following section of your post:

The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence? Why do even English musicians prefer to perform the music of such composers that their local heroes, like VW, get compared to by the "experts"? Why is his music performed far less even in England than any given composer - and I mean any, even the more marginal figues included - from the standard canon of French - German - Austrian - Czech - Russian composers? Wy does it not stand on its own, but only as a negative comparison to these by pseudo-intellectuals?

Why indeed? If only any of that were the case, you might have a point, but sadly it doesn’t, it only reflects your tendency to make anti-British jibes at any opportunity (this one about there being no important British composers has been seen more than once before, I think). I would be very surprised if VW’s music is indeed ‘performed far less even in England than any given composer - and I mean any, even the more marginal figues included - from the standard canon of French - German - Austrian - Czech - Russian composers’. Having just been through the BBCSO’s 2008 programme (I chose them because, thanks to Radio 3, they may well be the most-heard orchestra in the country) it’s notable that among the major names VW is performed more than even Beethoven and Mozart, let alone any of the others (it’s an anniversary year., so there’s some inflation, but not much, I would guess).

As far as England being ‘such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence’, I simply think a little context is needed. Certainly it’s true that in the prior to the 20th century British music was a minor force to say the least, but in the 20th century that simply doesn’t hold water any more - where German-speaking composers have rather faded from the scene (major international figures born post-1900 grow scarcer and scarcer - Weill, Stockhausen…..erm, Lachenmann, Hartmann, Rihm….Blacher?) British composers have proved much more fertile - important and influential composers like Birtwistle, Ferneyhough, Finnissy; some of the leading European minimalists; younger figures at the head of the international music scene such as, Benjamin and Ades; and of course the two senior figures, Britten and Tippett at the head of it all.

Of course, the chances are you’re just being deliberately provocative, for whatever reason, and you know just as well as every body else does that what you’ve been spouting here, especially in the last couple of posts, is a pile of crap.  ;D ;) :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 01, 2008, 04:40:57 AM
The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence?
In your world? I don't know. I like some stuff of VW and Bax pretty much.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 04:47:18 AM
I don't want to waste words on the selectively obtuse, but yours I agree with wholeheartedly, Luke.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 01, 2008, 05:34:52 AM
We agree on quite a few and I could have added the earlier Handley London Symphony on EMI. Must listen to the Thomson No 2 and No 4.

There's a Portugese recording of one of the RVW symphonies that is supposed to be very good, but I keep forgetting which symphony and conducted by whom? Does anybody know?  ???

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 05:38:48 AM
There's a Portugese recording of one of the RVW symphonies that is supposed to be very good, but I keep forgetting which symphony and conducted by whom? Does anybody know?  ???

Thomas

Never heard of this. Sounds really interesting. Do you like Braga Santos? His symphs 1-4 definitely have echoes of Vaughan Williams.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 05:57:35 AM
Another thank you here Luke - truly great posts... I'm going to have to listen through Symphonies 3-6 again.

You say that the fifth is his most perfect, but I'm sure you've said that the sixth represents the pinnacle of his Symphonic thinking too. I guess this could be a subtle difference.

Yes, you're correct in your interpretation of my confused signals! I think the 5th is a 'perfect' symphony - it has lucidity, balance, integration, flow, magnificent material, a marvellous sense of musical symbolism, a compelling spiritual argument clearly expressed in musical (modal, rhythmic, melodic, intervallic, motivic, symbolic, textural, instrumental) terms. I don't think the 6th is perfect in these ways - but that does not imply in any sense that I think it is flawed or could be improved upon. Part of the wonder of the 6th, for me, is its skewed, deliberately imperfect nature - there is so little positive lyricism there, and what there is is found mostly at the beginning, before being subjected to various kinds of batterings and eventual annihilation. A work like that may be perfect, in its own terms, but 'perfect' isn't really the right adjective to describe it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 06:19:54 AM
For me No 6 is the greatest as it combines the lyricism of No 5 with the violence of No 4, to create an absolutely compelling synthesis. It is also oddly disturbing and compassionate at the same time, which is also part of its greatness. The String Quartet No 2 is an interesting precursor to Symphony No 6.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 06:22:59 AM
For me No 6 is the greatest as it combines the lyricism of No 5 with the violence of No 4, to create an absolutely compelling synthesis. It is also oddly disturbing and compassionate at the same time, which is also part of its greatness. The String Quartet No 2 is an interesting precursor to Symphony No 6.

I agree - that's why I see the 6th as the culmination of the sequence (rather as Brian 10 is to 8 and 9!). When I use the word 'perfect' of the 5th I'm doing so in a specific way, trying to describe its special qualities. In any case, they are both supremely wonderful symphonies!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 06:24:41 AM
Inspired by this thread I have at last watched Tony Palmer's RVW documentary O thou transcendent (thanks to, lately rather absent, Thom).

All in all I find this an excellent introduction to RVW's life and work. You get a strong sense of the scale of the man's achievement and you cannot but admire him personally, too - a great and eminently sane human being, but touched by the revelatory madness common to all real poets, whether in words or music. My love for both the man and his music has increased markedly.

There is a lot of music in this documentary, which is a joy. Also very nice, for me, was seeing people I have long known only as a name and/or a voice, like Stephen Johnson, Imogen Holst and Evelyn Barbirolli. The one main criticism I have to make is the use of horrific footage to go with some of VW's more tragic and dark utterances. I thought it bordered on the obscene. We don't need graphic instances of human cruelty or suffering to know that Vaughan Williams knew about this, too. It seemed to reduce Vaughan Williams to a sort of Current Affairs composer. A grave mistake.

But, as I said - an excellent introduction. The other, BBC, documentary, The Passions of Vaughan Williams, complements it very well.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 01, 2008, 06:28:40 AM
Never heard of this. Sounds really interesting. Do you like Braga Santos? His symphs 1-4 definitely have echoes of Vaughan Williams.

Found it: http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=2402

It was discussed on some other board. Never been able to get my hands on it.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 01, 2008, 06:38:22 AM
Thanks, M. Against all my better judgement, I took your request for information on VW’s idiom seriously...

Yes, that was a mistake, Luke. Thomas' initial reply to M ("Fuck off, you twit"...or words to that effect  ;D ) was the proper response given M's, by now, well-known baiting technique. That he managed to end up blasting not just Thomas but your entire island and its musical culture, history and achievement is, of course, typical of our resident cultural bigot (he's anti-American too).

I've often wondered why he has such a nasty need to put down Americans and Brits. His oft stated assertion that we must feel culturally inferior is laughable in the face of his constant effort to prove Teutonic culture superior in every way. Let's get Freudian: Could it be caused by the circumstances of his childhood and his country's history? I mean, our dads and granddads kicked his dad and granddad's ass not just once, but twice last century  ;D ....and then we occupied his city for nearly half a century. That might give anyone an inferiority complex coupled with a defensive need to put down others while claiming cultural and--dare I say it?--racial superiority for his team. ;D  (I'm allowed to poke fun at Germans because I am one...if not by nationality, by every other criteria, including blood, marriage and residency.)

Your posts weren't in vain though: I haven't read Mellers and I appreciate your distillation of his arguments. Your own defense and explanation of RVW's brilliant and quite unique idiom (obviously M is deaf) is equally thought-provoking and made a good read. Thank you.

Sarge (whose first two classical records purchased were RVW symphonies)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 06:42:51 AM
I agree - that's why I see the 6th as the culmination of the sequence (rather as Brian 10 is to 8 and 9!). When I use the word 'perfect' of the 5th I'm doing so in a specific way, trying to describe its special qualities. In any case, they are both supremely wonderful symphonies!

I agree with what you say about Brian too, although No 8 is probably my favourite. We badly need a professional recording of No 10, which is a magnificent work. I was lucky to find the old Unicorn CD some time back.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 06:49:23 AM
I agree with what you say about Brian too, although No 8 is probably my favourite.

Mine too! 10 is the conclusion of the triptych, but I've always adored 8 the most. The quintessential Brian, and with his melodic invention at its finest. A startlingly beautiful work. As I said earlier in the thread, I have an obscure feeling that makes an interesting pair with VW 6, in fact. They both feed off these juxtapositions of aggression and lyricism so productively....

We badly need a professional recording of No 10, which is a magnificent work. I was lucky to find the old Unicorn CD some time back.

Yes, I have that one - that's my old orchestra playing (though before I was born, I hasten to add!). You may well be right - with a good recording, this could be revealed to be 8's equal
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 06:54:31 AM
Inspired by this thread I have at last watched Tony Palmer's RVW documentary O thou transcendent (thanks to, lately rather absent, Thom).

All in all I find this an excellent introduction to RVW's life and work. You get a strong sense of the scale of the man's achievement and you cannot but admire him personally, too - a great and eminently sane human being, but touched by the revelatory madness common to all real poets, whether in words or music. My love for both the man and his music has increased markedly.

There is a lot of music in this documentary, which is a joy. Also very nice, for me, was seeing people I have long known only as a name and/or a voice, like Stephen Johnson, Imogen Holst and Evelyn Barbirolli. The one main criticism I have to make is the use of horrific footage to go with some of VW's more tragic and dark utterances. I thought it bordered on the obscene. We don't need graphic instances of human cruelty or suffering to know that Vaughan Williams knew about this, too. It seemed to reduce Vaughan Williams to a sort of Current Affairs composer. A grave mistake.

But, as I said - an excellent introduction. The other, BBC, documentary, The Passions of Vaughan Williams, complements it very well.

Interesting views Johan, I totally agree about the grotesquely incongruous newsreel images which were juxtaposed with Symphony 9. They were the least convincing part of the documentary (they could have shown Stonehenge or Salisbury Plain instead, which would have been much more in keeping with the philosophic background to the music.) Even Ken Russell in a rather disappointingly staid TV documentary on Vaughan Williams many years ago (well, there was one good scene of Ken Russell dancing in a disco with Ursula Vaughan Williams- then in her mid 70s-to the music of A London Symphony) handled the 9th Symphony more appropriately and movingly.  There is an entertainingly furious exchange of letters going on at the moment in the Journal of the VW Society over the Palmer documentary. It is not like here, where we all have so much respect for each others' views  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 07:04:15 AM
Mine too! 10 is the conclusion, but I've always adored 6 the most.

You mean 8.

with a good recording, this could be revealed to be 8's equal

No 8 is dark, tense, rich, varied. No 10 is brighter, perhaps less diverse, but seems to do as much, and even more, with less... I know all 32 symphonies almost by heart, and I can't really choose a favourite. There are beauties everywhere.

Interesting views Johan, I totally agree about the grotesquely incongruous newsreel images which were juxtaposed with Symphony 9.

And with No. 6, too.

Quote
There is an entertainingly furious exchange of letters going on at the moment in the Journal of the VW Society over the Palmer documentary. It is not like here, where we all have so much respect for each others' views  ;D

Yes, this Forum is blessed.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 07:05:39 AM
Found it: http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=2402

It was discussed on some other board. Never been able to get my hands on it.

Thomas

What a fascinating looking disc. I just read the review. Frustratingly it is on the long-gone Portugalsom label.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2008, 07:11:53 AM
I wonder if disappointingly staid as a phrase is found much in the company of Ken Russell . . . ?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 07:15:08 AM
I wonder if disappointingly staid as a phrase is found much in the company of Ken Russell . . . ?

Staid isn't. Hence Jeffrey's disappointment.  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 07:15:59 AM
You mean 8.

I mean, I typed that post in a furious hurry! Dishwasher started to leak all over the kitchen floor.... :o :o
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 07:16:54 AM
I mean, I typed that post in a furious hurry! Dishwasher started to leak all over the kitchen floor.... :o :o

 :o :o All is forgiven.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: knight66 on September 01, 2008, 07:18:28 AM
Luke, Your time was not wasted. I guess M was the grit that in legend is needed to form the pearl. I found your prompted discourses very illuminating and as I indicated; they have encouraged me to get hold of and explore more of his music and that is one of the more worthwhile purposes of the board.

Mike
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 07:20:24 AM
Staid isn't. Hence Jeffrey's disappointment.  ;)

OT

Oh yes! I loved those mad Mahler and Tchaikovsky films. His tribute to the sculptor Gaudia-Brzeska "Savage Messiah", is actually a v good film.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 01, 2008, 07:28:39 AM
My favourite recordings:

A Sea Symphony: Boult/LPO

A London Symphony: Barbirolli/Hallé (Dutton), Hickox/LSO (original 1913 version)

A Pastoral Symphony: Boult/LPO

Symphony No 4: Bernstein/NY Phil, Vaughan Williams/BBC (Naxos)

Symphony No 5: Menuhin/RPO, Haitink/LPO

Symphony No 6: Davis/BBC

Symphony 7: Boult/LPO, Haitink/LPO, Previn/LSO

Symphony No 8: Barbirolli/Hallé (Dutton), Haitink/LPO

Symphony No 9: Haitink/LPO, Bakels/Bournemouth


Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 01, 2008, 07:32:47 AM
Oh yes! I loved those mad Mahler and Tchaikovsky films. His tribute to the sculptor Gaudia-Brzeska "Savage Messiah", is actually a v good film.

And wth some very nice nudity from Helen Mirren, long before she became Queen of England  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 01, 2008, 08:05:39 AM
Thanks for all the detailed replies. I didn't have time to read through all of them, however, the first reply to my last post by sound67, a self-declared VW expert, already confirmed what I had suspected, namely that VW's music can apparently only be appreciated by comparing it to more famous composers of his era, and putting these down. But I am not interested in that. I am only interested in music which stands on its own. Apparently, VW's music doesn't.
According to several people here, it only gains status as some kind of anti-thesis to composers like Mahler and Strauss, and others. Funny, I am not even into Mahler that much right now, in fact, I have been tired of and taking a break from his music for a long time now and wanted to explore music which is radically different and which offers me contrasting perspectives on how musical material can be sourced, used, and developed to make coherent, relevant statements which stand on their own. That does not seem to be the case here with VW. According to sound67, being a trained musician also stands in the way of appreciating his music. I do not know of any other composer where that is the case. In fact, understanding music from the point of view of a trained musician usually enhances enjoyment of just about any kind of musical style. Since that is not the case here, I think I will just pass and spend my time better exploring the music of more relevant composers than this marginal English phenomenon, like VW's teacher Ravel from whom I have never heard a single bar of music, be it orchestral, chamber music, or songs, which did not deeply fascinate and intrigue  me. The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence? Why do even English musicians prefer to perform the music of such composers that their local heroes, like VW, get compared to by the "experts"? Why is his music performed far less even in England than any given composer - and I mean any, even the more marginal figues included - from the standard canon of French - German - Austrian - Czech - Russian composers? Wy does it not stand on its own, but only as a negative comparison to these by pseudo-intellectuals?

You relentlessly scold posters here for not replying to your demand that they define the V-W idiom, then when extremely thoughtful replies are posted, you don't have time to read them, but find that your lack of appreciation  of V-W after listening to a few recordings is evidence of a deficiency in the British nation?  What petulant nonsense!

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on September 01, 2008, 08:17:34 AM
You relentlessly scold posters here for not replying to your demand that they define the V-W idiom, then when extremely thoughtful replies are posted, you don't have time to read them, but find that your lack of appreciation  of V-W after listening to a few recordings is evidence of a deficiency in the British nation?  What petulant nonsense!
Remind you of anyone you know?  ;D

Re. RVW:  the discussion here, particularly Luke's posts, has spurred me to listening to RVW again with fresh ears--and this in spite of some recent Henning compositions clamoring to be heard!  Last night I listened to the Hilary Hahn/Colin Davis/LSO Lark Ascending -- more beautiful and more nearly perfect to my ears each time I hear it (this is one case in which I think the balance spotlighting the soloist works very well) -- and to the Slatkin/Philharmonia Pastoral Symphony -- inspired by RVW's experience in the war, not by cowpats, in the midst of which my wife came in, sat beside me, and listened, then requested that I rip a copy so she can add it to her Sansa player.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 01, 2008, 08:39:50 AM
Remind you of anyone you know?  ;D

You are referring to yourself, I assume?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Guido on September 01, 2008, 09:18:18 AM
I know all 32 symphonies almost by heart, and I can't really choose a favourite. There are beauties everywhere.

Wow, that's amazing! Do recordings of all 32 exist? Or do you know the scores by heart?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 09:31:54 AM
Yes they do - not easy to get hold of, but certainly easier than most of the scores! I only have 4 of the symphonies in score, and three of those were gifts from Holland  ;); in addition to these, I think Johan has two or three more scores.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: DavidRoss on September 01, 2008, 09:37:38 AM
You are referring to yourself, I assume?
Wrong again...but then why spoil your perfect record?  ;D

I wonder if disappointingly staid as a phrase is found much in the company of Ken Russell . . . ?
Saw this belatedly, Karl.  Not only amusing, but set me to wondering what a Ken Russell RVW bioflick might be like.  :o
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on September 01, 2008, 10:16:44 AM
That, of course, is horse shit from first to last

A fair verdict on the quality of the response, imho, and duly noted.  $:) (But, as many here, I'm quite happy with the result, an RVW thread come to full life again and making us all listen to his music afresh.)  :)

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 11:17:41 AM
I only have 4 of the symphonies in score, and three of those were gifts from Holland  ;); in addition to these, I think Johan has two or three more scores.

I have scores (some of them were absurdly expensive) of the Piano Music, Violin Concerto and symphonies 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 21 and 22.

I 'know' all of the 32 symphonies virtually by heart, because I have been listening to them over and over again for 30 years...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 11:21:31 AM
I have scores (some of them were absurdly expensive) of the Piano Music, Violin Concerto and symphonies 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 21 and 22.

Not the Gothic? Surely you have that one - it's the only one that's easy to get hold of!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 11:28:19 AM
Not the Gothic? Surely you have that one - it's the only one that's easy to get hold of!

No... There was a copy at the Music Library in Amsterdam when I was a member there, and that was good enough for me (80s). And I haven't bought it since because the score is riddled with mistakes, which only now have been corrected in a new edition by the HBS (with the Sibelius programme). This edition will be used for the (hopefully!) upcoming performance of 'The Gothic' in Australia in 2009  (see my latest addition to the Havergal Brian thread...)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 12:15:06 PM
And wth some very nice nudity from Helen Mirren, long before she became Queen of England  ;D

Sarge

Why else do you think I recommend it  ;D She made a memorable contribution to Excalibur also.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 12:17:41 PM
My favourite recordings:

A Sea Symphony: Boult/LPO

A London Symphony: Barbirolli/Hallé (Dutton), Hickox/LSO (original 1913 version)

A Pastoral Symphony: Boult/LPO

Symphony No 4: Bernstein/NY Phil, Vaughan Williams/BBC (Naxos)

Symphony No 5: Menuhin/RPO, Haitink/LPO

Symphony No 6: Davis/BBC

Symphony 7: Boult/LPO, Haitink/LPO, Previn/LSO

Symphony No 8: Barbirolli/Hallé (Dutton), Haitink/LPO

Symphony No 9: Haitink/LPO, Bakels/Bournemouth


Sarge

The Bernstein No 4 is good. Pity he didn't record No 6. Must listen again to Menuhin No 5; a good coupling with the Piano Concerto and also Bakels No 9.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 01, 2008, 12:18:38 PM
Thanks, M. Against all my better judgement, I took your request for information on VW’s idiom seriously, and took the time to wrote you several lengthy posts on it, as well as on trying to correct some of your misunderstandings about the roots of VW’s style. But, of course, and as I suspected, it turns out that what I wrote doesn’t really fit with the way you wanted this discourse to go

Why all this upsetness? I said thanks for all the replies, but I simply totally lost interest in the subject before I got to reading all of them when I started reading and the very first post was yet another of those silly comparisons. I hadn't even thought of comparing and "measuring" VW against Mahler. I am just tired, tired, tired to death of all these silly comparisons. If it doesn't seem possible to discuss somebody's music without putting a lot of other composers down, then I am not interested in the discussion.

You can't say that what you wrote doesn't fit my expectations because I didn't read what you wrote (and therefore have no opinion about it). But this forum is not just for my entertainment, it is for everybody who reads it, and it seems from the many replies you got (which I only scanned very superficially) that other people welcomed that you took the time to write some views, so your time wasn't wasted, it appears to me.

It looks as if I stimulated a more detailed and focused discussion with my "provocative" questions. Sure, there are also the usual upset posts from some people whose cultural inferiority complexes simply can not digest that kind of questions. I am always amazed at how quickly Sarge goes from an apparently sane and calm person to all world wars and all the "butt kicking" his grandfather apparently did (what does that have to do with music?), even though after living in Germany for several decades, he should know that most of the people from there of my generation look at all these things in a very different way - when I talk about music, I talk about music, not about won or lost wars - funny that somebody who actually took part in the - failed - attempt to bomb a tiny, tiny country back into the stone age has the nerve to accuse me who has never taken part in any military action against anyone. And to seek pride in the alleged military exploits of his ancestors. Strange.

But apart from that kind of noise, it looks like you have a lively discussion going on here, so the fact that I lost interest in the subject should not diminish your enjoyment of the discussion.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 12:30:03 PM
Why all this upsetness? I said thanks for all the replies, but I simply totally lost interest in the subject before I got to reading all of them when I started reading and the very first post was yet another of those silly comparisons. I hadn't even thought of comparing and "measuring" VW against Mahler. I am just tired, tired, tired to death of all these silly comparisons. If it doesn't seem possible to discuss somebody's music without putting a lot of other composers down, then I am not interested in the discussion.

Well, at least you clearly read my last long post in reply to you, so you now know full well that IMO (and not just mine) it's perfectly possible to discuss VW in the way you describe - all my posts do so, and so do most of the others here. Just not the one from sound67 you chose to concentrate on (and you'll notice if you read it that in the next post I immediately pointed out that bashing Mahler isn't necessary in order to praise VW). So, taking my word for it, you can safely let yourself be interested once more.  ;D

I thought I made the reason for my 'upsetness' pretty clear, so I won't go into it again.

No comment on the rest.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 01, 2008, 12:45:00 PM
Well, at least you clearly read my last long post in reply to you

Sorry, I only read the first paragraph or so and quickly scanned over some of the other posts but like I said, the interest in the subject for me was simply over after the first post.

and you'll notice if you read it that in the next post I immediately pointed out that bashing Mahler isn't necessary in order to praise VW

I just read that. I agree. Why then does it come up all the time, especially when such less influential composers are discussed?

I thought I made the reason for my 'upsetness' pretty clear, so I won't go into it again.

I understood that, but like I said, I don't your effort was wasted because other people apparently found them valuable to read.

No comment on the rest.

No, I guess we will have to leave it up to Sarge to explain why I have a huge pile of CDs of mostly Russian music sitting on the table next to me when according to him, I hate all countries and their music which won the war (and remember, Russia, unlike Britain, really won their part of the war). The only non-Russian CDs I have here next to me are Messiaen and Ravel. Yes, I guess that's what we Nazis listen to all the time.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 01:14:00 PM
(and remember, Russia, unlike Britain, really won their part of the war).

OT

In 1940 Britain managed to resist invasion at a time when Russia was allied to Nazi Germany and the US was following a policy of neutrality.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 01, 2008, 01:55:13 PM
Needn't be OT, if we can wrest it towards VW's happily non-jingoistic Song of Thanksgiving, commissioned by the BBC in 1943 as "a work to be performed when Hitler's Germany is defeated". Indicative of VW, the composer who was active in his support for the humane treatment of German POWs IIRC, the text he selected from Kipling is full of forgiveness rather than triumph or gloating.

Teach us delight in simple things,
and mirth that has no bitter springs,
forgiveness free of evil done,
and love to all men 'neath the sun.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 02:02:21 PM
Needn't be OT, if we can wrest it towards VW's happily non-jingoistic Song of Thanksgiving, commissioned by the BBC in 1943 as "a work to be performed when Hitler's Germany is defeated". Indicative of VW, the composer who was active in his support for the humane treatment of German POWs IIRC, the text he selected from Kipling is full of forgiveness rather than triumph or gloating.

Teach us delight in simple things,
and mirth that has no bitter springs,
forgiveness free of evil done,
and love to all men 'neath the sun.

Good point and nicely brought back to VW!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on September 01, 2008, 02:09:21 PM
I hadn't even thought of comparing and "measuring" VW against Mahler. I am just tired, tired, tired to death of all these silly comparisons. If it doesn't seem possible to discuss somebody's music without putting a lot of other composers down, then I am not interested in the discussion.



      You should think about it if you want to understand what the posters are talking about. Perhaps since you've lost interest it doesn't matter any more. The comparison is not about the ultimate merit of the respective composers (in my case Vaughan Williams and Mahler are my favorite composers), but about how the differences can be usefully explained and how the methods of Vaughan Williams may account for a resistance to his music. Even if you find the explanations have merit you're not obligated to join the fan club.

     When posters try to counter the anti-modernists by exposition about how wonderful Schoenberg really is for the following technical reasons (it's really just like Brahms and the logical next step in the development of German music etc.) I have to smile: what does this have to do with liking the music? This might be interesting in itself but doesn't provide a good reason to change your mind about a compoer. Maybe all kinds of composers have really fabulous reasons for what they do, but my reaction is I still don't have to like it.

     The same applies to Vaughan Williams. We explore these differences because we love the music, and in a small set of cases some curious people might be tempted to explore the music further based on what they read. This doesn't amount to anything more than that, in my view, and certainly not a proof that Vaughan Williams is a better composer than Mahler.

Good point and nicely brought back to VW!

     Yeah, but....war?  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 01, 2008, 02:15:47 PM
Speaking of texts, the original text of the theme by Tallis is this:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


I know all the words, but I still can't figure out what the text is actually about. Can somebody explain or translate that into modern English?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 01, 2008, 02:23:41 PM
Speaking of texts, the original text of the theme by Tallis is this:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


I know all the words, but I still can't figure out what the text is actually about. Can somebody explain or translate that into modern English?
Stout? Isn't that a beer? I wouldn't worry about the meaning since he or she is most likely drunk when he/she wrote it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2008, 02:33:18 PM
Needn't be OT, if we can wrest it towards VW's happily non-jingoistic Song of Thanksgiving, commissioned by the BBC in 1943 as "a work to be performed when Hitler's Germany is defeated". Indicative of VW, the composer who was active in his support for the humane treatment of German POWs IIRC, the text he selected from Kipling is full of forgiveness rather than triumph or gloating.

Teach us delight in simple things,
and mirth that has no bitter springs,
forgiveness free of evil done,
and love to all men 'neath the sun.

Artfully done, Luke!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2008, 02:35:20 PM
Speaking of texts, the original text of the theme by Tallis is this:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


I know all the words, but I still can't figure out what the text is actually about. Can somebody explain or translate that into modern English?

Peculiar, isn't it?  To our ears, the music hardly "means" this text, where it wonderfully suits "I heard the voice of Jesus say . . . ."

In short, M, that archaic hymn-verse rhetorically wonders why the world resists God's work and agent of Redemption.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 01, 2008, 02:42:16 PM
Speaking of texts, the original text of the theme by Tallis is this:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


I know all the words, but I still can't figure out what the text is actually about. Can somebody explain or translate that into modern English?

It is part of Psalm 2. Look here:

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Psalm_2

Examples of other translations:

1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD

(KING JAMES Version)

1. Why do the heathen so furiously rage together : and why do the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together : against the Lord, and against his Anointed.

(Book of Common Prayer)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 01, 2008, 05:52:08 PM
The only open question which remains here is, why is England among all the major cultures of Europe the only one which is such a complete failure when it comes to music of any kind of status or influence?

Now, M, such chauvinism is unworthy of you. Perhaps you are reacting against the gushing Anglophilia hereabouts? At least no one has yet referred to Vernon Handley as "Tod" :)
Actually, I'm surprised how popular Vaughan Williams is amongst American aficionados, more popular than most American composers. I wonder why...

I think you have made a cursory judgement based on minimal exposure to VW's music. My own experience is that he has a very individual manner, which takes time to appreciate (it doesn't help that, at least to me, much of his minor work sounds quite kitsch). Give the middle symphonies a chance and you may change your mind.

BTW, thanks for posting the verse above - "The Kings arise, the Lords devise" - good stuff.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 01, 2008, 09:50:20 PM
Started listening to Boult's EMI traversal of the symphonies.  Started at the end and have heard 9 and 8 a few times each.  In both, there are things I enjoy, although I don't yet hear the thread that ties the music together and makes them truely great symphonies.  In #8, I find the first movement, a set of variations without a theme, to be haunting and compelling.  The slow movement has some passages a beautifully dissonant harmony.  The scherzo is amusing.  The rest eludes my appreciation at this time.  In #9, I hear some impressive sonorities, some engaging counterpoint, particularly involving the reeds.  I hear very little coherence in it, so far.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 01, 2008, 10:21:25 PM
It is part of Psalm 2. Look here:

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Psalm_2

Examples of other translations:

1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD

(KING JAMES Version)

1. Why do the heathen so furiously rage together : and why do the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together : against the Lord, and against his Anointed.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Ahh, spoiling my fun! ;D I was going to try to translate with an Elizabethan glossary (a very useful thing to have around, hehe).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2008, 11:24:36 PM
At least no one has yet referred to Vernon Handley as "Tod" :)

  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 02, 2008, 12:41:30 AM
Ahh, spoiling my fun! ;D I was going to try to translate with an Elizabethan glossary (a very useful thing to have around, hehe).

I remember from my Shakespeare 'fond' means 'foolish' (Lear uses it). For the rest the text isn't that hard to understand if you know your Elizabethans... More or less.  ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 02, 2008, 12:55:36 AM
I remember from my Shakespeare 'fond' means 'foolish' (Lear uses it). For the rest the text isn't that hard to understand if you know your Elizabethans... More or less.  ;)

:) I was having trouble with "stout", and was relieved that the book included it - it must be pretty good, hehe...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 02, 2008, 05:40:21 AM
Yes, you're correct in your interpretation of my confused signals! I think the 5th is a 'perfect' symphony - it has lucidity, balance, integration, flow, magnificent material, a marvellous sense of musical symbolism, a compelling spiritual argument clearly expressed in musical (modal, rhythmic, melodic, intervallic, motivic, symbolic, textural, instrumental) terms.

And any composer would give an arm to be able to write anything as exquisite as the Romanza.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on September 02, 2008, 10:20:28 AM
Speaking of texts, the original text of the theme by Tallis is this:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


I know all the words, but I still can't figure out what the text is actually about. Can somebody explain or translate that into modern English?

Peculiar, isn't it?  To our ears, the music hardly "means" this text, where it wonderfully suits "I heard the voice of Jesus say . . . ."

In short, M, that archaic hymn-verse rhetorically wonders why the world resists God's work and agent of Redemption.

As far as I know, the words Vaughan Williams really had in mind, are those from a hymn from 1712 by Joseph Adison on the same (Thomas Tallis) melody, and especially its first line: "When rising from the bed of death" (I've always been humming these words with the music and they fit rather well, in all respects  ;-)  :'( :) 8)

For Addison's complete verse, see: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/r/wriftbod.htm (with the music added for free, in a superb performance).  ;)



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 02, 2008, 10:30:22 AM
For Addison's complete verse, see: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/r/wriftbod.htm (with the music added for free, in a superb performance).  ;)

One of the most necessary smilies I can remember, that. Take heed, folks!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 02, 2008, 10:32:53 AM
Very interesting, Christo (and Luke), thanks!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 02, 2008, 10:33:14 AM
As far as I know, the words Vaughan Williams really had in mind, are those from a hymn from 1712 by Joseph Adison on the same (Thomas Tallis) melody, and especially its first line: "When rising from the bed of death" (I've always been humming these words with the music and they fit rather well, in all respects  ;-)  :'( :) 8)


I think you are right. This line is referred to in the documentary "O thou transcendent" I watched yesterday...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 02, 2008, 01:07:40 PM
In case no one's mentioned it, 'The Passions of Vaughan Williams' is on BBC in less than 15 minutes. I'd record it, but don't have access to the equipment at the moment. If anyone else was tempted to, though.....  ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Lethevich on September 02, 2008, 01:15:27 PM
In case no one's mentioned it, 'The Passions of Vaughan Williams' is on BBC in less than 15 minutes. I'd record it, but don't have access to the equipment at the moment. If anyone else was tempted to, though.....  ;) ;) ;)

I wonder how possible it is to rip the iPlayer version of it... The sound will probably be miserable, though.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 02, 2008, 06:56:05 PM
I wonder how possible it is to rip the iPlayer version of it... The sound will probably be miserable, though.
I once used this, in order to create a flash animation of what happens on my computer..
http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2008, 09:13:56 PM
In case no one's mentioned it, 'The Passions of Vaughan Williams' is on BBC in less than 15 minutes. I'd record it, but don't have access to the equipment at the moment. If anyone else was tempted to, though.....  ;) ;) ;)

I recorded it when it was on before If anyone wants a copy let me know, but it might take a little while to get a copy done.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 03, 2008, 12:26:54 AM

London Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Haitink-EMI, Handley-EMI-LPO (the earlier one), Arwel-Hughes-ASV, Barbirolli-Dutton
Pastoral Symphony: Boult-Decca, Previn-RCA, Thomson-Chandos
4th Symphony: Berglund-EMI, Thomson-Chandos, Vaughan Williams-Dutton
5th Symphony: Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI, Hickox-Chandos (his only really fine one), Barbirolli-EMI (not the earlier Barbirolli-Dutton)

9th Symphony: Slatkin-RCA, Thomson-Chandos, Handley-EMI

After all this Thomson listing, I am seriously considering his boxset. Thanks.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 03, 2008, 12:30:16 PM
After all this Thomson listing, I am seriously considering his boxset. Thanks.
 

He was an underrated conductor. Try his Walton Symphony No 1 or Bax tone poems (Christmas Eve etc) on Chandos.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 04, 2008, 12:02:06 AM
Since noticing the " 'Ave a banana" musical quote in the London symphony (with some assistance from Bill Bailey!) I've been wondering what the origin of that musical phrase is. The only thing I could find via Google was an assertion that it is from an 1897 musichall song called "Let's all go down the Strand". I guess it's unlikely someone here would know more about this, but...

EDIT: Oops, I did find the lyrics after all (http://londonbobby.com/lblyric.htm#strand), but the way the phrase is used suggests it was previously extant. Maybe it was just an old Covent Garden "cry"?
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 04, 2008, 06:14:33 AM
I've previously had a superficial familiarity with some of V-W's most popular pieces, and have been working my way through Boult's set of orchestral works on EMI.  I've been working backwards, from symphony #9.  Sad to say, the more I hear of V-W, the less impressed I am.  Symphony #9 had engaging middle movements, but the outer movements struck me as wandering, having some interesting sonorities and harmonies distributed throughout, but the major plan escaped me.  Symphony #8 had a wonderful first movement (variations without a theme) but the other three movements made a similar impression, interesting passages, not clear to me what the organizing principal is.  Symphony #7, listened to last night, is the low point so far.  Here at least I know what he is getting at, and there were passages of great beauty, but every time I'm about to get into it, there's that idiotic wind machine again.  It is frustrating because a lot of V-W's interestingly dissonant harmony and counterpoint is very attractive to me, but none of it comes within a context that makes sense to me.

I get the impression that 4, 5, and 6 are considered V-W's best, and they are next on my list.  I try to remain optimistic, but as things are going, it looks like I'll be keeping this set just to remind myself never to waste my money on another recording of music by V-W.  If you've got the Tallis fantasy, you've got all of the V-W you need, it would appear.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 04, 2008, 06:23:04 AM
I've previously had a superficial familiarity with some of V-W's most popular pieces, and have been working my way through Boult's set of orchestral works on EMI.  I've been working backwards, from symphony #9.  Sad to say, the more I hear of V-W, the less impressed I am.  Symphony #9 had engaging middle movements, but the outer movements struck me as wandering, having some interesting sonorities and harmonies distributed throughout, but the major plan escaped me.  Symphony #8 had a wonderful first movement (variations without a theme) but the other three movements made a similar impression, interesting passages, not clear to me what the organizing principal is.  Symphony #7, listened to last night, is the low point so far.  Here at least I know what he is getting at, and there were passages of great beauty, but every time I'm about to get into it, there's that idiotic wind machine again.  It is frustrating because a lot of V-W's interestingly dissonant harmony and counterpoint is very attractive to me, but none of it comes within a context that makes sense to me.

I get the impression that 4, 5, and 6 are considered V-W's best, and they are next on my list.  I try to remain optimistic, but as things are going, it looks like I'll be keeping this set just to remind myself never to waste my money on another recording of music by V-W.  If you've got the Tallis fantasy, you've got all of the V-W you need, it would appear.



I think we have proof positive that Scarpia and M are, in fact, the same person  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 06:23:40 AM
Somehow I feel - and hope - that 4-6 won't disappoint. I don't have the problems you describe with 7-9, but I can understand them completely. 4-6, though, are real 'symphonic' symphonies, with the most magnificent sweep and conviction that only the best symphonies have. I hope you find that too.

OTOH, liking VW for things like the Tallis Fantasia is hardly a bad thing! That's a work that strikes a certain vein very deeply, and that explains its success (if you like it you will probably like the slow movement of the 5th particularly, but then only someone with no heart wouldn't like that one). In VW successfulness tends to indicate that he's really hit upon something special, not that he's compromised for reasons of popularity - The Lark Ascending is the other ultra-popular work which thoroughly deserves its status. In the same highly lyrical vein is the Serenade to Music - and that leads nicely back to the symphonies IMO, especially no 5.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 04, 2008, 12:21:40 PM

I like the idea of liking V-W, but I think that wind machine put me over the edge.  The idea of listening to any more of it puts me in a bad mood. I've wanted time to listen to some Martinu,  so I think the V-W set is going back on the shelf.  Given how much music there is that I want to listen to and how little time I have available, it may be decades before it comes down again. 

Somehow I feel - and hope - that 4-6 won't disappoint. I don't have the problems you describe with 7-9, but I can understand them completely. 4-6, though, are real 'symphonic' symphonies, with the most magnificent sweep and conviction that only the best symphonies have. I hope you find that too.

OTOH, liking VW for things like the Tallis Fantasia is hardly a bad thing! That's a work that strikes a certain vein very deeply, and that explains its success (if you like it you will probably like the slow movement of the 5th particularly, but then only someone with no heart wouldn't like that one). In VW successfulness tends to indicate that he's really hit upon something special, not that he's compromised for reasons of popularity - The Lark Ascending is the other ultra-popular work which thoroughly deserves its status. In the same highly lyrical vein is the Serenade to Music - and that leads nicely back to the symphonies IMO, especially no 5.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on September 04, 2008, 01:28:00 PM
I've previously had a superficial familiarity with some of V-W's most popular pieces, and have been working my way through Boult's set of orchestral works on EMI.  I've been working backwards, from symphony #9.  Sad to say, the more I hear of V-W, the less impressed I am.  Symphony #9 had engaging middle movements, but the outer movements struck me as wandering, having some interesting sonorities and harmonies distributed throughout, but the major plan escaped me.  Symphony #8 had a wonderful first movement (variations without a theme) but the other three movements made a similar impression, interesting passages, not clear to me what the organizing principal is.  Symphony #7, listened to last night, is the low point so far.  Here at least I know what he is getting at, and there were passages of great beauty, but every time I'm about to get into it, there's that idiotic wind machine again.  It is frustrating because a lot of V-W's interestingly dissonant harmony and counterpoint is very attractive to me, but none of it comes within a context that makes sense to me.

I get the impression that 4, 5, and 6 are considered V-W's best, and they are next on my list.  I try to remain optimistic, but as things are going, it looks like I'll be keeping this set just to remind myself never to waste my money on another recording of music by V-W.  If you've got the Tallis fantasy, you've got all of the V-W you need, it would appear.



    I was lucky to have picked up on RVW before I had much knowledge of other composers, so my ideas about what constitute musical development are conditioned by the example of a composer who clearly differs quite a bit. And I don't seem to have suffered any damage since I have no problem with Beethoven or Mahler or Hindemith. I'm actually a little surprised at how the stature of RVW has been elevated in recent years, though I'm certainly happy to see the recognition he's received. His music shouldn't make sense for most listeners, so what does it mean that it so often does?

     If avant-gardists can eschew development entirely, why would it be "wrong" to pursue a different idea of it, unless the tonal composer is supposed to conform? Why shouldn't RVW have the same freedom as the ultras are accorded? It seems strange to me, a kind of unconscious double standard. If I complain about how some avant-gardiste doesn't make sense, that says something about my narrow-mindedness, right? But if I have the same complaint about RVW, it's assumed that the composer is to blame. Really? What I'd like to see is all composers treated with the same consideration in this respect. You don't have to like the way their music departs from what you're used to, or what you like best. If the ultramodernist can be exempted from a particular standard, then so can less radical innovators. I can see this makes a hash of qualitative judgments generally, which is no doubt part of the attraction for me, but it really explains better than anything else how we can simultaneously reward the innovator and scourge the "conservative" for their departures from what's usually accepted as orthodox. How else can you explain how it is that one of the giants of the 20th century writes music that "doesn't go anywhere" when it's clear that many highly sophisticated listeners are convinced it does? (as well as unsophisticated listeners like me, who don't understand what going anywhere is supposed to mean, other than a subjective "rightness")

     
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 01:31:23 PM
I like the idea of liking V-W, but I think that wind machine put me over the edge.  The idea of listening to any more of it puts me in a bad mood. I've wanted time to listen to some Martinu,  so I think the V-W set is going back on the shelf.  Given how much music there is that I want to listen to and how little time I have available, it may be decades before it comes down again. 


Just give the 5th a spin before you do anything so hasty  ;D And then move on to Martinu's stunning 4th - another radiant war-time work, for that matter.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: imperfection on September 04, 2008, 04:30:40 PM
"Vaughan Williams: A British Sibelius."

How accurate is this statement, and in what ways? I read it from a classical music magazine couple weeks ago.  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 04, 2008, 04:33:35 PM
    I was lucky to have picked up on RVW before I had much knowledge of other composers, so my ideas about what constitute musical development are conditioned by the example of a composer who clearly differs quite a bit. And I don't seem to have suffered any damage since I have no problem with Beethoven or Mahler or Hindemith. I'm actually a little surprised at how the stature of RVW has been elevated in recent years, though I'm certainly happy to see the recognition he's received. His music shouldn't make sense for most listeners, so what does it mean that it so often does?

     If avant-gardists can eschew development entirely, why would it be "wrong" to pursue a different idea of it, unless the tonal composer is supposed to conform? Why shouldn't RVW have the same freedom as the ultras are accorded? It seems strange to me, a kind of unconscious double standard. If I complain about how some avant-gardiste doesn't make sense, that says something about my narrow-mindedness, right? But if I have the same complaint about RVW, it's assumed that the composer is to blame. Really? What I'd like to see is all composers treated with the same consideration in this respect. You don't have to like the way their music departs from what you're used to, or what you like best. If the ultramodernist can be exempted from a particular standard, then so can less radical innovators. I can see this makes a hash of qualitative judgments generally, which is no doubt part of the attraction for me, but it really explains better than anything else how we can simultaneously reward the innovator and scourge the "conservative" for their departures from what's usually accepted as orthodox. How else can you explain how it is that one of the giants of the 20th century writes music that "doesn't go anywhere" when it's clear that many highly sophisticated listeners are convinced it does? (as well as unsophisticated listeners like me, who don't understand what going anywhere is supposed to mean, other than a subjective "rightness")

I don't know what you are talking about.  If a piece of music is going to last more than 10 minutes, it has to have some structure to it, or I will find it unintelligible.  I don't care if it is avante-guard or pseudo-romantic like Vaughan-Williams   It doesn't have to have an established structure, like theme an variations or sonata form, it can have a structure that is improvised, but it must have something.  Strauss tone poems, like Tod und Verklarung or Don Juan have structure, Sibelius's Symphony #7 has structure, Schoenberg's chamber symphonies have structure.  These Vaughan Williams pieces don't give me a sense that there is more to them than a succession of interesting sounds.  There are interesting parts and boring parts, and the boring parts do not have any relation to the interesting parts (that I can perceive).  At least in classical symphony I get the idea that the boring parts are there to lead into the interesting parts.  I'd like to separate the interesting parts out and transform one of those 45 minute V-W blobs into a set of symphonic etudes lasting 7 minutes.

Just give the 5th a spin before you do anything so hasty  ;D And then move on to Martinu's stunning 4th - another radiant war-time work, for that matter.

Well, maybe that would be prudent.  Do you have a favorite recording of Martinu's 4th?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 04, 2008, 05:58:15 PM
Scarpia, I agree with you about the wind machine basically diminishing the 7th symphony. For the 8th and 9th, these are works that need a strong grip by the conductor, and I suspect many are afraid of interpreting such supposedly "enigmatic" works.

Unlike most RVW fans, I didn't start with Boult, having generally been disappointed by him. (I have his EMI set on the way, though.) My first was Previn, who is terrific in 2, 3 and 4 (his less explosive interpretation of this has won me over), and very good in 5, though I feel he could have been more emotional (looking forward to hearing the Barbirolli/EMI recording). His 6 fails in the last, mysterious movement (lacks mystery). 7 has wind machine and fruity spoken parts by Ralph Richardson, but is otherwise grand; 8 and 9 are unconvincing for the reasons given above.

I think you've made a mistake starting with the last symphonies - give 4-6 a go, perhaps with someone besides Boult.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 09:12:24 PM
Well, maybe that would be prudent.  Do you have a favorite recording of Martinu's 4th?

YHM
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 04, 2008, 09:42:58 PM
Thomson-Scottish National Orchestra (Chandos)

Bryden Thomson's best work on records are his Nielsen and Martinu cycles, even ahead of the Vaughan Williams and the Bax.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 02:59:53 AM
Bryden Thomson's best work on records are his Nielsen and Martinu cycles, even ahead of the Vaughan Williams and the Bax.

I can't answer to this comparison, particularly, Thos, but I agree in the sense that complaints against his Nielsen cycle have puzzled me . . . .
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 03:03:46 AM
"Vaughan Williams: A British Sibelius."

How accurate is this statement, and in what ways? I read it from a classical music magazine couple weeks ago.  :)

Kind of a strange statement, strikes me as.  Apt enough, in the sense that (a) both were capable and prolific symphonists, in an era when what they wanted to do with the orchestra was very much 'out of vogue', and (b) both composers were prolific and excellent in genres well beyond the mere tally of symphonies.

There are many ways in which the two composers don't 'match' well at all, though.  For one thing, compositional 'vogue' notwithstanding, Sibelius has always 'exported' well past Finland.  Where the Vaughan Williams symphonies for many decades remained primarily a local treasure.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 05, 2008, 03:08:20 AM
There's some sense that each symphony has its own unique and self-contained tone (and moral/aesthetic tone, too), I suppose. Also the feeling some get of 'music-as-landscape' - something to do with large paragraphs etc. I think 5 is VW's most Sibelian symphony - and it's dedicated to him too, 'without permission', which may be no coincidence.

No time to think about it coherently now, though. Ought to be working...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Hector on September 05, 2008, 04:47:26 AM
"Vaughan Williams: A British Sibelius."

How accurate is this statement, and in what ways? I read it from a classical music magazine couple weeks ago.  :)

What magazine would that be?

I do not think so and if there is such a thing then it would be either Bax, mutual admiration, or Simpson, great admirer, but I am clutching at straws as Sibelius' influence was wide and he was liked by the British public and British conductors (Beecham, Cameron, Collins, Gibson, Davis, Rattle).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on September 05, 2008, 05:54:49 AM
I think 5 is VW's most Sibelian symphony - and it's dedicated to him too, 'without permission', which may be no coincidence.

BTW: The "without permission" primarily referred to the fact that at that moment in history (1943) the UK was officially at war with Finland, as it sided with Germany against the Soviet-Union (where Finnish troops were actively beleaguering Shostakovich's Leningrad) and no contacts of this kind (or any kind) were allowed.

(The dedication reveals the same type of attitude towards the war as mentioned here before regarding RVW's text choice for his Thanksgiving for Victory / Song of Thanksgving.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 05:56:52 AM
BTW: The "without permission" primarily referred to the fact that at that moment in history (1943) the UK was officially at war with Finland, as it sided with Germany against the Soviet-Union (where Finnish troops were actively beleaguering Shostakovich's Leningrad) and no contacts of this kind (or any kind) were allowed.

Also a reflection of a time when one did not as a rule publish such a dedication without the dedicatee's leave . . . even in cases where the dedicatee would find the gesture fitting or even flattering.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Christo on September 05, 2008, 06:04:09 AM
Also a reflection of a time when one did not as a rule publish such a dedication without the dedicatee's leave . . . even in cases where the dedicatee would find the gesture fitting or even flattering.

You're right, no doubt, thanks. But again: RVW couldn't ask for permission due to the circumstances just mentioned. So, it is a kind of statement after all, as there was no obvious reason why the symphony should be dedicated to Sibelius (he didn't dedicate his other ones to Richard Strauss or Prokoviev :-) - hadn't he meant a kind of "message" too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 06:05:32 AM
You're right, no doubt, thanks. But again: RVW couldn't ask for permission due to the circumstances just mentioned. So, it is a kind of statement after all, as there was no obvious reason why the symphony should be dedicated to Sibelius (he didn't dedicate his other ones to Richard Strauss or Prokoviev :-) - hadn't he meant a kind of "message" too.

True, indeed.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on September 05, 2008, 07:42:58 AM
BTW: The "without permission" primarily referred to the fact that at that moment in history (1943) the UK was officially at war with Finland, as it sided with Germany against the Soviet-Union (where Finnish troops were actively beleaguering Shostakovich's Leningrad) and no contacts of this kind (or any kind) were allowed.

(The dedication reveals the same type of attitude towards the war as mentioned here before regarding RVW's text choice for his Thanksgiving for Victory / Song of Thanksgving.)

Very interesting point! Great Britain's relationship with Finland was complex. The Finns were regarded as heroes in 1939-40 during the Winter War with the Soviet Union when sympathy was directed towards 'little Finland' in her heroic struggle against the military might of Russia and there was much admiration for the way in which the Finns gave the Soviet Army such a hammering. At that time of course Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were bound by the terms of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.

My father-who had met the Finnish President, Marshal Mannerheim, in 1937-used to tell me that 'Finlandia' was played a lot at that time in Britain as a mark of solidarity with the Finns. My father played the timpani in an amateur orchestra and always found the opening of 'Finlandia'-with its drum rolls-fiendishly difficult to get right!

Then Finland allied itself(reluctantly) with Hitler in the continuing struggle against Stalin and Britain declared war on Finland. Whether this led to any reduction in the amount of Sibelius's music played here I don't know but it would be interesting to find out!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 05, 2008, 10:00:17 AM
I think you've made a mistake starting with the last symphonies - give 4-6 a go, perhaps with someone besides Boult.

Well, I generally like Boult.  I believe I do have a Barbirolli recording of 5, a Haitink recording of 6.  For # 4 I think it's just Boult.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 06, 2008, 03:36:26 AM
Very interesting point! Great Britain's relationship with Finland was complex. The Finns were regarded as heroes in 1939-40 during the Winter War with the Soviet Union when sympathy was directed towards 'little Finland' in her heroic struggle against the military might of Russia and there was much admiration for the way in which the Finns gave the Soviet Army such a hammering. At that time of course Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were bound by the terms of the Ribbentropp-Molotov pact.

My father-who had met the Finnish President, Marshal Mannerheim, in 1937-used to tell me that 'Finlandia' was played a lot at that time in Britain as a mark of solidarity with the Finns. My father played the timpani in an amateur orchestra and always found the opening of 'Finlandia'-with its drum rolls-fiendishly difficult to get right!

Then Finland allied itself(reluctantly) with Hitler in the continuing struggle against Stalin and Britain declared war on Finland. Whether this led to any reduction in the amount of Sibelius's music played here I don't know but it would be interesting to find out!

Yes, this is very interesting. The British nearly found themselves at war with the Russians in Finland in 1940 (Finland surrendered to the Russians before a British Expeditionary Force could be sent out; had this happened Britain would have been fighting Russia and Germany at the same time.)

Sibelius's courteous thank you to Vaughan Williams for the dedication of VW's Symphony No 5 arrived with VW in June 1946, via the British Council:

Sibelius said of VW's symphony: "It is a well-rounded, harmonious and vivid work.  Moreover I have seldom heard anything that is more English.  I do not mean that you were influenced by British folk songs but the symphonic grip seems to me to be English."

Sibelius did not speak English (when he met Vaughan Williams they spoke in French.) The letter was typed to VW in English. VW, apparently, would have preferred something incomprehensible in Finnish, written in Sibelius's own hand!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on September 06, 2008, 04:04:21 AM
I did not know that Sibelius could not speak English, Jeffrey. Had my father accepted Mannerheim's offer to arrange an introduction to Sibelius when he was in Finland in 1937 he would have had to organise an interpreter too since my father certainly couldn't speak French either :)

(If anyone is interested in the Winter War of 1939-40 there is an excellent Wikipedia article-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War
Although Finland had to make peace and cede important territory at the end of the war the Finns had inflicted appalling casualties on the Red Army-a fact noted with keen interest in Berlin!)

Sorry...nothing to do with VW, I know.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 06, 2008, 08:17:08 AM
I did not know that Sibelius could not speak English, Jeffrey. Had my father accepted Mannerheim's offer to arrange an introduction to Sibelius when he was in Finland in 1937 he would have had to organise an interpreter too since my father certainly couldn't speak French either :)

(If anyone is interested in the Winter War of 1939-40 there is an excellent Wikipedia article-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War
Although Finland had to make peace and cede important territory at the end of the war the Finns had inflicted appalling casualties on the Red Army-a fact noted with keen interest in Berlin!)

Sorry...nothing to do with VW, I know.

The Collected Letters of Vaughan Williams quotes Ursula VW stating that Sibelius didn't speak English. However, I'm aware that Beecham visited Sibelius in Finland and they conversed together. Maybe Sibelius spoke some English after all  ???

The Winter War is a fascinating episode in History.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 06, 2008, 08:24:54 AM
The Winter War is a fascinating episode in History.

OT but grimly amusing:

The Soviet commander, Vinogradov, and two of his chief officers survived the battle. When they reached the Soviet lines four days later, they were court martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death; the executions were carried out immediately. The charge was losing 55 field kitchens to the enemy.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on September 06, 2008, 08:26:13 AM
The Collected Letters of Vaughan Williams quotes Ursula VW ststing that Sibelius didn't speak English. However, I'm aware that Beecham visited Sibelius in Finland and they conversed together. Maybe Sibelius spoke some English after all  ???

The Winter War is a fascinating episode in History.

I suspect that Beecham may have spoken French. He frequently conducted French orchestras and in 1938 was invested with the Legion of Honour by President Lebrun.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dundonnell on September 06, 2008, 08:35:07 AM
OT but grimly amusing:

The Soviet commander, Vinogradov, and two of his chief officers survived the battle. When they reached the Soviet lines four days later, they were court martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death; the executions were carried out immediately. The charge was losing 55 field kitchens to the enemy.

Poor Vinogradov's 44th Division was a mechanised unit trying to fight in waist-deep snow. He had lost his supply train with thousands of skis on board but, in any case, very few of his troops knew how to use skis. His men were cold, hungry(no field kitchens :() and totally demoralised.

("The Winter War: the Russo-Finnish War of 1939-40", William R. Trotter, Aurum Press, 2003)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 06, 2008, 10:09:32 AM
Sibelius did not speak English (when he met Vaughan Williams they spoke in French.) The letter was typed to VW in English. VW, apparently, would have preferred something incomprehensible in Finnish, written in Sibelius's own hand!

Sibelius' hands were trembling in his later decades (a consequence of his very heavy drinking for a long time?). He had a secretary to take care of his correspondence. Probably a letter in Finnish would have been typed, too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 06, 2008, 10:10:58 AM
OT but grimly amusing:

The Soviet commander, Vinogradov, and two of his chief officers survived the battle. When they reached the Soviet lines four days later, they were court martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death; the executions were carried out immediately. The charge was losing 55 field kitchens to the enemy.

I get the "grimly" part, but what do you find "amusing" here?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: drogulus on September 06, 2008, 11:54:37 AM
I don't know what you are talking about.  If a piece of music is going to last more than 10 minutes, it has to have some structure to it, or I will find it unintelligible.  I don't care if it is avante-guard or pseudo-romantic like Vaughan-Williams   It doesn't have to have an established structure, like theme an variations or sonata form, it can have a structure that is improvised, but it must have something.  Strauss tone poems, like Tod und Verklarung or Don Juan have structure, Sibelius's Symphony #7 has structure, Schoenberg's chamber symphonies have structure.  These Vaughan Williams pieces don't give me a sense that there is more to them than a succession of interesting sounds.  There are interesting parts and boring parts, and the boring parts do not have any relation to the interesting parts (that I can perceive).  At least in classical symphony I get the idea that the boring parts are there to lead into the interesting parts.  I'd like to separate the interesting parts out and transform one of those 45 minute V-W blobs into a set of symphonic etudes lasting 7 minutes.




    I think you know what I mean, which is why you replied with specifics to the points I raised. And it's clear that what you don't like sounds unstructured to you. It's frequently that way with me. I do get the impression that "pseudo-romantic" is the real problem here. If RVW had the decency to be more radical sounding it would be easier to give him credit for the structure the music has. This is the sliding scale I'm talking about. The "pseudo-romantic" doesn't innovate, he wanders. And if a surprisingly large number of listeners with high standards hear the missing structure, they must be pseudo-something, too.

     
Quote
I'd like to separate the interesting parts out and transform one of those 45 minute V-W blobs into a set of symphonic etudes lasting 7 minutes.

     I'd like to hear what you would come up with, and then we could compare it with the original for structural integrity. I'm less ambitious. I doubt I could make more than minor improvements.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 06, 2008, 12:55:45 PM
I get the "grimly" part, but what do you find "amusing" here?

Loss of kitchens weighs less than loss of men.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 06, 2008, 01:25:40 PM
And you find that "amusing"?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 06, 2008, 02:52:09 PM
And you find that "amusing"?

Yes. Stupid inhumanity can take such bizarre forms.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 06, 2008, 03:03:48 PM
You and Uncle Iosif would have gotten along great, I think. He apparently had the same sense of humor.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 06, 2008, 10:45:41 PM
Thomson-Scottish National Orchestra (Chandos)

Bryden Thomson's best work on records are his Nielsen and Martinu cycles, even ahead of the Vaughan Williams and the Bax.

Thomas

Yes, I agree with this up to a point and really like the Martinu set. However, I think that Thomson's Bax Tone Poems are generally excellent. For example I prefer his Nympholept to either of the other versions on Naxos or the much praised new Vernon Handley recording. The critics don't agree with me but I regard the opening of Thomson's version as more magical than either of the others. His performance of Christmas Eve is great too but their is no rival recording to compare it with.

His VW symphonies Nos 4,6 and 9 are as good as any I know and No 2 is very highly regarded too.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 06, 2008, 11:49:18 PM
While I admire some of Thomson's Bax symphonies (particularly his Bax 6th, whose measured and powerful opening contrasts sharply with Lloyd-Jones's and Handley's swifter, more lighter-spirited readings - I was also vaguely disappointed with Del Mar's much-touted Lyrita recording of this) for their atmosphere and tonal weight, I find it difficult now to listen to his "November Woods" e.g. after devouring Boult's altogether more intense and dramatic version on Lyrita (possibly the greatest disc I purchased in 2007).

(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0231.jpg)

Several critics have declared Thomson's Nielsen "Inextinguishable" the best of all the recordings he made for Chandos. While this is not my favorite Nielsen work, I can say that Thomson's "Four Temperaments" and "Espansiva" compare favorably to the oft-praised Blomstedt Decca and Schoenwandt versions.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: vandermolen on September 07, 2008, 01:17:28 AM
While I admire some of Thomson's Bax symphonies (particularly his Bax 6th, whose measured and powerful opening contrasts sharply with Lloyd-Jones's and Handley's swifter, more lighter-spirited readings - I was also vaguely disappointed with Del Mar's much-touted Lyrita recording of this) for their atmosphere and tonal weight, I find it difficult now to listen to his "November Woods" e.g. after devouring Boult's altogether more intense and dramatic version on Lyrita (possibly the greatest disc I purchased in 2007).

(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0231.jpg)

Several critics have declared Thomson's Nielsen "Inextinguishable" the best of all the recordings he made for Chandos. While this is not my favorite Nielsen work, I can say that Thomson's "Four Temperaments" and "Espansiva" compare favorably to the oft-praised Blomstedt Decca and Schoenwandt versions.

Thomas

I agree about November Woods and, like you, have reservations about his (Del Mar's) much-hyped Lyrita recording of Bax's 6th Symphony (the least successful of the Lyrita Bax symphony recordings I think). I will try to listen to the Thomson version today. I really like Bax's Northern Ballad No 1 and was always surprised that there was only one recording (Boult's on the excellent Lyrita CD.) In fact I prefer the boult to the new Handley recording on Chandos. It is more atmospheric I think.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 07, 2008, 05:12:42 AM


Well, maybe that would be prudent.  Do you have a favorite recording of Martinu's 4th?


I like the recent Belohlavek recording (CzPO on Supraphon, coupled with a very good 3rd Symphony). But I must warn I haven't heard the highly-praised Turnovsky, so I can't compare. Neumann's OK, but the overly resonant sound drowns some of the detail.

Getting back to Vee Dubya - I'm with Luke on symphonies 4-6, great mid-century symphonies by any measure, especially the 4th (my single favorite VW work, and one of ironclad symphonic logic - it actually seems to be written as a kind of parody of Beethoven's 5th, which may account for its tightness). Symphonies 7-9 I find problematic. Of this trio I like 8 very much, but I agree that the quality drops off a bit after the first movement. 7 just sounds like a glorified film score (because it is), while 9 I just have never been able to figure out. It seems to belong in the category of "weird final symphonies," along with Nielsen 6, Shostakovich 15, and Martinu 6. But I get on much better with those pieces than with VW 9.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 07, 2008, 06:13:26 AM
Of this trio I like 8 very much, but I agree that the quality drops off a bit after the first movement.

I don't agree. The three remaining movements are entirely characteristic of the composer: the winds-only "Scherzo" (English Folk Song Suite, Variations for Wind Band), the strings-only slow movement (Dives and Lazarus) and the bells-and-whistles toccata. It's supposed to be a light-hearted work, which is why I have a problem with Haitink's heavy-weather approach to it. When done in the right manner (such as the Elder-Hallé performance I heard at the Proms), it's a delightful piece. Beethoven composed a "light" 8th, too (I think I recall RVW referred to that as n example, but I'm not sure), and that Toccata positively sparkles.

The Antartica really is more of a series of "symphonic tableaux" than a symphony proper, but the tone poems therein are superb. I don't know why you're all getting worked up on the wind machine at all. Why not use one?

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 07, 2008, 07:18:06 AM
I don't know why you're all getting worked up on the wind machine at all. Why not use one?

Because it is a crude device that just makes noise?  Beethoven, Sibelius, Debussy were able to depict storms using their music.  With so much music by these greats, why listen to the efforts of a ham-fisted hack that needs sound effects?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 07:59:27 AM
Because it is a crude device that just makes noise?  Beethoven, Sibelius, Debussy were able to depict storms using their music.  With so much music by these greats, why listen to the efforts of a ham-fisted hack that needs sound effects?

Does that mean Strauss and Ravel are also ham-fisted hacks?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 07, 2008, 08:25:50 AM
Does that mean Strauss and Ravel are also ham-fisted hacks?

If you are referring to Strauss's Alpine, I think the storm scene with the wind-machine is a low-point, but as a relatively short, self contained episode in very long piece I find it less annoying.  I don't recall hearing a wind machine in Ravel.
 
Regarding my vow to put the Boult V-W set on the shelf, I've reconsidered.  I'm getting rid of it;  it's now up for auction for a file-sale price.  But this doesn't mean I've given up on V-W just yet.  I started listening to the next disc of the Boult set, Sym 4 & 6, and decided that for music this loud I need a set that has better engineering than EMI gives Boult.  I have the Thomson/Chandos set on order, and well as the Hickox recording of 6/8 (SACD).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 07, 2008, 08:29:02 AM
Does that mean Strauss and Ravel are also ham-fisted hacks?

Imagine Ravel using a whip in his piano concerto.



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 08:30:41 AM
If you are referring to Strauss's Alpine, I think the storm scene with the wind-machine is a low-point, but as a relatively short, self contained episode in very long piece I find it less annoying.  I don't recall hearing a wind machine in Ravel.

In Daphnis.

The Alpine Symphony has a thunder machine too! Now that's crass!  ;D ;D

And Messiaen uses a wind machine and a 'geophone' (a drum filled with rocks and rubble) in Des Canyons.....

VW is a model of restraint and purity in comparison  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 07, 2008, 08:32:07 AM
There is also a wind machine in Don Quixote. Apart from the already mentioned pieces, I can't think of any others that use it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 08:33:03 AM
Brian 10, for one
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 08:35:06 AM
And, according to wiki (including some of those already mentioned):

    * Gioachino Rossini: The Barber of Seville
    * Richard Strauss: Don Quixote, Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony) and Die ägyptische Helena
    * Ralph Vaughan Williams: Sinfonia antartica
    * Ferde Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite
    * Oliver Messiaen: Des Canyons aux étoiles…, Saint-François d'Assise and Éclairs sur l'au-delà…
    * Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé
    * Giacomo Puccini: La Fanciulla del West
    * Michael Tippett: Symphony no. 4

(I'm not sure that Tippett specifies wind machine, though - IIRC it's just 'breathing noises' that are called for - which results in an unfortunate tendency for the piece to sound like an obscene phone call)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on September 07, 2008, 08:38:51 AM
(I'm not sure that Tippett specifies wind machine, though - IIRC it's just 'breathing noises' that are called for - which results in an unfortunate tendency for the piece to sound like an obscene phone call)
I seem to remember the Solti recording being particularly unfortunate in that regard.

Fortunately I have Tippett's own recording of it (back from when it was the BBC Music cover disc), where it's much less intrusive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Mark G. Simon on September 07, 2008, 09:31:28 AM
I believe Tippett originally called for a wind machine, but once rehearsals were underway, he found that inadequate for the breathing sound that he really wanted, so at the performance, an amplified breathing voice was used.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 07, 2008, 10:05:56 AM
I don't agree. The three remaining movements are entirely characteristic of the composer: the winds-only "Scherzo" (English Folk Song Suite, Variations for Wind Band), the strings-only slow movement (Dives and Lazarus) and the bells-and-whistles toccata. It's supposed to be a light-hearted work, which is why I have a problem with Haitink's heavy-weather approach to it. When done in the right manner (such as the Elder-Hallé performance I heard at the Proms), it's a delightful piece.

Well, one of the nice things about a board like this is it can cause you to re-listen and re-think. After reading your post, I pulled out my recording of the 8th (Bakels, Naxos) and spun it for the first time in a few years. It is indeed a delightful piece. One thing which struck me however: it follows very closely the template used by Hindemith in his Symphonia Serena, written several years before (1949 I think). I'm thinking particularly of the all-windy 2nd (scherzo-like) mvt. followed by the all-stringy slow mvt. Does anyone know if VW was deliberately following Hindy's example here?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 07, 2008, 10:13:21 AM
    * Michael Tippett: Symphony no. 4

(I'm not sure that Tippett specifies wind machine, though - IIRC it's just 'breathing noises' that are called for - which results in an unfortunate tendency for the piece to sound like an obscene phone call)

Yes, I had a recording of that piece, probably Hickox.  That is the reason that in a collection with hundreds of composers represented I don't have a single recording of a piece by Tippett.  (Symphony for large orchestra a breathalyzer test.)  Imbecile.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 07, 2008, 10:21:45 AM
There is also a wind machine in Don Quixote. Apart from the already mentioned pieces, I can't think of any others that use it.
I think in Die Walkuere, right after the opening Prelude and where Siegmund enters Hunding's house you sometimes hear some wind effects (not sure whether they are taped or made by an actual instrument live). In any case I don't think it is in the score and frankly think it is pretty distracting.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 07, 2008, 10:23:13 AM
Yes, I had a recording of that piece, probably Hickox.  That is the reason that in a collection with hundreds of composers represented I don't have a single recording of a piece by Tippett.  (Symphony for large orchestra a breathalyzer test.)  Imbecile.


Imbecile is a bit harsh, but I have to admit I don't find Tippett's music really all that interesting either.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 11:02:51 AM
Yes, I had a recording of that piece, probably Hickox.  That is the reason that in a collection with hundreds of composers represented I don't have a single recording of a piece by Tippett.  (Symphony for large orchestra a breathalyzer test.)  Imbecile.

That is, IMO, much more than way off the mark. Tippett is one of the glories of 20th century music - more honest and humane than most; more brave and nakedly revealing than any. He was an immensely original composer, writing music of the most startling generosity and beauty - but also a fine, big-hearted human being who deserves better than petty insults of this sort.

Letting yourself be put off VW by the wind-machine in his 7th symphony and off Tippett by the breathing noises in his 4th is pretty much the same as rejecting Mahler because of that 'crass' (  ;) ) hammer in his 6t)

Imbecile is a bit harsh, but I have to admit I don't find Tippett's music really all that interesting either.

And what have you heard?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 07, 2008, 11:03:40 AM
Because it is a crude device that just makes noise?

Well, you've been an obsessive pedant, why change?  $:)

Antheil uses airplane propellers in the Ballet Mécanique, which may be even slightly cruder devices. Mossolov, Honegger and others have shown that machine music can be suggested without using actual machines. So?

Quote
Beethoven, Sibelius, Debussy were able to depict storms using their music. 

Yeah, that's the same.  ::)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 07, 2008, 11:08:03 AM
it follows very closely the template used by Hindemith in his Symphonia Serena, written several years before (1949 I think). I'm thinking particularly of the all-windy 2nd (scherzo-like) mvt. followed by the all-stringy slow mvt. Does anyone know if VW was deliberately following Hindy's example here?

I'd have to dig a bit into my RVW lit to verify that, but every time I'm listening to the 8th, I'm thinking Hindemith, too.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 07, 2008, 02:02:11 PM
Tippett is one of the glories of 20th century music - more honest and humane than most; more brave and nakedly revealing than any. He was an immensely original composer, writing music of the most startling generosity and beauty - but also a fine, big-hearted human being who deserves better than petty insults of this sort.

Clearly Tippett's music is much better than it sounds.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 07, 2008, 08:28:08 PM
I don't know why you're all getting worked up on the wind machine at all. Why not use one?

1. It's cheesy. A symphony is supposed to be a musical work, not an IMAX Experience.

2. It's redundant. What are the singers doing if not evoking the whistling and howling of the wind?

I imagine myself arguing with Vaughan Williams on this point; he crustily replies, "It may be a stupid idea, but it's what I meant."
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 07, 2008, 09:53:09 PM
Clearly Tippett's music is much better than it sounds.

Only in as much as every great composer's music is better than it sounds. Beethoven is better than he sounds. Mozart is better than he sounds. And so on.

But Tippett's music, like Beethoven's and Mozart's, is also simply glorious just as sound - to mention just a few, the Piano Concerto, the Triple Concerto, the earlier works for strings: these are about as beautiful as 20th century music gets. Rejecting Tippett's oeuvre on the basis of the breathing noises in the 4th is as ridiculous as M's rejecting VW based on a couple of superficial listenings (or your rejection of VW on the basis of the wind machine in the 7th, for that matter); extrapolating from the same breathing noises the 'fact' of Tippett's 'imbecility' is as ridiculous as M's extrapolation that VW's status is simply a matter of over-compensation by an English nation desperate for some composer, any composer, to call their own. You excoriated him for that, remember?

1. It's cheesy. A symphony is supposed to be a musical work, not an IMAX Experience.

2. It's redundant. What are the singers doing if not evoking the whistling and howling of the wind?

It's neither. As I said, it occupies precisely the same sort of position as the hammer in Mahler 6 (or the breathing sounds in Tippett 4) - that is, as an extra-musical symbol of something that exists at or beyond the borders of the music proper. In Mahler, we have an extra-musical symbol of 'Fate'  - it has to be extra-musical in order to be a shocking intrusion from the 'outside world'. In Tippett, we have an extra-musical symbol of the bare basics of 'Life' - it has to be extra-musical in order to be the blank canvas from which the music grows and to which it recedes. In VW 7, we have an extra-musical symbol of 'Nature' (in its rawest, most dangerous state) - and it has to be extra-musical in order to evoke that inhuman world which is far beyond, and oblivious to, human concerns. To suggest that the singers would be an acceptable substitute shows a lack of understanding of the musics' fundamental dialectic.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 07, 2008, 10:44:18 PM
It's neither. As I said, it occupies precisely the same sort of position as the hammer in Mahler 6 (or the breathing sounds in Tippett 4) - that is, as an extra-musical symbol of something that exists at or beyond the borders of the music proper. ... In VW 7, we have an extra-musical symbol of 'Nature' (in its rawest, most dangerous state) - and it has to be extra-musical in order to evoke that inhuman world which is far beyond, and oblivious to, human concerns. To suggest that the singers would be an acceptable substitute shows a lack of understanding of the musics' fundamental dialectic.

Sure is a shame I don't understand the music's fundamental dialectic the way you do!

Orchestral music conjuring grand, lonely, inhuman vistas of icy wilderness; Singers evoking the eerie call of the wind, the only "voice" to be heard in this desolate place. Powerful stuff, which I think covers everything you say the wind machine is needed for.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 12:03:12 AM
Sounds a bit facile to me, I'm afraid. The voice is by definition the most human of instruments, and what VW wants here is inhumanity, or, rather, absence of humanity. He needs a shocking symbol to acheive this, something exterior to the normal range of orchestral or vocal sound. somethin 'other'. This is why the wind machine is used here, and for similar reasons in Messiaen's Des Canyons.... for instance. It's only in e.g the Alpine Symphony that its use is purely literal - perhaps not even there, though I'd hesitate to make that argument.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 08, 2008, 12:52:38 AM
The voice is by definition the most human of instruments, and what VW wants here is inhumanity, or, rather, absence of humanity. He needs a shocking symbol to achieve this, something exterior to the normal range of orchestral or vocal sound. something 'other'.

Precisely. Vaughan Williams doesn't want 'art', he wants to conjure up something that stands apart from culture and human heroism (or folly). The very uncivilized wind machine is perfectly suited. And it is not as if he would have been unable to do it in the more 'musical' way.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 02:37:40 AM
To add to the list of major works using wind machine - Enescu's Vox Maris, and his masterpiece opera Oedipe (which also has a part for musical saw, for pistol shots and for recorded nightingale a la Respighi). Enescu's music is of unprecedented orchestral subtlety - he easily ranks with the finest orchestrators of all, alongside Strauss and Ravel. If the wind machine was good enough for them, it's good enough full stop, IMO.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sean on September 08, 2008, 03:19:36 AM
Luke, I'd love to lock horns with you on some of the points/ opinions you raise but I've only got time to say hello here...

The Fourth symph breathing is probably a misjudgement but the work is likely his most successful in his late style of shifting surface detail. I always thought symphs 1-2 remarkable documents charting English tonal dissolution, really interesting music.

I can't rate Tippett as highly as you though and don't seriously feel he ever surpassed Concerto for double string orchestra.

Must rush.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 03:48:02 AM
That's alright Sean, you can't be right about everything  ;D

Actually, though, you might be right - maybe Tippett never did surpass the Double Concerto, a marvelous work in all respects. But he equalled it, IMO, more than once. In the same sense, perhaps, (and trying to keep OT!) maybe VW never wrote anything finer than the Tallis Fantasia. But he wrote works which were its equal.

To be honest, this might be the place to say that I agree with you about the breathing in the 4th. It may well be a mistake, and I don't really like it myself. But what's irked me in previous posts is the eager rush to pounce on this sort of thing in order to be able to damn a great musician or reject them summarily - as an 'imbecile' in Tippett's case. It's as if some here are on the lookout for signs of fallibility in a composer* so that they can flock around it, maybe laugh at it, and somehow prove that their own musical sense is superior. Seems hubristic, opportunistic, ungrateful and disrespectful to me.

Personally, I feel that if the composer has earned the trust of others who I myself trust then he's probably worth persevering with; if he's earned my respect in the past but a new-to-me work seems to fall short, then I will try to presume that I'm simply unequipped to follow the composer down his new path, not that he's lost the plot. Composers are more deeply involved in their own craft than anyone else can be, they don't write parts for e.g. 'breathing noises' without thinking the idea through more deeply than any of us have done, and it's ridiculous to simply cast them aside impatiently or denigrate them as soon as they do something like this which one doesn't 'get'.

*Tippett is fallible - beautifully so. It's because he's such an honest and open composer - he doesn't play safe or hedge his bets. That's why even his 'mistakes' are effective and touching. It's also why he's an easy target. for those who feel the need to have a pop at someone great.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: edward on September 08, 2008, 04:36:41 AM
*Tippett is fallible - beautifully so. It's because he's such an honest and open composer - he doesn't play safe or hedge his bets. That's why even his 'mistakes' are effective and touching. It's also why he's an easy target. for those who feel the need to have a pop at someone great.
I totally agree here. Tippett's one of those few composers whom I love in part because of his mistakes, not despite them. (Berwald would be another.)

Very much OT, but I think one of the best uses I've heard of the wind machine is in Scelsi's I Presagi, where the frantic, near-apocalyptic brass writing is eventually drowned out by the white noise of the wind machine. I find it highly effective even on CD: live, the effect is even more impressive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2008, 04:50:43 AM
The wind-machine in the Sinfonia antartica never bothered me, that I can think.  And apart from an initial (isolated) hearing (a Previn recording, I think) in Rochester when I just didn't 'take' to it . . . the piece has always felt to me like a proper symphony, not at all like a concert-work salvaged from film music.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 05:27:28 AM
The wind machine in VW's 7th has never bothered me either. From my first hearing (probably forty years ago) it seemed a perfectly suitable "percussive" effect given the programmatic nature of the music. There are many examples of symphonic music making use of "non-musical" instruments, not just Mahler's hammer but the ratchet, anvil, whip, pistol, etc.

The breathing in Tippett's Fourth is used both percussively (at least I think so) and as weird song: inhuman sound and the most human sound. It's not only unique but, I think, highly effective. Love that Fourth.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 05:31:43 AM
Luke, tried to PM you but your inbox is full.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2008, 05:39:02 AM
One of the 'facts of orchestration' demonstrated by the Vaughan Williams Pastoral and Sinfonia antartica (and the Nielsen Sinfonia espansiva, and I imagine the Tippett Fourth) is that un-texted vocalise makes the voice as an instrument something quite other than, well, the medium of text-delivery . . . and that, as a timbral resource, the 'range' of the voice, or of a choir, is appreciably broadened.

But of course, we knew this in part already thanks to Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Snowflakes, and Ravel's Daphnis
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 05:54:12 AM
One of the 'facts of orchestration' demonstrated by the Vaughan Williams Pastoral and Sinfonia antartica (and the Nielsen Sinfonia espansiva, and I imagine the Tippett Fourth) is that un-texted vocalise makes the voice as an instrument something quite other than, well, the medium of text-delivery . . . and that, as a timbral resource, the 'range' of the voice, or of a choir, is appreciably broadened.

Yes, good point.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 06:33:00 AM
Luke, tried to PM you but your inbox is full.

Sarge

You can try again now if you're still wanting to!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 07:15:13 AM
Chamber much more interesting than solo piano, though I'm not really the one to tell you about it. There's a discussion about it approx. 15 pages back.  To be honest, James, I find it hard to imagine you liking it, not because of a fault in either the music or in you, but simply going by your own priorities as you've expressed them before - I don't see VW slotting alongside these very comfortably. Nevertheless, it's fine music and worth spending time on - hopefully I'm wrong.

But in the final analysis, the middle symphonies are the centre of VW's output and are the pieces that best lead to an understanding of him, I think.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 08, 2008, 07:44:24 AM
Sounds a bit facile to me, I'm afraid. The voice is by definition the most human of instruments, and what VW wants here is inhumanity, or, rather, absence of humanity. He needs a shocking symbol to acheive this, something exterior to the normal range of orchestral or vocal sound. somethin 'other'. This is why the wind machine is used here, and for similar reasons in Messiaen's Des Canyons.... for instance. It's only in e.g the Alpine Symphony that its use is purely literal - perhaps not even there, though I'd hesitate to make that argument.

if VW wants something inhuman, there is nothing that makes trombones, trumpets, horns, oboes, clarinets, violins, etc, more human than a wind machine.  Something exterior to the normal range of orchestral sound can be a novel harmony, orchestration, etc.  In the Anactica (as well as in the Alpine) it is just an imitative sound effect.   It makes sense in a dramatic context (the thunder and anvils in Rheingold) but in a symphony I find it silly. 

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 08:04:48 AM
if VW wants something inhuman, there is nothing that makes trombones, trumpets, horns, oboes, clarinets, violins, etc, more human than a wind machine.  Something exterior to the normal range of orchestral sound can be a novel harmony, orchestration, etc.  In the Anactica (as well as in the Alpine) it is just an imitative sound effect.   It makes sense in a dramatic context (the thunder and anvils in Rheingold) but in a symphony I find it silly. 

Where to start?

In the Antarctica the wind machine is not merely imitative, it is also symbolic, like (I'll say it again) the hammer in Mahler 6 - the context is dramatic. In the Alpine it is imitative - I could make an argument that it isn't but I wouldn't believe it myself - but what's the problem with that: it's good fun, and despite its name that piece is not really aiming at true the same kind of symphonism IMO.

The fact that we are so used to 'trombones, trumpets, horns, oboes, clarinets, violins, etc', and to the human faces of their players, and to the fact that they play in an expressive manner, and that they play music which is so clearly a human construct - all of those things make these instruments human. The wind machine is a freak, an instrument we hardly ever hear,  whose sound is essentially a natural one, uninflected by human harmony, or melody, or by association with human activity. Quite plainly VW wished to choose an instrument that sits totally apart from the rest of the orchestra, so as to create this striking dichotomy between the human and the inhuman - and quite plainly he succeeded, otherwise you wouldn't be making this fuss about it. You think the wind machine is out of place, and that's just what VW wanted it to be. If' he'd chosen to represent the wind with a trombone, you wouldn't be commenting - and he would clearly have failed to find an instrumental equivalent for 'the Other'.

'Something exterior to the normal range of orchestral sound can be a novel harmony, orchestration, etc.' Yes, possibly - and the wind machine is one such novel orchestration; its sound creates one such novel harmony. Please tell me how you would depict something totally alien, inhuman and other in a piece of this sort.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 08:05:41 AM
i have had those for many years, yeah... not my thing you're right.

Thought not. that's fair enough. It pains me to say it, then, but I suspect you might as well steer clear of the chamber music too!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 08:12:43 AM
i have had those for many years, yeah... not my thing you're right.

Move along, nothing to see here   $:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 08:33:17 AM
The fact that we are so used to 'trombones, trumpets, horns, oboes, clarinets, violins, etc', and to the human faces of their players, and to the fact that they play in an expressive manner, and that they play music which is so clearly a human construct - all of those things make these instruments human. The wind machine is a freak, an instrument we hardly ever hear,  whose sound is essentially a natural one, uninflected by human harmony, or melody, or by association with human activity. Quite plainly VW wished to choose an instrument that sits totally apart from the rest of the orchestra, so as to create this striking dichotomy between the human and the inhuman - and quite plainly he succeeded, otherwise you wouldn't be making this fuss about it. You think the wind machine is out of place, and that's just what VW wanted it to be. If' he'd chosen to represent the wind with a trombone, you wouldn't be commenting - and he would clearly have failed to find an instrumental equivalent for 'the Other'.

Good point. "Non-musical" sound effects have been used in music for a very long time, and basically, all non-pitch percussion instruments go in that direction anyway. The wind machine isn't anything more "exotic" or outrageous than the "zzzzzing" effect of drawing a metal stick across a suspended cymbal (as heard to great effect in La Mer) or many other similar unusual sound effects, like the "Ratsche" (dunno what that's called in English) which is used in Till E. (the thing with a handle and a spinning part which makes that funny "krrrrrrrrrr" sound), or the woodblocks in Shostakovich 4 which create that madly gallopping effect.
I think it is silly to categorically dismiss the use of such effects, what counts is if it works in the context or not. In the pieces I know (like Don Quixote, Alpensinfonie, Daphnis et Chloé) I think it works great. I don't know the Sinfonia Antarctica, but now I am curious to hear it even though my first VW expedition did not make me very interested to hear more of his music at this time.

BTW, the first time I actually saw a wind machine
(http://www.natf.org/wad/pix/wind_machine.gif)
was in 1987 when the LAP came to Berlin and played Don Quixote (that was on the same weekend that the BP played Zarathustra under Karajan, the performance that's on the Sony DVD, these concerts were part of the city's 750th anniversary celebration - LA is a partner city of Berlin). I had never seen it before because at that time, the BP used a wind sound recorded on tape and played back through speakers in the hall. So the percussionist basically sat there and operated the fader on the tape deck...in later performances of the Alpensinfonie, with Mehta and Jansons, they used the hand-cranked wind machine.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 08:36:30 AM

Ratsche = rattle, in the sense of a football rattle, not a baby's one!

M, I'm curious - I know nothing about the 'thunder machine' used in the Alpine Symphony - presumably you've seen it more than once. How is it constructed and how does it work? Or is it simply a 'thunder sheet'?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 09:44:26 AM
Thundersheet - usually shaken, sometimes hit with a stick.

(http://www.coepercussion.com/navythunder.jpg)

(http://www.atlantapropercussion.com/DOTWphotos/catalogphotos/sabianphotos/thundersheet.gif)
they come in bronze aswell...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 09:55:25 AM
Poor RVW...( we'll come back to you later) :here's a percussion set up for Alpine symph.


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/129/379781117_4a8d54615f.jpg?v=0)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 09:57:33 AM
The thunder sheet is at the left...


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/146/379781675_4f4ff7ab36.jpg?v=0)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 09:58:50 AM
Where are those pictures from?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 10:03:11 AM
Ratsche = rattle

Or ratchet.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 10:09:04 AM


Mark Jutton's photostream  at Flickr
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 10:12:13 AM
It's just that the score talks about a thunder machine, not a sheet, so I wondered if there was a difference. Or if, in fact, there is no such thing as a thunder machine and anything making an appropriate noise is acceptable.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 10:25:36 AM
AFAIK, a thundersheet = thundermachine. It is always a (very) large sheet of ( rather thin) metal rattled, shaken and /or hit by a hammer or a stick.

I've seen the Dresden Gewandhaus Orch in Strauss Alpine symph. The thundersheet was almost 2.5 meters high.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 10:35:07 AM
AFAIK, a thundersheet = thundermachine. It is always a (very) large sheet of ( rather thin) metal rattled, shaken and /or hit by a hammer or a stick.

I've seen the Dresden Gewandhaus Orch in Strauss Alpine symph. The thundersheet was almost 2.5 meters high.

There is no Gewandhaus in Dresden. It's in Leipzig. You have to make up your mind. Was that live or on video? With which conductor? And where are the pictures you posted from?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 10:42:55 AM
For the latter, he said already (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,220.msg224814.html#msg224814) - 'Mark Jutton's photostream at Flickr'
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 10:43:16 AM
It's just that the score talks about a thunder machine, not a sheet, so I wondered if there was a difference. Or if, in fact, there is no such thing as a thunder machine and anything making an appropriate noise is acceptable.

There used to be a device which basically was a box filled with rocks that was suspended on a joint at the middle, and which could be rocked up and down like a see-saw with ropes going over pulleys. I read they have one of these at the Drottningholm Court Theater, but I have never seen one. There also used to be a thunder machine which looks similar to the wind machine and which is a drum filled with rocks and a lever to turn it. I don't know though if that is specifically what Strauss had in mind.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 10:47:36 AM
There used to be a device which basically was a box filled with rocks that was suspended on a joint at the middle, and which could be rocked up and down like a see-saw with ropes going over pulleys. I read they have one of these at the Drottningholm Court Theater, but I have never seen one. There also used to be a thunder machine which looks similar to the wind machine and which is a drum filled with rocks and a lever to turn it. I don't know though if that is specifically what Strauss had in mind.

I was going to say that the latter sounds like the 'geophone' Messiaen asks for in Des canyons aux etoiles, but having checked with my score of that piece, it doesn't. The Geophone is a large, flat drum with very thin skins, filled with ball bearings (originally sand, I think) and played by being rocked from side to side. My wife has something very like this at her school, it turns out!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 08, 2008, 11:01:59 AM
From this page (http://www.orchestralibrary.com/reftables/perc.html) it appears 'thunder machine' and 'thunder sheet' are different things:

Thunder-machine - Machina di tuono - Machine à tonnerre - Donnermaschine

Thunder-sheet   

Wind-machine - Machina a venti - Machine à vent - Windmaschine
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2008, 11:10:29 AM
Oh, just record a rain-stick, and slow the tape down  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 11:46:23 AM
From this page (http://www.orchestralibrary.com/reftables/perc.html) it appears 'thunder machine' and 'thunder sheet' are different things:

HB thought so too, so it must be true (from the HBS site):

Quote
Brian's handling of the other untuned percussion instruments is fairly conventional, although once again the Gothic provides a [???? something missing here ????] prescribed in Part Two, as are a thunder machine (Brian did not want the tinny thunder sheet that so often occurs and is so ineffectual) and a 'bird scare' (i.e. a football rattle - called 'scare crow' on page 184 of the published score).  However, for the vast majority of his works, Brian employs a normal section in the usual manner.  Thunder and wind machines turn up in Symphony no 10, and an Indian tabla in English Suite No 4,but these are exceptions.

I'd already mentioned the wind machine in Brian 10; I'd forgotten the thunder machine. The LSSO recording uses a thunder-sheet, though, despite Brian's preference - you can see it being played by them in the 10th's 'storm', about four or five minutes into this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh92aJJOw_Y&feature=related), the second of three parts of the 'Unknown Warrior' HB documentary on youtube. I used to rehearse in that same hall too...

Could it look less exciting than it does here?  ;D



Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 08, 2008, 12:51:09 PM
That quote looks like something by Malcolm MacDonald, from volume 3 of his Brian study...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 12:53:25 PM
It does, but it's not (http://www.havergalbrian.org/percussion.htm)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: pjme on September 08, 2008, 12:55:02 PM
There is no Gewandhaus in Dresden. It's in Leipzig. You have to make up your mind. Was that live or on video? With which conductor? And where are the pictures you posted from?

 ;D ;D ;D

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 01:14:09 PM
I saw the link to those pics, but I am wondering which of the two orchestras you saw, with whom?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sean on September 08, 2008, 04:11:18 PM
Alright there Luke, some interesting lines there.

Quote
In the same sense, perhaps, (and trying to keep OT!) maybe VW never wrote anything finer than the Tallis Fantasia. But he wrote works which were its equal.

Tippett's trouble was that he changed his style too much without feeling the same artistic assurance about what he was doing. The later bitty prolix style as in a work like The Mask of time skirts the arbitrary and is a long way from the unpretentious cogency of the Conc for DSO, and again in the similar tough gritty glittery stuff of the Piano concerto and King Priam etc it's a lot easier to sense than really experience whatever logic may be there. I'll take The Midsummer marriage.

Quote
But what's irked me in previous posts is the eager rush to pounce on this sort of thing in order to be able to damn a great musician or reject them summarily

Sure thing. By the way I had a record of #4 on LP once but don't remember the performers, but later bought the Solti cycle on CD, coupled with the Suite in D for birthday of Prince Charles- which I also studied for music 'O' level in 1984-5!! I remember the teacher remarking on the number of time signature changes, and the overall complexity- but of course it's a marvellous piece that resolves itself and works well.

Quote
...if he's earned my respect in the past but a new-to-me work seems to fall short, then I will try to presume that I'm simply unequipped to follow the composer down his new path, not that he's lost the plot.

Okay, though I rather like my own judgement too(!) and it's typical of all artists to shine for a while but then lose that level of insight... Whatever though!

And, I've a feeling I've covered some of those points in the past. Oh well. I'd like to widen the picture of Tippett though by getting into more of the SQs- I've only got hold of the Second, a well-wrought effort.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 05:04:33 PM
Is the theme in the "Wasps" overture which begins after the "waspy" introduction after about 1 minute an original theme or a quote?
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 08, 2008, 06:36:45 PM
Quite plainly VW wished to choose an instrument that sits totally apart from the rest of the orchestra, so as to create this striking dichotomy between the human and the inhuman - and quite plainly he succeeded, otherwise you wouldn't be making this fuss about it. You think the wind machine is out of place, and that's just what VW wanted it to be. If' he'd chosen to represent the wind with a trombone, you wouldn't be commenting - and he would clearly have failed to find an instrumental equivalent for 'the Other'.

Does anyone know what the composer himself said about this? Did he say it was "symbolic"? Not sure I believe Luke's mindreading act...
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 08, 2008, 06:48:55 PM
Is the theme in the "Wasps" overture which begins after the "waspy" introduction after about 1 minute an original theme or a quote?

For what it's worth, the notes for the recording I have say that the Overture to the Wasps does not contain any folk song quotes.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: scarpia on September 08, 2008, 06:54:42 PM
The wind machine is a freak, an instrument we hardly ever hear,  whose sound is essentially a natural one, uninflected by human harmony, or melody, or by association with human activity. Quite plainly VW wished to choose an instrument that sits totally apart from the rest of the orchestra, so as to create this striking dichotomy between the human and the inhuman - and quite plainly he succeeded, otherwise you wouldn't be making this fuss about it. You think the wind machine is out of place, and that's just what VW wanted it to be. If' he'd chosen to represent the wind with a trombone, you wouldn't be commenting - and he would clearly have failed to find an instrumental equivalent for 'the Other'.

I do not see that the wind machine creates a "striking dichotomy" between human and inhuman.  It is an utterly banal device which is used ad-nauseum in film scores, film soundtracks, stage shows, etc.  I'm not making a fuss because I reject the "striking dichotomy" but because I am not impressed with corny stage effects being used to ruin what could have been a compelling piece of symphonic music.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: M forever on September 08, 2008, 08:23:21 PM
Can you cite concrete examples of where the wind machine is used in film scores? Other instruments are used in film scores all the time, too. Does that make them "banal" as such? I don't think so. Where does it say that naturalistic sound effects are forbidden (although one could argue that the wind machine is more symbolic than naturalistic because it deosn't really quite sound like wind, or rather, wind can make a very wide variety of sounds.
Sorry, dude, what Mr O says makes way, way, way more sense than your narrowminded, prejudiced and generalized "opinion". When composers of the stature of Strauss, Ravel, or even Vaughan Williams who I am not particularly fond of find interesting ways to use it, then scarpia's "opinion" is diminished to a value very near zero.

For what it's worth, the notes for the recording I have say that the Overture to the Wasps does not contain any folk song quotes.

Thanks, but that's not worth anything. I need an answer from somebody who actually knows the answer from knowing the musical substance, not someone who read something somewhere. And, I did not specifically ask just for "folk song quotes" anyway.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 08, 2008, 09:52:28 PM
It is an utterly banal device which is used ad-nauseum in film scores, film soundtracks, stage shows, etc. 

No. It is used in films etc. as a sound effect among many others, not in a musical context! If you can't see the difference (which is what I must assume from your words), then there's no use explaining how using a technical device (in the Antartica, or elsewhere) can make musical sense.

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 10:30:21 PM
Does anyone know what the composer himself said about this? Did he say it was "symbolic"? Not sure I believe Luke's mindreading act...
 

Well, I don't have access to VW's writings, but all others I can find who go into the subject in any depth at all agree with me. And I must say that an inability to hear the wind machine as doing anything more than 'imitating the wind' can only appear to be somewhat deficient in poetic sympathy. (I return to Mahler 6? Is the hammer only referring to Mahler's love of DIY?) Anyway, here's Wilfrid Mellers; I start my quotation obliquely to the subject, but you'll see why:

Quote from: Mellers
Riders to the Sea was scored for a noraml small orchestra with the addition of a sea-machine - which might be considered a contradiction in terms since it represents elemental Nature, as opposed to anything man-made, let alone mechanistic. The Seventh Symphony [includes] a wind-machine. The purpose of the abnormal instruments is much the same as that of the sea-machine in Riders....now, as nature's supernatural instruments appear....this paragraph is Nature herself, not so much mimical to as oblivious of him. So the duality of sonata is manifest in a peculiarly direct from

Mellers goes on in this way throughout his discussion of the symphony, but I'll stop there because that last point is so important - it emphasizes that VW integrates the wind machine (and the other 'magic instruments') into a purely symphonic, sonata structure, in a 'peculiarly direct form'. Too direct, it seems, for those who can't hear beyond 'it sounds like the wind'.

Michael Kennedy gives early reviews of the symphony who agree on this point, e.g.:

Quote from: Frank Howes
[VW] has broken new ground, not in the fact that he uses a larger orchestra, but that he has found in sheer sonority devoid of thematic significance a means of conveying his vision and placing it within a symphonic scheme.

And so on. I don'thave time right now to type out more, but there are plenty. The point is, the wind-machine does sound like the wind, of course it does - and perhaps even VW himself was unsure about the suitability of this. But the symphony turns it into more than this - the dialectic which every symphony needs is in this case Man-Nature, as all critics I have read agree, and the wind-machine as an extreme example of the latter, the ultimate negation of Man, is thus perfectly well integrated into symphonic form.

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 08, 2008, 10:43:40 PM
(I return to Mahler 6? Is the hammer only referring to Mahler's love of DIY?)

Yes. What else? Fate?! Utterly simplistic. It spoils the Sixth for me.

 ;)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 08, 2008, 11:14:20 PM
Well, I don't have access to VW's writings, but all others I can find who go into the subject in any depth at all agree with me. And I must say that an inability to hear the wind machine as doing anything more than 'imitating the wind' can only appear to be somewhat deficient in poetic sympathy. (I return to Mahler 6? Is the hammer only referring to Mahler's love of DIY?) Anyway, here's Wilfrid Mellers; I start my quotation obliquely to the subject, but you'll see why:

Quote from: Mellers
Riders to the Sea was scored for a noraml small orchestra with the addition of a sea-machine - which might be considered a contradiction in terms since it represents elemental Nature, as opposed to anything man-made, let alone mechanistic. The Seventh Symphony [includes] a wind-machine. The purpose of the abnormal instruments is much the same as that of the sea-machine in Riders....now, as nature's supernatural instruments appear....this paragraph is Nature herself, not so much mimical to as oblivious of him. So the duality of sonata is manifest in a peculiarly direct from
Mellers goes on in this way throughout his discussion of the symphony, but I'll stop there because that last point is so important - it emphasizes that VW integrates the wind machine (and the other 'magic instruments') into a purely symphonic, sonata structure, in a 'peculiarly direct form'. Too direct, it seems, for those who can't hear beyond 'it sounds like the wind'.

Michael Kennedy gives early reviews of the symphony who agree on this point, e.g.:

Quote from: Frank Howes
[VW] has broken new ground, not in the fact that he uses a larger orchestra, but that he has found in sheer sonority devoid of thematic significance a means of conveying his vision and placing it within a symphonic scheme.
And so on. I don'thave time right now to type out more, but there are plenty. The point is, the wind-machine does sound like the wind, of course it does - and perhaps even VW himself was unsure about the suitability of this. But the symphony turns it into more than this - the dialectic which every symphony needs is in this case Man-Nature, as all critics I have read agree, and the wind-machine as an extreme example of the latter, the ultimate negation of Man, is thus perfectly well integrated into symphonic form.

I'm afraid argument from authority won't work on me. There is no evidence to assert that the wind machine sound embodies some (remarkably specific) concept of Nature - this is just metaphysical hot air. This idea might be more creditable if RVW hadn't called the work "Antartica" and appended a quote from Scott's diary - then the symphony might be seen as an allegorical treatment of the themes you have mentioned. But RVW was too specific, and the sound of the wind is just that.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 11:38:34 PM
I'm afraid argument from authority won't work on me. There is no evidence to assert that the wind machine sound embodies some (remarkably specific) concept of Nature - this is just metaphysical hot air. This idea might be more creditable if RVW hadn't called the work "Antartica" and appended a quote from Scott's diary - then the symphony might be seen as an allegorical treatment of the themes you have mentioned. But RVW was too specific, and the sound of the wind is just that.

Wow - 'no evidence', huh? That's quite a leap you make from the actual content of my post. Please note that I did specifically say that I don't have access to VW's writings; also that I specifically said I didn't have much time to write that post. Finally, note that VW was a composer, not a critic. Usually, composers do the music and others write about it. I have no idea whether VW wrote about this issue or not - he may well have done. But I'm pretty certain that, had he been asked his views - 'Mr Vaughan Williams, is the wind-machine in your 7th solely an imitation of the wind, or does it represent some larger idea? - I'm pretty certain that he'd have supported the latter interpretation. If he hadn't been in one of his sarcastic moods, that is  ;D

Again, no time to write more. I should be working.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 08, 2008, 11:42:51 PM
I'd add though, that I don't find the concept of 'Nature/the non-human' to be 'remarkably specific'. It's a theme that has been used by composers on many occasions. Metaphysical perhaps - a lot of music works on this metaphysical level. But that doesn't make it hot air. Your pairing of the two terms is disingenuous, but it also suggests a suspicion of or lack of sympathy with anything non-explicit which explains your difficulties with this piece.

In any case, hot air would make a wind machine a health hazard, wouldn't it?

Don't forget, too, that this wind really does have more than meteorological connotations. This isn't some light breeze over the Trossachs, it is in a genuine sense, annihilation, and in annihilation we surely have a metaphysical concept that is worthy of expression. One can't but be aware of that when hearing it in the VW 7th, I'd have thought.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: eyeresist on September 09, 2008, 01:01:28 AM
Wow - 'no evidence', huh? That's quite a leap you make from the actual content of my post.

Well, you quoted those passages as proof of your assertion, and I'm just saying they don't really constitute evidence for your point.

Finally, note that VW was a composer, not a critic.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qoZ4sxvsL._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Music-David-Manning/dp/0195182391)

I'd add though, that I don't find the concept of 'Nature/the non-human' to be 'remarkably specific'. It's a theme that has been used by composers on many occasions.

By "specific", I was referring to your phrase "the wind-machine as an extreme example of the latter, the ultimate negation of Man", which is a rather specific attribution for this sound-effect.

Metaphysical perhaps - a lot of music works on this metaphysical level. But that doesn't make it hot air. Your pairing of the two terms is disingenuous, but it also suggests a suspicion of or lack of sympathy with anything non-explicit which explains your difficulties with this piece.

Sorry, I should have been clear that by "metaphysical hot air" I was referring to the deliberations of the critics, metaphysics being speculation on things that are beyond the "real" and therefore unfalsifiable. Music certainly can speak to our sense of the metaphysical - my argument is that in this case the wind machine is a redundant, extra-musical device that hinders this.

...

We could go round and round like this, couldn't we! You'd better get back to work, Luke, and as for me...
"I am just going outside, and may be some time."

(http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0205/larsen03_rotts.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 09, 2008, 01:22:57 AM
Well, you quoted those passages as proof of your assertion, and I'm just saying they don't really constitute evidence for your point.

No, I quoted them as reinforcement that the way in which I've described the wind-machine's use - i.e not just as imitation of something specific (though also that) but as symbol of something larger and integral to the symphonic nature of the score - is the generally accepted one. And I made clear that what I posted wasn't a final answer, but a rushed gathering of a couple of available strands.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qoZ4sxvsL._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Music-David-Manning/dp/0195182391)

Sure, he wrote - I have plenty of articles that he wrote myself. But it isn't his job to provide commentary on his own music. What's more, when pushed to do so, he was often deliberately obfuscatory, so as to leave 'interpreting' his music to others. Which is indeed why the interpretations of others, such as the respected sources I quoted above, are the most readily-available opinions to hand.

By "specific", I was referring to your phrase "the wind-machine as an extreme example of the latter, the ultimate negation of Man", which is a rather specific attribution for this sound-effect.

Not really - in that particular context what I meant was, there are lots of 'nature sounds' in the piece, but the wind-machine is most extreme, the most literally natural. Which is why it occupies this privileged position at the diametric extreme from, say, the strings and winds.

Sorry, I should have been clear that by "metaphysical hot air" I was referring to the deliberations of the critics, metaphysics being speculation on things that are beyond the "real" and therefore unfalsifiable. Music certainly can speak to our sense of the metaphysical - my argument is that in this case the wind machine is a redundant, extra-musical device that hinders this.

And that's where I disagree most strongly - with no wind-machine, VW would not have been able to create a dichotomy as extreme as he does. Having the wind imitated by any more standard source would have been the true hindrance, as the clarity of vision of this stark, shocking contrast between man and nature would have been obscured.

As M implied, and as I said earlier - we sometimes need to learn to trust the great composers. They really did know what they were doing, you know.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: sound67 on September 09, 2008, 02:12:01 AM
Sure, he wrote - I have plenty of articles that he wrote myself. But it isn't his job to provide commentary on his own music. What's more, when pushed to do so, he was often deliberately obfuscatory, so as to leave 'interpreting' his music to others. Which is indeed why the interpretations of others, such as the respected sources I quoted above, are the most readily-available opinions to hand.

Creative artists are rarely good analysts of their own work. Thomas Mann wrote analyses of his novels as to prevent literary scientists from misintrepreting them - not a good idea.

The above-mentioned book does contain notes by RVW on his symphonies, but they're performance booklet texts limited to the overall structure of the pieces.

Indeed, when hard-pressed by interviewers, he deliberately clouded the issues in question by vague and misleading remarks.

Quote
We sometimes need to learn to trust the great composers.

And he certainly was one of them.   :D

Thomas
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 02:39:37 AM
I do not see that the wind machine creates a "striking dichotomy" between human and inhuman.

I do;  there is a ready sonic contrast between the choral vocalise and the 'noise device'.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 02:42:46 AM
No, I quoted them as reinforcement that the way in which I've described the wind-machine's use - i.e not just as imitation of something specific (though also that) but as symbol of something larger and integral to the symphonic nature of the score - is the generally accepted one. And I made clear that what I posted wasn't a final answer, but a rushed gathering of a couple of available strands.

Sure, he wrote - I have plenty of articles that he wrote myself. But it isn't his job to provide commentary on his own music. What's more, when pushed to do so, he was often deliberately obfuscatory, so as to leave 'interpreting' his music to others. Which is indeed why the interpretations of others, such as the respected sources I quoted above, are the most readily-available opinions to hand.

Good sense.

If a composer has to spend all his time explicating his music to the satisfaction of everyone, he'll have no time for his creative work.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: ChamberNut on September 09, 2008, 03:36:06 AM
Hello, I'd like to become a 'Vaughanerite'!  :D

I only have 1 RVW disc so far (Naxos String Quartets and Fantasia Quintet, Maggini Quartet) which I absolulety adore.  Sarge, have you had a chance to listen to this yet?

Last night, after hearing portions of Symphony No. 6 and 'Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis', consider me a fan!  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 09, 2008, 03:41:01 AM
Well, I’m not at work now - though I will be at it again in a few hours - and on the drive home I was pondering this whole issue of wind-machines etc. This isn’t addressed to anyone, nor is it meant to be argumentative in any way - it’s only a few points that occurred to me as I drove. Apologies to those who think I’m taking a small issue too far - but the details of instrumental association and aesthetics are interesting to me. They’re something we normally only sense when we listen, but it’s fascinating to try to pry them apart and examine them a little.

1) First off, there is the mysterious fact that both VW’s eventually-annihilatory wind-machine and Tippett’s birth-to-death breathing sounds use a timbre that is, effectively, pretty close to white noise. I wonder idly if any other type of sound would do; bluntly, if wind went wibble-wibble instead of whoosh-whoosh, would it still be a suitable symbol of inhuman emptiness?  ;D

It’s perhaps not as ridiculous a question as it seems. When composers, especially romantic composers, want to represent this contact with a world of non-existence - in other words, usually, with Death* or the supernatural - haven’t they more often than not chosen a stroke of the tam-tam to do so (Strauss, Tchaikovsky etc. etc)?  The tam-tam per se isn’t associated with Death, AFAIK - but its timbre evidently is, and what it is that produces these connotations seems to me to be the acoustical qualities of this mysterious timbre, full yet soft, not harmonically rooted but vibrating in all areas of the spectrum, a pulsating world of otherness - again, something in the same sort of area as white noise.** Viewing things from this perspective again reinforces for me the idea that what VW wanted the wind machine for was not just the sound of the wind, but this quasi-white-noise sound of emptiness and otherness, as used by other means by previous composers.

2) And that brings me towards my second point, already hinted at by M - ‘by other means’. That’s all a wind-machine is, I think - a means. It’s an instrument, whose place is in an orchestra and nowhere else. Importantly, it has a very specific sound, and is usable only in a narrow range of contexts. This means it exists right at the extreme periphery of the orchestra. But an orchestral instrument it remains. Now, a composer who really wants the sound of the wind and nothing else could use a recording - as VW could certainly have done. It seems to me, therefore, that what he wants is  something that exists right at the edge of the orchestral impedimenta, but which nevertheless just about belongs there.

The point is that, as an orchestral instrument, the wind-machine only sounds like the wind to a certain extent - it retains enough abstract instrumental properties easily to be able to exist as a symbol of other things too (as it also does in other works besides the VW 7th). In this it’s like the sirens in Varese, which similarly are more an abstraction of the idea of ‘siren’ than they are like genuine everyday sirens. In Ionisation, for instance, the sirens may tangentially remind us of police cars or air-raid warnings, but more than anything else they bring associations which impart an atmosphere of harder-to-define symbolism - symbolism of danger, apprehension, menace.  And I’d suggest that, just as the wind-machine brings associations of emptiness/otherness not just because it sounds like the wind but because it is a ‘white-noise’ sort of sound, so the sirens in Varese don’t only suggest apprehension because they may remind us of the emergency services! There’s also something in those alien glissandi which necessarily goes hand-in-hand with crescendi and decrescendi, sometimes sharp, lurching and aggressive, sometimes slow and threatening….

3) The third point is not really to do with the wind-machine at all, but just to do with something hinted at above - the choice to use, or not to use, a recording of a natural phenomenon rather than a close orchestral simulation. VW chose the latter course, maybe for the reasons I’m guessing at. But occasionally composers have chosen to introduce recordings of the ‘thing itself’, with greater or lesser effectiveness. I think this must be a very hard trick to bring off.

In Pines of Rome, famously, Respighi uses a recording of a nightingale. I think I’m right in saying that there hasn’t always been a consensus of opinion as to whether he was justified in so doing. It’s perfectly easy to make the case that this is a cop-out, that Respighi could equally have provided a purely orchestral nightingale as other composers have done - that’s the same argument that was put forward here re. VW and his wind-machine. But it seems to me that there is a deeper level to the use of the recording, one that I actually find quite touching - it seems to me that there is something like a quasi-religious reverence and awe going here, as if Respighi is putting up his hands, walking away and saying ‘I’m not even going to attempt this one - it’s too beautiful; let it speak for itself.’ And it works - this musical ‘frame’ Respighi creates is so magically hushed, and the intrusion of a real bird into it makes it extraordinarily privileged.*** ‘This is too special to be imitated’, the music says.

And yet, what holds true for the Respighi doesn’t necessarily hold true for other music. Alan Hovhaness’s And God Created Great Whales works in a similar way, with self-explanatory zoological substitution - but the piece itself, IMHO, is a comparative failure. Perhaps that was always going to be the case, given the sound to be used; perhaps the fault lies with Hovhaness, who doesn’t IMO provide his whales with the same privileged environment that Respighi creates for his nightingale.


*Forgive the Mellers-ian capitalisation. I find it clarifies concepts for me if for no one else!
**One might expect that a bell would be a better symbol of Death, in fact - because it has ritualistic associations with funerals etc - and of course it is often used in this sense. But a bell has a much stronger fundamental than a tam-tam which take it further away from a dense mysterious mass of approximately white-noise sound, and I have a feeling that this is the reason that is not often used to depict the first contact with Death itself so much as with the rituals which surround Death.
*** Only true if the orchestra is amenable - I’ve heard horror stories about this, such as the time my wife was in the orchestra for this piece, and someone replaced the nightingale tape with one of helicopters taking off….  ;D
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 09, 2008, 03:41:56 AM
I only have 1 RVW disc so far (Naxos String Quartets and Fantasia Quintet, Maggini Quartet) which I absolulety adore.  Sarge, have you had a chance to listen to this yet?

I've only heard the G minor so far (during dinner the other night). After it ended I didn't want to force more chamber music on the long-suffering Mrs. Rock so we switched to orchestral music after the quartet.

Sarge
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 03:45:03 AM
Hello, I'd like to become a 'Vaughanerite'!  :D

I only have 1 RVW disc so far (Naxos String Quartets and Fantasia Quintet, Maggini Quartet) which I absolulety adore.  Sarge, have you had a chance to listen to this yet?

Last night, after hearing portions of Symphony No. 6 and 'Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis', consider me a fan!&n