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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Air on September 30, 2009, 05:36:52 PM

Title: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Air on September 30, 2009, 05:36:52 PM
I need some help - I don't know which one to get.  Any suggestions?  :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: SonicMan46 on September 30, 2009, 05:51:22 PM
I need some help - I don't know which one to get.  Any suggestions?  :)

Well, if the Symphonies are what you are after, then I have the box below w/ Vernon Handley - good luck in your choice!  :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MDJET9RXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Bulldog on September 30, 2009, 06:03:42 PM
Previn/RCA and Boult/EMI would be my picks; the Previn is less expensive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Conor71 on September 30, 2009, 06:42:41 PM
I like the Boult/EMI set - Great versions of the first 3 Symphonies (the others are all good too!) and a generous selection of Orchestral Music as well! (this is a big selling point as some of this is excellent).
The other set I own is the Haitink/EMI set which is also great and has better sound than the Boult but not as complete a package.
I agree it is a difficult decision  :).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Lethevich on September 30, 2009, 06:59:23 PM
Handley, for performance, price and extras. Boult/EMI comes close for all of these criteria as well. Previn is also no slouch, but I marginally prefer the former two.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Dana on September 30, 2009, 08:25:26 PM
I like the Boult/EMI set - Great versions of the first 3 Symphonies (the others are all good too!) and a generous selection of Orchestral Music as well! (this is a big selling point as some of this is excellent).

      Yup, that's the big "everything" box. I bought Boult's first go round (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Symphonies-1-9-Boult/dp/B00007A3E2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1254374325&sr=8-1) with the symphonies - many of the late ones (from 6 on, I think) are world premiere recordings. There are two brief speeches included too - the first one given by Vaughan-Williams concerning his 6th symphony, the second one given by Boult, telling the orchestra that the composer of the work they were about to record had died hours earlier. The mono sound is another terrific surprise - it puts many of today's sound engineers to shame.

      And I know that it technically isn't a box set, but I feel like I wouldn't really know Vaughan-Williams at all without this (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Orchestral-Works-Ralph/dp/B00000IX81/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1254374573&sr=8-1) double-disc set. I'm pretty sure that I read that early in his career, Vaughan-Williams declared that he would never write a symphony. The works on this disc are a good representation of his non-symphonic output, which represents a different kind of Vaughan-Williams - a little more informal, perhaps, and more personal in a lot of ways. Many of Vaughan-Williams later symphonies (say, from 6 onwards) tend to make me feel more like an observer. This orchestra music makes you feel a little more invited, if that makes sense.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Grazioso on October 01, 2009, 03:02:17 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418j6%2BBUkXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Includes the Handley symphony cycle and a heck of a lot more goodies.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Dana on October 01, 2009, 06:12:22 AM
:o **Starts salivating**
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 01, 2009, 06:52:08 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418j6%2BBUkXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Includes the Handley symphony cycle and a heck of a lot more goodies.

I've read reports that the recording quality on this set is very variable and often poor. Is that correct? (If it isn't, then I'd be very tempted.)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Lethevich on October 01, 2009, 09:02:24 AM
I've read reports that the recording quality on this set is very variable and often poor. Is that correct? (If it isn't, then I'd be very tempted.)

There's no problem with any of them, really. There is a noticable difference between the old recordings and the modern ones, as should be expected, but perhaps the people in question simply don't like old recordings, or are unable to deal with the combination of the two.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 01, 2009, 11:24:52 AM
There's no problem with any of them, really. There is a noticable difference between the old recordings and the modern ones, as should be expected, but perhaps the people in question simply don't like old recordings, or are unable to deal with the combination of the two.

This is great news! Thank you! I'm sufficiently acquainted with Elgar's own recordings for age, per se, not to be a problem in sets of this sort; so suddenly this set moves a good few notches up my 'to buy' list.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Guido on October 01, 2009, 02:13:08 PM
I've read reports that the recording quality on this set is very variable and often poor. Is that correct? (If it isn't, then I'd be very tempted.)

Absolutely not.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: karlhenning on October 01, 2009, 02:35:33 PM
I find the box tempting, even though I've already got the Handley set of the symphonies
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 01, 2009, 11:22:30 PM
I find the box tempting, even though I've already got the Handley set of the symphonies

I think now, after these reassurances about the recording quality, it's become a 'must-have' for me. I have some of the Handley symphonies too, but not all; and even though I'm a long-time RVW fan I've tended to listen mostly to a small range of works (eg the contents of the EMI Boult box) - so there's a lot of stuff in this 30CD box that I don't have.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Lethevich on October 02, 2009, 02:37:11 AM
I think now, after these reassurances about the recording quality, it's become a 'must-have' for me. I have some of the Handley symphonies too, but not all; and even though I'm a long-time RVW fan I've tended to listen mostly to a small range of works (eg the contents of the EMI Boult box) - so there's a lot of stuff in this 30CD box that I don't have.

The thing I was most pleasantly surprised by (as an existing RVW fan) was how much of the content of the box was gold. From the way its (mild) detractors talk about it, you would think that there were a dozen discs of miscellaneous minor choral works/songs, but actually there are only a couple and those do not outstay their welcome. The rest is just dynamite.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on October 02, 2009, 03:42:04 AM
Depends what you want-.  if you don't mind historic recordings I'd go for the Boult LPO set on Decca. Otherwise I'd recommend the Boult EMI box or the Previn on RCA.  The Naxos recordings and Vernon Handley's sets are good bargain options. I also liked Bryden Thomson's Chandos box, but that may no longer be available.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Grazioso on October 02, 2009, 03:43:14 AM
Anyone who wants that big EMI box should snap it up. EMI's comparable Elgar box is already OOP, as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 02, 2009, 05:10:17 AM
Anyone who wants that big EMI box should snap it up. EMI's comparable Elgar box is already OOP, as far as I can tell.

Not OOP just yet, I think - it's still around on Amazon, still listed on the EMI website, and at the Elgar Birthplace Museum shop.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 02, 2009, 05:12:56 AM
The thing I was most pleasantly surprised by (as an existing RVW fan) was how much of the content of the box was gold. From the way its (mild) detractors talk about it, you would think that there were a dozen discs of miscellaneous minor choral works/songs, but actually there are only a couple and those do not outstay their welcome. The rest is just dynamite.

Every time you post in this thread, you send this RVW box hurtling further up my priority list of purchases! My credit card number-typing finger is itching unbearably.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Guido on October 02, 2009, 02:45:41 PM
I find the box tempting, even though I've already got the Handley set of the symphonies

Definitely get it Karl - I just gave my Handley box of the Symphonies only to my dad who treasured the gift. I wonderful thing to share!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 07:30:32 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418j6%2BBUkXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I finally ordered one. Thanks to those here who helped me decide.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 07:37:37 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418j6%2BBUkXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I finally ordered one. Thanks to those here who helped me decide.

Cool beans! :)  I was looking at another big emi box recently-- the Elgar one, but don't know how the recordings stand... it's such a tempting bargain. :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 07:45:24 AM
Cool beans! :)  I was looking at another big emi box recently-- the Elgar one, but don't know how the recordings stand... it's such a tempting bargain. :)

The only reason I don't have that set is because when I checked through its contents I found that I already had almost all of the recordings as separate CDs and box sets. If they were stolen by an Elgar-obsessed burglar, and I had to replace them, I'd buy the big Elgar box straight away, day one, no reservations at all. Many of those recordings are classics. I presume the documentation is minimal (as with the RVW box), but that's the only downside I can think of.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 07:47:26 AM
Aha I should buy with confidence then! :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 07:53:14 AM
Aha I should buy with confidence then!

Well, if that box set is rubbish, then a very large chunk of my Elgar collection is rubbish too!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Grazioso on October 08, 2009, 04:38:51 AM
Cool beans! :)  I was looking at another big emi box recently-- the Elgar one, but don't know how the recordings stand... it's such a tempting bargain. :)

Here's a detailed review: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2007/Oct07/Elgar_Collectors_5036032.htm

 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: DavidW on October 08, 2009, 04:58:17 AM
Thanks Grazioso, very indepth review.  I like that Barbirolli is highlighted alot in that set.  His cello concerto with Du Pre and Sea Pictures with Baker is top notch, I would imagine that his other recordings would reach that level too. :)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Elgarian on October 08, 2009, 05:33:00 AM
Thanks Grazioso, very indepth review.  I like that Barbirolli is highlighted alot in that set.  His cello concerto with Du Pre and Sea Pictures with Baker is top notch, I would imagine that his other recordings would reach that level too. :)

Barbirolli and Boult are fabulous Elgarians.

I forgot to mention earlier that there is one clear downside to this 30CD set: it contains the wrong version of the wonderful, incomprehensibly neglected major work, The Spirit of England. The one you get is Hickox/Felicity Lott. The one you want (no, need) is Gibson/Teresa Cahill.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on October 11, 2009, 10:43:23 AM
Just wanted to add that one of the advantages of the Handley cheapo CFP box is that it comes with a great performance of 'Job' - one of the composer's best works. Actually I think that the performance of Job is the best performance in the set.  The symphonies are well played but none are top choices (many would disagree about nos 5 and 6). The harps at the end of the valedictory ( ;D) Ninth Symphony, however, come over more clearly than in any other performance.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Mirror Image on August 11, 2010, 07:43:17 AM
Previn/RCA and Boult/EMI would be my picks; the Previn is less expensive.

But the Previn suffers from terrible audio. Not a first choice and just because it's got a lower price doesn't make it that much more attractive.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Mirror Image on August 11, 2010, 07:48:48 AM
I also liked Bryden Thomson's Chandos box, but that may no longer be available.

It's still in-print, but now it comes with a pretty hefty price tag:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Brian-Rayner-Cook/dp/B000000AQ2/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1281545115&sr=1-11 (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Brian-Rayner-Cook/dp/B000000AQ2/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1281545115&sr=1-11)
 
I personally find Thomson's cycle to be one of the most satisfying. I own all of the symphony cycles and Thomson, Andrew Davis, and Boult (EMI) have impressed me the most in terms of performance and audio quality, but I do have some favorite performances outside of these cycles as well.
 
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2010, 12:58:51 PM

It's still in-print, but now it comes with a pretty hefty price tag:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Brian-Rayner-Cook/dp/B000000AQ2/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1281545115&sr=1-11 (http://www.amazon.com/Vaughan-Williams-Brian-Rayner-Cook/dp/B000000AQ2/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1281545115&sr=1-11)
 
I personally find Thomson's cycle to be one of the most satisfying. I own all of the symphony cycles and Thomson, Andrew Davis, and Boult (EMI) have impressed me the most in terms of performance and audio quality, but I do have some favorite performances outside of these cycles as well.

Yes, I own all the box sets too (now, there's a surprise  :D). I think that Thomson's Vaughan Williams and Bax sets are underrated. I actually prefer Thomson to the much lauded Vernon Handley set of Bax symphonies. I think that Previn's is by far the best  A Pastoral Symphony on RCA and I would not be without Wood or Hickox's versions of A London Symphony or Berglund's recordings of 4 and 6, Barbirolli's No 5 (EMI) or Stokowski's No 9 (Cala).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Mirror Image on August 11, 2010, 01:15:50 PM
Yes, I own all the box sets too (now, there's a surprise  :D ). I think that Thomson's Vaughan Williams and Bax sets are underrated. I actually prefer Thomson to the much lauded Vernon Handley set of Bax symphonies. I think that Previn's is by far the best  A Pastoral Symphony on RCA and I would not be without Wood or Hickox's versions of A London Symphony or Berglund's recordings of 4 and 6, Barbirolli's No 5 (EMI) or Stokowski's No 9 (Cala).

I just can't get onboard with Previn's RCA set (or Vernon Handley's but for different reasons), because of the audio quality. I just can't get past it. Slatkin in mediocre. The Naxos set with Bakels/Daniel isn't that great. Haitink misses the mark too often and doesn't get the kind of emotion I would like to hear from the music. Both of Boult's accounts are really good with the EMI set winning easily for me mainly because of my audiophile nitpicking.
 
I really enjoyed Thomson's Bax recordings (the symphonies and various orchestral works), but comparing his RVW performances with other RVW performances, I find that, overall, he wins for me. His pacing of the music is so assured. Thomson's reading of A Pastoral Symphony is one of the best I've heard of any set. Andrew Davis is another that just really recorded a consistent cycle of high-quality performances.
 
Of individual releases outside of the box sets, Berglund's 4th & 6th, Barbirolli's 5th (EMI), Menuhin's 5th, Previn's 5th (Telarc), Bernstein's 4th, Hickox's London Symphony, and Spano's A Sea Symphony.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Lethevich on August 12, 2010, 04:57:24 AM
 :'( I wish Thomson's RVW went down in price, as at the moment it is surely the only non-budget RVW set out of almost a dozen available, and at the same time it is the one that intrigues me the most. I've heard low quality snippets here and there, but it's a shame that Chandos seems to have forgotten about it. Part of the reason of the success of Handley's Bax cycle was its great price.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: drogulus on August 12, 2010, 05:18:00 AM
:'( I wish Thomson's RVW went down in price, as at the moment it is surely the only non-budget RVW set out of almost a dozen available, and at the same time it is the one that intrigues me the most. I've heard low quality snippets here and there, but it's a shame that Chandos seems to have forgotten about it. Part of the reason of the success of Handley's Bax cycle was its great price.

     I'm well provided for in RVW symphonies with the Boult/EMI set and various singles like Barbirolli 2, 5, and 8, Thomson 4, Berglund  4, Abravanel 6, Bakels 7 & 8, and Handley 1. There are others as well. So I'm not exactly pining for more versions. If I did get another complete set it would be the Thomson.

     I'm also interested in Thomson's Bax set. The thing with Handley is that he has a deadpan approach that works well in some pieces and less well in others. Sometimes he skates over details that should be highlighted. His mentor Boult was far better at underlining detail in a subtle manner. This is wildly OT but Boult's Everest recording of Hindemith's Symphony in E flat is superb!
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Mirror Image on August 12, 2010, 05:36:59 AM
:'( I wish Thomson's RVW went down in price, as at the moment it is surely the only non-budget RVW set out of almost a dozen available, and at the same time it is the one that intrigues me the most. I've heard low quality snippets here and there, but it's a shame that Chandos seems to have forgotten about it. Part of the reason of the success of Handley's Bax cycle was its great price.

I bought my Thomson set last summer and got it around $35. I felt at the time that this was going to be as low the set will probably get and so far I'm right.
 
I will say, however, that the set is worth every penny. It is one of my favorite RVW sets and the companion 2-CD set of concertos is also a must-own. There's also a single recording of some of other RVW orchestral works outside of the symphonies and concerti that I also had bought during this time.
 
My biggest question is why don't Chandos just re-release all of the RVW/Thomson recordings and put them in a box set? This would be ideal for the collector, but it just seems, in general, that Thomson's recordings aren't getting fair treatment and it's a shame considering all of what he has done for English music. His Bax symphony set is out-of-print as are his Nielsen recordings. I mean is the kind of treatment this great conductor deserves? I don't think so.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: drogulus on August 13, 2010, 05:30:22 AM

I bought my Thomson set last summer and got it around $35. I felt at the time that this was going to be as low the set will probably get and so far I'm right.
 

     That was a good move. I've never heard a bad word about the Thomson set, and based on his reading of the 4th I want to hear more.

     I have the giant RVW box set with the Handley symphony cycle which is sitting on my HD as yet unexplored. I really should get on with it.

 
My biggest question is why don't Chandos just re-release all of the RVW/Thomson recordings and put them in a box set? This would be ideal for the collector, but it just seems, in general, that Thomson's recordings aren't getting fair treatment and it's a shame considering all of what he has done for English music. His Bax symphony set is out-of-print as are his Nielsen recordings. I mean is the kind of treatment this great conductor deserves? I don't think so.

     Hickox and Handley get priority, and I imagine they want the investment made in these conductors to pay off now. Later they will prepare new releases of Thomson when it won't interfere with newer recordings. Someone who resembles an insurance actuary or an intelligent insect of some kind is busy calculating the optimum scheduling of these events. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)

Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 on November 09, 2018, 07:15:05 AM
Reviving an old thread.  Since these posts, any new thoughts on RVW box sets that have been released in the past 8 years or so?  I'm tempted by the Haitink set.  Thoughts/opinions/knock-knock jokes welcomed.

Regards and TIA,
-09
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 09, 2018, 07:30:01 AM
I am a great fan of the Haitink set.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 on November 09, 2018, 07:31:04 AM
I am a great fan of the Haitink set.

Many thanks, Dr.

-09
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Ken B on November 09, 2018, 09:01:00 AM
I have Previn, Handley, Slatkin. All excellent.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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...
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: JBS 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 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.

-09
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 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
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 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. 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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:)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Christo 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).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen 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).
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Irons 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Roasted Swan 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? 
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 15, 2018, 03:22:34 AM
I love the Haitink and never quite understand why others don't like it.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 15, 2018, 04:49:13 AM
[...] I listened to Handley's "London" last week (Royal Liverpool PO) and blown away with both performance and recording.

Trippy:  I listened to this, myself, just a coupla days ago.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on November 15, 2018, 06:08:03 AM
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.
I preferred Handley's LPO version of A London Symphony to the later Liverpool version. However, his No.6 was better IMHO in the later Liverpool version. Barbirolli's EMI 5th Symphony is my favourite, his Bavarian No.6 is worth hearing as well (Orfeo).

I think that the original plan was for Boult and Barbirolli to share the EMI cycle but after Barbirolli died Boult re-recorded nos 2 and 5.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Omicron9 on November 15, 2018, 07:26:50 AM
All,

This has been helpful, insightful, and interesting.  I've ordered the remastered Previn box (I also like that it contains the Tuba Concerto).

Thanks again,
-09
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on November 15, 2018, 08:26:53 AM
All,

This has been helpful, insightful, and interesting.  I've ordered the remastered Previn box (I also like that it contains the Tuba Concerto).

Thanks again,
-09

And 'Three Portraits from the England of Elizabeth' which I rather like.
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: Christo on November 15, 2018, 08:36:47 AM
And 'Three Portraits from the England of Elizabeth' which I rather like.
Like?!? It's terrific! And this is the best performance, too (out of three available).  8)
Title: Re: Vaughan Williams box set?
Post by: vandermolen on November 15, 2018, 08:45:14 AM
Like?!? It's terrific! And this is the best performance, too (out of three available).  8)
Haha - yes, I understated my enthusiasm for it! And, yes, it is the best of the three versions (Marco Polo/Naxos/Chandos/RCA).
 ;D

I shall listen to it tonight as an act of penance.