Author Topic: Vaughan Williams's Veranda  (Read 461461 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4280 on: September 03, 2019, 12:38:43 PM »
Schubert offers sufficient justification to even jump out of a moving train. 8)
8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Irons

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4281 on: September 03, 2019, 01:03:39 PM »
Symphony No. 2 - A London Symphony:

When I initially explored Vaughan Williams’ symphonic cycle and failed utterly to appreciate “A Sea Symphony” [something which was ultimately rectified], I immediately found redemption in “A London Symphony” with a work that I could readily comprehend and appreciate. Boult delivers a robust and very atmospheric and appealing performance.


Boult:





Boult captures the lyrical opening sequence of the first movement very well; it is a very pastorale like interpretation. Once that sunrise section is complete the city bursts into life. This is reflected in the pace and tone of the music which Boult drives along at a busy pace which is also interspersed with quieter passages. There is a strong, positive conclusion to the opening movement.
The slow movement is poignantly lyrical with occasional lush harmonies. Bould holds back the momentum to great effect whereby the music slowly unveils its beauties. The scoring is wonderful throughout the movement and Boult controls things very well to get the best results from his orchestra.
The Scherzo is delivered in a rather boisterous and buoyant tone and the mood takes a sudden twist at the end of the movement which ends on a somewhat sombre note.
In the final movement the scoring is rich and lush and the music itself is very lyrical. The tone mostly intense with the music being driven. The counterpoint creates some wonderful tensions and drama which Boult depicts well. The movement also contains moments of wonderfully pregnant quieter sections which offer great contrast. The tone is dark, verging on the menacing. The work ends quietly; perhaps a moment of contemplation.





Previn:





Previn offers a wonderfully graceful and atmospheric sunrise. Life suddenly erupts with a bang as the city comes to life. Previn’s depiction is more picturesque and lyrical initially but soon burst out into a burly, exuberant and turbulent episode which is then followed by the quieter passage which is almost mystical in this presentation with those beguiling woodwinds. There is a robust and spirited conclusion to the first movement with strong brass evident.
There is a strong poignancy depicted in the slow movement but it is also augmented with a somewhat forlorn and disconcerting tone with a tinge of melancholy. Although it is dark the tone does not quite descend into despondency. Previn’s presentation is lyrically on the dark side for me and it is quite absorbing. Previn also exploits the dynamic range of this movement to full effect.
The Scherzo is a suitably energetic affair and I like the way that Previn ushers the music in waves, continuously ebbing and flowing,  through the use of the inherent dynamics of the scoring. I also like the way that Previn handles the change in pace and tone at the conclusion of the movement.
The music of the final movement is lush and lyrical and Previn delivers on both counts. The tone is somewhat on the dark side, perhaps more meditative and apprehensive rather than despondent. There then comes that surge in intensity and pace which Previn drives well accentuating the sense of turbulence and uncertainty in a dramatic performance. This sense of apprehension and uncertainty defines the contemplative nature of the conclusion of this fine work.
This is a strong but lyrical and contemplative version of this work and I like Previn’s vision of the music.




Barbirolli:






Barbirolli’s version of the sunrise is expansive and, I feel, somewhat more considered than others that I have heard. Life, once again, erupts with a bang here as the city comes to life. Barbirolli’s depiction of a morning bustle of a leading world city is valid and exciting. I like his treatment of the woodwinds: it is somewhat understated and subtle but effective. Those “quieter” passages are handled sensitively and lyrically. The conclusion of the first movement is a big, bold performance.
Barbirolli’s slow movement is, for me, a somewhat dark and meditative reading but without being ponderous in any way. There is a delightful ray of sunshine that suddenly emerges towards the conclusion of the movement and we conclude on a positive and more optimistic note.
The Scherzo is a very light and airy affair which is delivered in a very ardent and assertive tone at times for the most part. The scoring for the conclusion is obviously darker in tone and Barbirolli explores these shadows very well.
The final movement is a robust and powerful performance. It is definitely both assertive and atmospheric in its delivery with lots of drama on display. This movement has a fine sense of gravitas and it is gripping, intense and has a strong presence to it.

I have listened to this version relatively recently and listening to it again shortly after listening to the versions under both Boult and Previn I am getting a slightly different “feel” from this Barbirolli version. I have found it to be a somewhat darker and also a more turbulent version than I first thought of it in isolation [which is interesting in itself].

Due to all the difficulties we are suffering here at present I have only just read your excellent survey of "London" - I always think of dawn at Hammersmith for some reason at the opening. I may well change my mind at a later date but I listened to the Previn recording over the weekend and came to the conclusion that this is the recording I enjoy most of this particular symphony.
The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4282 on: September 03, 2019, 02:07:22 PM »
Schubert offers sufficient justification to even jump out of a moving train. 8)

-1  ::)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4283 on: September 04, 2019, 01:04:30 AM »
Due to all the difficulties we are suffering here at present I have only just read your excellent survey of "London" - I always think of dawn at Hammersmith for some reason at the opening. I may well change my mind at a later date but I listened to the Previn recording over the weekend and came to the conclusion that this is the recording I enjoy most of this particular symphony.

You'd be hard-pressed to hear the chimes of Big Ben from Hammersmith, even in the relative quiet of Edwardian London I'm guessing.  But then - dawn at Hammersmith is a very fine thing to contemplate, whatever prompted it.

Of the recordings of the London Symphony that I've listened to, the suprise package is Kees Bakels, I remember liking that a lot and must listen again (today, perhaps) to remind myself why.  Also, about 20 pages back in this thread, I remember Handley getting a lot of love.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4284 on: September 06, 2019, 02:28:51 AM »
Well, Bakels



He adopts very broad tempi in the outer movements - not as slow as Haitink but slower than Handley and Elder and similar to Barbirolli.  In the Lento the music creeps along almost static and indeed there is a pause at the 'climax' as the world seems to stand still - waiting for Big Ben to drop the other shoe perhaps, which of course it never does in this music.
Somehow, listening to this version, I heard it more as slabs of sound and less as tone poems.  Almost Brucknerian, also pre-echoing the Antartica a little.
The recording is very good - as good as anything I've heard on the Naxos label - and the final climax (just before the reprise of Big Ben) is shattering, far more so than with Haitink who I sampled to compare just this bit immediately afterwards.  [belated edit to add though, that this Bournemouth SO (date 1993) is perhaps not quite a match for the golden age BSO of the Berglund era]
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 02:20:11 AM by aukhawk »

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4285 on: September 11, 2019, 09:34:59 AM »
Well, Bakels



He adopts very broad tempi in the outer movements - not as slow as Haitink but slower than Handley and Elder and similar to Barbirolli.  In the Lento the music creeps along almost static and indeed there is a pause at the 'climax' as the world seems to stand still - waiting for Big Ben to drop the other shoe perhaps, which of course it never does in this music.
Somehow, listening to this version, I heard it more as slabs of sound and less as tone poems.  Almost Brucknerian, also pre-echoing the Antartica a little.
The recording is very good - as good as anything I've heard on the Naxos label - and the final climax (just before the reprise of Big Ben) is shattering, far more so than with Haitink who I sampled to compare just this bit immediately afterwards.  [belated edit to add though, that this Bournemouth SO (date 1993) is perhaps not quite a match for the golden age BSO of the Berglund era]

I love that recording of the No. 2. The 2nd and 4th movements are splendid and even better than in other recordings.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4286 on: September 20, 2019, 08:04:49 AM »
Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony


   

 
I have recently posted the above two versions in the Listening thread. This is not a direct A/B comparison between the only two versions of this symphony that I own but rather a personal analysis and comment on the work itself based on what I have heard from these two presentations.

 
The music in this rambling, meandering work has a late 19th century flavour to it, especially in the first movement. The first movement could be taken for a Pastorale given its flowing lyricism but there is something unquiet about it, something slightly disconcerting about it which suspends any sense of serenity. I particularly like the use of woodwinds in the scoring which adds the forlorn sentiment.
The slow movement is a very low key affair and the tone is one of plaintive melancholy. The horn at the beginning of the movement sets the tone for the movement. I find that the trumpet motif is reminiscent of the Last Post.
The third movement opens with great optimism and a blaze of glory but soon recedes into the prevailing tone of meditative melancholy and introspection. In this movement I found Previn to be more upbeat than Boult.
The haunting soprano vocalize in the final movement is a very powerful statement. I also get a very strong sense of yearning throughout the final movement.

To me this work has more of a Requiem feel to it rather than a plaintive Pastoral. Given that it was written in France during WW1 perhaps it is a Requiem for a pre-war pastoral nostalgia or a Requiem for the hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers that Vaughan Williams saw during the course of the war, or indeed both? Either way, I do find this to be a powerful, an intriguing and a very enjoyable work.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4287 on: September 20, 2019, 09:26:28 AM »
Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony


   

 
I have recently posted the above two versions in the Listening thread. This is not a direct A/B comparison between the only two versions of this symphony that I own but rather a personal analysis and comment on the work itself based on what I have heard from these two presentations.

 
The music in this rambling, meandering work has a late 19th century flavour to it, especially in the first movement. The first movement could be taken for a Pastorale given its flowing lyricism but there is something unquiet about it, something slightly disconcerting about it which suspends any sense of serenity. I particularly like the use of woodwinds in the scoring which adds the forlorn sentiment.
The slow movement is a very low key affair and the tone is one of plaintive melancholy. The horn at the beginning of the movement sets the tone for the movement. I find that the trumpet motif is reminiscent of the Last Post.
The third movement opens with great optimism and a blaze of glory but soon recedes into the prevailing tone of meditative melancholy and introspection. In this movement I found Previn to be more upbeat than Boult.
The haunting soprano vocalize in the final movement is a very powerful statement. I also get a very strong sense of yearning throughout the final movement.

To me this work has more of a Requiem feel to it rather than a plaintive Pastoral. Given that it was written in France during WW1 perhaps it is a Requiem for a pre-war pastoral nostalgia or a Requiem for the hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers that Vaughan Williams saw during the course of the war, or indeed both? Either way, I do find this to be a powerful, an intriguing and a very enjoyable work.
Great review Fergus. Those early Boult performances are very special. Friends of mine had the Decca Eclipse LP of symphonies 3 and 5 in Exeter during my teacher training course. We listened to it over and over again, along with their other Vaughan Williams recording - Boult's later EMI LP of Sinfonia Antartica - another fine recording. Previn remains my favourite version of 'A Pastoral Symphony' and 'A London Symphony' (1936 version) together with Boult's EMI recording.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4288 on: September 20, 2019, 09:43:33 AM »
Great review Fergus. Those early Boult performances are very special. Friends of mine had the Decca Eclipse LP of symphonies 3 and 5 in Exeter during my teacher training course. We listened to it over and over again, along with their other Vaughan Williams recording - Boult's later EMI LP of Sinfonia Antartica - another fine recording. Previn remains my favourite version of 'A Pastoral Symphony' and 'A London Symphony' (1936 version) together with Boult's EMI recording.

Thank you Jeffrey.
I am open minded and open to any recommendations but both Boult and Previn have served me very well.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4289 on: September 20, 2019, 09:51:09 AM »
Thank you Jeffrey.
I am open minded and open to any recommendations but both Boult and Previn have served me very well.
Me too Fergus!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4290 on: October 03, 2019, 07:26:34 AM »
Symphony No. 4:


   



I find that this work to have a distinctive sound world of its own which is powerful, harsh, full of energy and dissonance and even has a violent undercurrent in its musical language. The work is very well scored and has some very fine writing for strings. To me, the music is dark, harsh and unyielding but it is always very enjoyable and engaging. For me, Boult provides the darker and more spirited version while Previn offers different insights into the work which are perhaps lighter in both touch and interpretation. Either way, both are most enjoyable and engaging versions of this work.


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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4291 on: October 03, 2019, 10:45:36 PM »
Symphony No. 4:


   



I find that this work to have a distinctive sound world of its own which is powerful, harsh, full of energy and dissonance and even has a violent undercurrent in its musical language. The work is very well scored and has some very fine writing for strings. To me, the music is dark, harsh and unyielding but it is always very enjoyable and engaging. For me, Boult provides the darker and more spirited version while Previn offers different insights into the work which are perhaps lighter in both touch and interpretation. Either way, both are most enjoyable and engaging versions of this work.
Think you're right about the Boult/Previn differences Fergus. Critics tend to suggest that Boult's performance is blunted by the age of the recording (I think that his EMI recording is better in this respect) and that the Previn is the least successful of his cycle. If you want a more powerful, modern recording I'd look out for the one by Berglund which is my favourite.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4292 on: October 05, 2019, 05:59:20 AM »
Think you're right about the Boult/Previn differences Fergus. Critics tend to suggest that Boult's performance is blunted by the age of the recording (I think that his EMI recording is better in this respect) and that the Previn is the least successful of his cycle. If you want a more powerful, modern recording I'd look out for the one by Berglund which is my favourite.

Cheers Jeffrey. I am one who would never hold "the age of the recording" against a recording as the "performance" is of critical importance to me. I was not aware of the EMI recording. How does it compare with the Decca version in terms of interpretation and performance?
Thank you for the recommendation of the Berglund.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4293 on: October 05, 2019, 06:12:34 AM »
Cheers Jeffrey. I am one who would never hold "the age of the recording" against a recording as the "performance" is of critical importance to me. I was not aware of the EMI recording. How does it compare with the Decca version in terms of interpretation and performance?
Thank you for the recommendation of the Berglund.

Boult recorded No 6 twice for EMI - in 1949 with the LSO and in 1967 with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. If you are not worried about the age of the recording the 1949 version is the one to have. For me it is the best recording of No 6. After Boult had recorded it RVW revised the Scherzo and Boult re-recorded it. The Dutton album includes both versions.

Previn's No 4 was the very first RVW symphony I ever bought and I only saw the lukewarm reviews quite some time after; I have never paid much attention to them. The first version of No 6 I acquired was Boult/New Philharmonia. Not long afterwards someone supposedly in the know told me that Previn was the one for 'the fireworks' (nos 4 & 6) and Boult was a bit low key. Again, I didn't let that worry me.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4294 on: October 05, 2019, 06:53:07 AM »
Boult recorded No 6 twice for EMI - in 1949 with the LSO and in 1967 with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. If you are not worried about the age of the recording the 1949 version is the one to have. For me it is the best recording of No 6. After Boult had recorded it RVW revised the Scherzo and Boult re-recorded it. The Dutton album includes both versions.

Previn's No 4 was the very first RVW symphony I ever bought and I only saw the lukewarm reviews quite some time after; I have never paid much attention to them. The first version of No 6 I acquired was Boult/New Philharmonia. Not long afterwards someone supposedly in the know told me that Previn was the one for 'the fireworks' (nos 4 & 6) and Boult was a bit low key. Again, I didn't let that worry me.

Thank you for the information and recommendations. Much appreciated.
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Online Roasted Swan

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4295 on: October 06, 2019, 01:56:44 AM »
Boult recorded No 6 twice for EMI - in 1949 with the LSO and in 1967 with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. If you are not worried about the age of the recording the 1949 version is the one to have. For me it is the best recording of No 6. After Boult had recorded it RVW revised the Scherzo and Boult re-recorded it. The Dutton album includes both versions.

Previn's No 4 was the very first RVW symphony I ever bought and I only saw the lukewarm reviews quite some time after; I have never paid much attention to them. The first version of No 6 I acquired was Boult/New Philharmonia. Not long afterwards someone supposedly in the know told me that Previn was the one for 'the fireworks' (nos 4 & 6) and Boult was a bit low key. Again, I didn't let that worry me.

to follow up on Biffo's recommendation - the Dutton version is one they are selling off in their sale (on the Dutton website) for 99p + p&p

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4296 on: October 06, 2019, 06:58:23 AM »
Cheers Jeffrey. I am one who would never hold "the age of the recording" against a recording as the "performance" is of critical importance to me. I was not aware of the EMI recording. How does it compare with the Decca version in terms of interpretation and performance?
Thank you for the recommendation of the Berglund.
I largely agree with you Fergus as I rather like 'historical performances' like those early Boult ones (EMI and Decca) of Symphony 6. As far as I recall Boult's EMI recording of Symphony 4 is as powerful as his earlier Decca recording but in better sound. 2,4 and 9 are my favourites from the EMI set.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4297 on: October 08, 2019, 08:58:57 AM »
Symphony No. 5:


   



Boult:

The wonderful pastoral opening movement, Preludio, is very lyrically played under Boult. The strings really sing out. The mood and tone, in general, is peaceful and serene. As with any sunny day in this part of the world dark clouds do sometimes appear, here in the form dissonant passages or in an increase in tempo. However, those clouds do drift away returning us to a calm and restful place. Although the strings are prominent the scoring is rich and sonorous throughout the movement. The pace is relaxed and restful.
The second movement, Scherzo, is an edgy and an appropriately somewhat whimsical affair. I feel that the movement does have something of a darker undercurrent to it which makes for all the more interesting listening.
The slow movement, Romanza, opens with a very poignant air played by a cor anglais which is then taken up by the strings. This air of poignancy is enhanced by the further use of the woodwinds. The tempo is slow and the mood is also pensive. The cor anglais reappears from time to time singing a delicate, somewhat forlorn air. Once again the music is permeated by a darker hued yearning throughout this movement.
The final movement, Passacaglia, is oftentimes a more ardent and assertive proclamation of the lyrically pastoral yet slightly disconcerting theme that runs throughout the work. The mood is pensive throughout the movement and it concludes with something of an air of resignation.

This is a richly melodic and lyrical work which nonetheless has a dark yet enchanting side to it. It is given a wonderfully sensitive, atmospheric and a sometimes haunting presentation by Boult.



Previn:

The wonderful pastoral opening movement, Preludio, is also very lyrically played under Previn. The strings really sing out here also. The mood and tone, in general, is also peaceful and serene. Previn also captures those darker moments very well. I like the treatment of the woodwinds and brass in the Previn version of the first movement. The mood, tone and pace also reflect serenity in this music. This is very fine music making.
The second movement, Scherzo, is, for me, less “edgy” and more rounded than the Boult version but not by a huge amount. The “feel” is different however.
The slow movement, Romanza, is a really subdued and low key affair and offers a very interesting tonal interpretation, for me, to the Boult version; more lyrical than poignant.
The final movement, Passacaglia, is a bit more celebratory in tone to me than the Boult version; more upbeat and positive in tone, even if it has those darker moments inherent in the music are still there. I also find that there is less of an air of resignation in the Previn version compared with the Boult version; more an air of quiet finality.

For me, this is a less dark interpretation and a more lyrical a more serene version of this wonderful work.


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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4298 on: October 08, 2019, 11:45:41 PM »
Symphony No. 5:


   



Boult:

The wonderful pastoral opening movement, Preludio, is very lyrically played under Boult. The strings really sing out. The mood and tone, in general, is peaceful and serene. As with any sunny day in this part of the world dark clouds do sometimes appear, here in the form dissonant passages or in an increase in tempo. However, those clouds do drift away returning us to a calm and restful place. Although the strings are prominent the scoring is rich and sonorous throughout the movement. The pace is relaxed and restful.
The second movement, Scherzo, is an edgy and an appropriately somewhat whimsical affair. I feel that the movement does have something of a darker undercurrent to it which makes for all the more interesting listening.
The slow movement, Romanza, opens with a very poignant air played by a cor anglais which is then taken up by the strings. This air of poignancy is enhanced by the further use of the woodwinds. The tempo is slow and the mood is also pensive. The cor anglais reappears from time to time singing a delicate, somewhat forlorn air. Once again the music is permeated by a darker hued yearning throughout this movement.
The final movement, Passacaglia, is oftentimes a more ardent and assertive proclamation of the lyrically pastoral yet slightly disconcerting theme that runs throughout the work. The mood is pensive throughout the movement and it concludes with something of an air of resignation.

This is a richly melodic and lyrical work which nonetheless has a dark yet enchanting side to it. It is given a wonderfully sensitive, atmospheric and a sometimes haunting presentation by Boult.



Previn:

The wonderful pastoral opening movement, Preludio, is also very lyrically played under Previn. The strings really sing out here also. The mood and tone, in general, is also peaceful and serene. Previn also captures those darker moments very well. I like the treatment of the woodwinds and brass in the Previn version of the first movement. The mood, tone and pace also reflect serenity in this music. This is very fine music making.
The second movement, Scherzo, is, for me, less “edgy” and more rounded than the Boult version but not by a huge amount. The “feel” is different however.
The slow movement, Romanza, is a really subdued and low key affair and offers a very interesting tonal interpretation, for me, to the Boult version; more lyrical than poignant.
The final movement, Passacaglia, is a bit more celebratory in tone to me than the Boult version; more upbeat and positive in tone, even if it has those darker moments inherent in the music are still there. I also find that there is less of an air of resignation in the Previn version compared with the Boult version; more an air of quiet finality.

For me, this is a less dark interpretation and a more lyrical a more serene version of this wonderful work.
A nice comparative analysis Fergus - encouraging me to listen to these performances again. There is a wonderful version conducted by the composer which only came to light a few years ago:
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 11:49:54 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline aligreto

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4299 on: October 09, 2019, 08:01:37 AM »
A nice comparative analysis Fergus - encouraging me to listen to these performances again. There is a wonderful version conducted by the composer which only came to light a few years ago:




That is interesting Jeffrey; thank you for the information and recommendation.
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