Author Topic: Vaughan Williams box set?  (Read 8030 times)

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Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2018, 07:40:43 AM »
With the usual caveat that you can put together a symphony cycle from individual conductors, Previn is the best bet if you have to have a box set. The set has just been reissued/remastered / revamped or whatever - I can't keep track. Nothing wrong with the Haitink set though.

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2018, 09:01:00 AM »
I have Previn, Handley, Slatkin. All excellent.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #42 on: November 09, 2018, 09:42:48 AM »
Handley was not only my first RVW symphony set, but it was probably one of my first online purchases (the Milhaud symphonies followed soon after).  Agree that his survey is excellent.
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Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2018, 09:53:56 AM »
I like Haitink, but part of the cycle suffers from non-ideal audio, IMO. The earlier recordings date from a nadir of EMI engineering, the early digital era when they were producing recordings that sounded too bright and shrill for my taste.

Previn indeed sounds very good now that they have redone the digital masters and I can attest that the 3rd symphony is a magnificent performance.

I also like Andrew Davis, which seems to be a minority opinion around here. And Barbirolli, ah, Barbirolli...

Online JBS

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #44 on: November 09, 2018, 02:38:35 PM »
I would say Previn, if the latest incarnations have the concertos and miscellaneous works found in my version. I also have Slatkin, Haitink, and Handley.  I would probably pick Skatkin out of the three, but not by much, They are all about the same level as Previn but I don't think they have tje extra content he does.

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Offline Omicron9

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2018, 07:34:08 AM »
Gentlemen,

My gratitude for your thoughts.  It is very helpful and mondo appreciated.  Perhaps I should clarify just a bit: I am more interested in a modern (digital) recording than archival (analog) recordings for this set.  In the past, I've found Haitink's tempos comparatively sluggish.  Does his RVW suffer from the same?

Again, many thanks.

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2018, 07:39:08 AM »
It may be you've heard Haitink sluggish in recordings I do not know, or, we may just hear it all differently.  In the RVW set, I should call Haitink unhurried, rather than sluggish.

I would say Previn, if the latest incarnations have the concertos and miscellaneous works found in my version. I also have Slatkin, Haitink, and Handley.  I would probably pick Skatkin out of the three, but not by much, They are all about the same level as Previn but I don't think they have tje extra content he does.

I must certainly give Previn a fresh audition.  But, not this side of year’s end.
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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2018, 07:45:26 AM »
Gentlemen,

My gratitude for your thoughts.  It is very helpful and mondo appreciated.  Perhaps I should clarify just a bit: I am more interested in a modern (digital) recording than archival (analog) recordings for this set.  In the past, I've found Haitink's tempos comparatively sluggish.  Does his RVW suffer from the same?

Again, many thanks.

-09

That seems like an arbitrary distinction, digital is "modern" and analog is "archival." A recording made in 1979 is archival but a recording made in 1980 is modern? In terms of audio quality, Previn's set, made in 1970's sounds much better to my ears than much of Haitink's set, made in the 1980's.
 

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2018, 07:59:00 AM »
That seems like an arbitrary distinction, digital is "modern" and analog is "archival." A recording made in 1979 is archival but a recording made in 1980 is modern? In terms of audio quality, Previn's set, made in 1970's sounds much better to my ears than much of Haitink's set, made in the 1980's.

The following is just my opinion; not trying to pass it off as irrefutable fact and not trying to change anyone's mind.  I can't stand tape hiss, and I can always hear it to varying degrees in analog recordings.  I find it distracting.  I also appreciate the greater dynamic range of digital recordings.  Not trying to convince anyone here; we all have our preferences.  Just sharing mine and explaining why is all, and I don't want to derail this otherwise fine thread.  If someone is going to attempt to tell me why analog is better, I've heard it all before and please start a new thread for that.  Again, just personal preferences.

Back to the RVW discussion, please.

-09
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 08:03:45 AM by Omicron9 »
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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2018, 08:14:08 AM »
The following is just my opinion; not trying to pass it off as irrefutable fact and not trying to change anyone's mind.  I can't stand tape hiss, and I can always hear it to varying degrees in analog recordings.  I find it distracting.  I also appreciate the greater dynamic range of digital recordings.  Not trying to convince anyone here; we all have our preferences.  Just sharing mine and explaining why is all, and I don't want to derail this otherwise fine thread.  If someone is going to attempt to tell me why analog is better, I've heard it all before and please start a new thread for that.  Again, just personal preferences.

Back to the RVW discussion, please.

-09

I do not think analog is better, but analog master tapes from the late 70's can be excellent. It seems you are seeking to cut off discussion of analog recordings.

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #50 on: November 10, 2018, 08:22:55 AM »
I do not think analog is better, but analog master tapes from the late 70's can be excellent. It seems you are seeking to cut off discussion of analog recordings.

Did you not see the massive disclaimers about it being only MY preference?

Geez.  It's a thread about RVW, and I don't want to derail it.  Which is why I suggested starting a new thread about analog vs. digital if you really must. 
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 08:25:21 AM by Omicron9 »
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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #51 on: November 10, 2018, 08:52:08 AM »
You brought it up, not me.  I don't think it is worth discussing, you did. 0:)

Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #52 on: November 10, 2018, 09:17:30 AM »
I like Haitink, but part of the cycle suffers from non-ideal audio, IMO. The earlier recordings date from a nadir of EMI engineering, the early digital era when they were producing recordings that sounded too bright and shrill for my taste.

Previn indeed sounds very good now that they have redone the digital masters and I can attest that the 3rd symphony is a magnificent performance.

I also like Andrew Davis, which seems to be a minority opinion around here. And Barbirolli, ah, Barbirolli...

I also like Andrew Davis, his symphony cycle is very good (No 6 excellent) though the Job that accompanies it is a bit routine. His more recent Job is a fine performance. The performance of the Tallis Fantasia on the BBC disc is outstanding.

Barbirolli, ah Barbirolli - great shame he never recorded the complete cycle.

Offline Christo

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #53 on: November 10, 2018, 09:22:12 AM »
I own the - in roughly chronological order - sets by:
Boult I (LPO, mono), Boult II (LPO/NPhO, stereo), Previn, Thomson, Slatkin, Handley, Davis, Haitink, Hickox, Rozhdestvensky, and incomplete Bakels, Norrington, Elder, Manze.
Without having ever had time or opportunity to make a thorough comparison, I can say that my favourites are Thomson, Previn and also Boult, Handley and Bakels. Dissatisfying IMHO are only Davis (uninspired overall), Haitink (very uneven, the later symphonies the weakest) and perhaps Manze (not impressed so far).
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Offline Omicron9

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #54 on: November 10, 2018, 09:30:33 AM »
I own the - in roughly chronological order - sets by:
Boult I (LPO, mono), Boult II (LPO/NPhO, stereo), Previn, Thomson, Slatkin, Handley, Davis, Haitink, Hickox, Rozhdestvensky, and incomplete Bakels, Norrington, Elder, Manze.
Without having ever had time or opportunity to make a thorough comparison, I can say that my favourites are Thomson, Previn and also Boult, Handley and Bakels. Dissatisfying IMHO are only Davis (uninspired overall), Haitink (very uneven, the later symphonies the weakest) and perhaps Manze (not impressed so far).

Thank you, Christo; most helpful.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2018, 10:24:57 AM »
I have all the VW boxed sets apart from the large box of choral works that EMI put together decades ago. I had all the releases separately so it would have been crazy for me to buy a boxed set featuring recordings I already owned (no comments please).

I largely agree with Christo although I think that Haitink's 'A Sea Symphony' is best of all and also like his 6,7 and 9.
In recent years I've warmed to the Boult EMI/Warner set which was often compared adversely with the earlier Decca set, made with VW in the studio (apart from No.9). I don't think that you can go wrong with either Boult sets unless you must have modern recordings. The Thomson set is very fine and underrated as is the Slatkin and Davis sets I think. The Rozhdestvensky Soviet set is well worth hearing, especially for the organ going a bit haywire and 'Dr Phibes' in Sinfonia Antartica. Previn is very strong in 2, 3 (best of all), 5 and 8 (best of all). Abravanel is excellent in No.6 as is Berglund whose No.4 is perhaps best of all. Stokowski's No.9 is perhaps my favourite. Handley is good in 'Job' and No.9 (especially those harps at the end).
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 10:27:48 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Irons

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2018, 01:16:40 AM »
I am in full agreement with what has already been said. Just some side bits: The Berglund fourth has already been mentioned, his 6th with Bournemouth SO is also very good. Barbirolli, I don't think his name has come up, the 5th along with Previn are my favourite recordings of this wonderful symphony. I listened to Handley's "London" last week (Royal Liverpool PO) and blown away with both performance and recording. The Handley set is a great bargain.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 01:23:43 AM by Irons »
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #57 on: November 15, 2018, 02:29:58 AM »
I am in full agreement with what has already been said. Just some side bits: The Berglund fourth has already been mentioned, his 6th with Bournemouth SO is also very good. Barbirolli, I don't think his name has come up, the 5th along with Previn are my favourite recordings of this wonderful symphony. I listened to Handley's "London" last week (Royal Liverpool PO) and blown away with both performance and recording. The Handley set is a great bargain.

Barbirolli has had a passing mention but he never recorded a complete cycle hence no symphony box set. He is my favourite for the 'London' (he recorded it twice) and No 5 (wish it would be remastered). There are at least two recordings of the 8th, the symphony dedicated to him, of various age and sound quality. He gave the first performance of the Sinfonia antartica and made the first recording (mono only). Nos 4 (BBC studios, 1950) and 6 (Bavarian RSO, 1970) are available in live recordings. I don't think he ever conducted Nos 1 & 9. He conducted No 2 as part of a complete (at the time) cycle but I am not aware of any recording, a great shame as I am sure he would have been wonderful in that work.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #58 on: November 15, 2018, 02:58:21 AM »
I listened to Handley's "London" last week (Royal Liverpool PO) and blown away with both performance and recording.

One of the first versions I heard of this great piece was Handley's earlier LPO version released on Classics for Pleasure.  I remember loving the piece but now have no memory of how good in comparison to other versions the performance was.  I still treasure all those Handley/CFP/LPO Elgar recordings so I'd like to think its very good.... any opinions? 

Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2018, 03:16:35 AM »
One of the first versions I heard of this great piece was Handley's earlier LPO version released on Classics for Pleasure.  I remember loving the piece but now have no memory of how good in comparison to other versions the performance was.  I still treasure all those Handley/CFP/LPO Elgar recordings so I'd like to think its very good.... any opinions?

I also fondly remember Handley's LPO version of the London Symphony. I had it on a cassette where it was coupled with a refreshingly robust performance of the Tallis Fantasia. I still have the cassette but no means of playing it. I haven't heard it for years so can't really make comparisons.