Author Topic: Vaughan Williams's Veranda  (Read 711152 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4920 on: December 21, 2020, 08:23:51 AM »
The first piece I heard was Tallis Fantasia as a teenager when even though I had no interest in classical music what so ever left an impression.

The first recording I actually purchased was Previn's 5th Symphony. Talk about starting high! 8)

Yes! Previn’s 5th is a performance that resonates quite strongly with me.

On another note, I listened to Andrew Manze’s performance of the 8th late last night and I was underwhelmed. It only reminded me why I never actually bought any of his series with the exception of the first release, which was A London Symphony and the 8th, which is what soured me on exploring further:

“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4921 on: December 21, 2020, 12:34:30 PM »
The first piece I heard was Tallis Fantasia as a teenager when even though I had no interest in classical music what so ever left an impression.

The first recording I actually purchased was Previn's 5th Symphony. Talk about starting high! 8)
Coincidentally that was exactly my introduction to VW as well!

Offline Irons

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4922 on: December 21, 2020, 03:15:37 PM »
Coincidentally that was exactly my introduction to VW as well!

Snap!
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4923 on: December 21, 2020, 03:17:35 PM »
Very nice, Jeffrey. So you solidified your for the 6th quite early on. :)
Oh yes, John, aged 17, never looked back!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4924 on: December 21, 2020, 03:19:00 PM »
Yes! Previn’s 5th is a performance that resonates quite strongly with me.

On another note, I listened to Andrew Manze’s performance of the 8th late last night and I was underwhelmed. It only reminded me why I never actually bought any of his series with the exception of the first release, which was A London Symphony and the 8th, which is what soured me on exploring further:


That was my experience with the Manze recordings as well John. I gave up after a couple of releases.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4925 on: December 21, 2020, 03:19:06 PM »
Oh yes, John, aged 17, never looked back!

Very nice, indeed. I came to classical music later (in my late 20s), but I guess it’s better late than never.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4926 on: December 21, 2020, 03:19:56 PM »
Very nice, indeed. I came to classical music later (in my late 20s), but I guess it’s better late than never.
That's hardly 'late' John  ;D
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4927 on: December 21, 2020, 03:24:16 PM »
That's hardly 'late' John  ;D

Well, that’s quite true, but sometimes I do wish I could have been exposed to it at an earlier age. I come from a classical background on my dad’s side of the family, so that’s what makes my getting into it later on a bit strange. My first musical love was jazz and I listened to this genre for about 15 years. But my love for classical has seemed to supersede everything at this juncture. 8) Once it’s in the blood, it’s there for life.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Online Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4928 on: December 21, 2020, 03:58:42 PM »
The first piece I heard was Tallis Fantasia as a teenager when even though I had no interest in classical music what so ever left an impression.

The first recording I actually purchased was Previn's 5th Symphony. Talk about starting high! 8)
;D

Online Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4929 on: December 21, 2020, 04:01:20 PM »
These were my first two Vaughan Williams purchases. The Boult Decca Eclipse LP probably made more impression on me than any other recording:
Sweet!  :)

PD

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4930 on: December 22, 2020, 03:08:18 AM »
As a schoolboy in the early-mid '60s I sometimes visited the home of my Best Friend, and in the hallway his father had a display cabinet with a repro of the RVW 'head' and the complete set of RVW/Boult/Decca LPs, all under glass.   :laugh:  My actual introduction to English music** at around the same time was the Decca recording of Britten's War Requiem - made a big impression on me.  My first RVW LP was a lot later, the Tallis Fantasia conducted by Boult on Lyrita.

** apart from singing in choirs as a boy alto and not really twigging that I was singing music by RVW, Holst, Parry etc.  I was just concentrating on the notes, no spare capacity to absorb the metadata as well.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 03:10:51 AM by aukhawk »

Online Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4931 on: December 22, 2020, 03:52:57 AM »
As a schoolboy in the early-mid '60s I sometimes visited the home of my Best Friend, and in the hallway his father had a display cabinet with a repro of the RVW 'head' and the complete set of RVW/Boult/Decca LPs, all under glass.   :laugh:  My actual introduction to English music** at around the same time was the Decca recording of Britten's War Requiem - made a big impression on me.  My first RVW LP was a lot later, the Tallis Fantasia conducted by Boult on Lyrita.

** apart from singing in choirs as a boy alto and not really twigging that I was singing music by RVW, Holst, Parry etc.  I was just concentrating on the notes, no spare capacity to absorb the metadata as well.
Interesting story aukhawk.  You can see how much your friend's dad valued his music.  :) One thing to also consider, I have a friend (now in her early 70's) who mentioned how long she had to save up to buy one of Wagner's operas (from The Ring).  If I'm recalling correctly, it cost her one week's salary--as a starting lawyer!

PD

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4932 on: December 22, 2020, 04:13:18 AM »
As a schoolboy in the early-mid '60s I sometimes visited the home of my Best Friend, and in the hallway his father had a display cabinet with a repro of the RVW 'head' and the complete set of RVW/Boult/Decca LPs, all under glass.   :laugh:  My actual introduction to English music** at around the same time was the Decca recording of Britten's War Requiem - made a big impression on me.  My first RVW LP was a lot later, the Tallis Fantasia conducted by Boult on Lyrita.

** apart from singing in choirs as a boy alto and not really twigging that I was singing music by RVW, Holst, Parry etc.  I was just concentrating on the notes, no spare capacity to absorb the metadata as well.
Yes, v interesting. What do you mean by a 'repro' of the VW Head?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Online Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4933 on: December 22, 2020, 04:21:17 AM »
Yes, v interesting. What do you mean by a 'repro' of the VW Head?
I was curious about that too! lol  :)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4934 on: December 23, 2020, 07:22:14 AM »
Well I've always assumed it was a copy, of the downward-looking bronze, because I don't think it was as large as the one in the RFH.  It was about 2/3 life size, from distant memory.  But it probably was bronze because plastics and resins weren't really a thing back then.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4935 on: December 23, 2020, 09:34:44 AM »
Well I've always assumed it was a copy, of the downward-looking bronze, because I don't think it was as large as the one in the RFH.  It was about 2/3 life size, from distant memory.  But it probably was bronze because plastics and resins weren't really a thing back then.

Very interesting - thanks. Do you have a photo of it?
Here is the RFH one:
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 09:36:34 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4936 on: December 23, 2020, 10:35:20 AM »
Compositional Spotlight - Flos campi


Vaughan Williams played the viola, and frequently professed it was his favorite instrument. Along with the Suite for viola and orchestra of 1934, his most significant work for the instrument is the unusual Flos Campi (Flower of the Field), which combines the viola with a spare orchestral backing of strings, winds, tabor, and celesta, along with a mixed choir that sings wordlessly. It was first performed on October 10, 1925, in London, with violist Lionel Tertis, voices from the Royal College of Music, and the Queen's Hall Orchestra conducted by Sir Henry Wood. The reaction was mixed, and even such close friends of the composer as Gustav Holst admitted themselves puzzled by this subtle and voluptuous work.

In a program note for a 1927 performance, Vaughan Williams admitted "The title Flos Campi was taken by some to connote an atmosphere of 'buttercups and daisies....'" This is, in fact, far from the atmosphere of this work. Each of its six movements is headed by a quotation from the Old Testament's Song of Solomon, and it is the passionate quality of that text which informs Flos Campi. The work opens with the juxtaposition of viola and oboe, both playing melodically but in different keys, creating palpable tension. This opening movement is languorous and mysterious, its associated text speaking of the sickness of love, of how it is a "lily among thorns." Nature springs to life in the second movement, with the "singing of birds" and the "voice of the turtle." But the beloved is not present, and the third movement is passionate and agitated, with the viola accompanied mostly by the women of the choir. Men "expert in war" are at Solomon's bed in the vigorous fourth-movement march, in which the violist has an opportunity for some virtuoso display. The music builds to a rather tense climax, at which point we hear the murmuring of voices, over which the viola soars longingly. The orchestra takes up this music in a more peaceful strain, and the choir sings in sweet polyphony. The opening viola-oboe duet returns, but its ambivalence is resolved as the melodic material of the fifth movement is taken up again in a quiet and magical coda.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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When I first heard Flos Campi, I was rather taken with its’ inherit beauty, but it was still rather unusual of a work for me. It took me several listens before coming to grips with its’ structure and what it’s possible intent could have been. I’ll never truly know what this work means and what the purpose of it was, but that’s rather unimportant when you’re listening to it. It’s really a strange phenomenon --- the way the work kind of lingers around and, if mist ever had any sound at all, this would certainly be close to it. I love the piece and even though I remain rather baffled by it, this never hindered my enjoyment of it nor of the ravishing sonorities RVW conjured up. One of a kind piece of music.

Reference recording: Cecil Aronowitz (viola), The King’s College Choir of Cambridge, Jacques Orchestra, Sir David Willcocks (EMI)

What do you guys think of the work? Any favorite performances?

I really should do more of these “Compositional Spotlights”! I forgot about these! 8)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4937 on: December 23, 2020, 12:28:20 PM »
I really should do more of these “Compositional Spotlights”! I forgot about these! 8)
Nice idea John. Didn't VW jokingly refer to it as 'Camp Flossie'?
I like the Jacques Orchestra/Willcocks recording which has a particularly ethereal quality to it.
I remember my parents buying the LP for me, one Christmas, during the period of my youthful enthusiasm for Vaughan Williams:
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 12:31:13 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4938 on: December 23, 2020, 01:03:27 PM »
Nice idea John. Didn't VW jokingly refer to it as 'Camp Flossie'?
I like the Jacques Orchestra/Willcocks recording which has a particularly ethereal quality to it.
I remember my parents buying the LP for me, one Christmas, during the period of my youthful enthusiasm for Vaughan Williams:


A lovely recording, indeed. You know it’s funny the kind of response Flos campi received from his friend Holst. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he couldn’t get ahold of it. I think it’s one of the most fascinating and, yes, gorgeous pieces of music I’ve ever heard, but I can certainly understand how it kind of confuses some listeners as it’s not a concerto by traditional standards nor it is a choral piece. It’s almost like a hybrid of both.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #4939 on: December 29, 2020, 01:56:57 AM »
A lovely recording, indeed. You know it’s funny the kind of response Flos campi received from his friend Holst. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he couldn’t get ahold of it. I think it’s one of the most fascinating and, yes, gorgeous pieces of music I’ve ever heard, but I can certainly understand how it kind of confuses some listeners as it’s not a concerto by traditional standards nor it is a choral piece. It’s almost like a hybrid of both.

Yes, I agree although I've always liked it. I think that my first encounter with it must have been Maurice Abravanel's Utah SO recording.

From WAYLTN thread:
My wife gave this to me for Christmas (as requested).
I think that it's a great performance with a wonderful sense of inevitability at the opening and an upbeat finale which reminded me, in places of 'A Pastoral Symphony':

« Last Edit: December 29, 2020, 02:03:19 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).