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  • A Pastoral Sym/Sym
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A Pastoral Sym/Sym

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000002S2P
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Molto moderato
2. II. Lento moderato
3. III. Moderato pesante - Presto
4. IV. Lento - Moderato maestoso
5. I. Preludio (Moderato - Allegro - Tempo I)
6. II. Scherzo (Presto misterioso)
7. III. Romanza (Lento)
8. IV. Passacaglia (Moderato - Allegro - Tempo primo - Tempo del Preludio)

Product Description

These are two of Vaughan Williams's greatest symphonies. (Some think his Fifth is his best.) The Third Symphony (1922), subtitled "The Pastoral Symphony," brings to mind the lush imagery of the English countryside and is filled with heartbreaking melodies. (It was written in part while the composer was in the service in WWI.) His Fifth Symphony (1943) is an outgrowth of the music from his great opera, The Pilgrim's Progress, eventually published in 1951. In part, the symphony is a return to his warmer style, a turn away from the acerbic Fourth Symphony, which the public hated. And, yes, it probably is his greatest symphony. --Paul Cook

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Format: Audio CD
The critics really make it hard for those of us who love the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams. It's bad enough that Aaron Copland once said that listening to Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 5 was like staring at a cow for 45 minutes. It's even worse that Tim Page, music critic for the Washington Post, likened The Lark Ascending--my nomination for the most purely beautiful piece of music ever written--to a lovely but vapid woman you're embarrassed to remember you were once in love with. But the absolutely last straw has been broken: the author of a new, violently condemnatory biography of the late Anthony Burgess uses Burgess' choice of Vaughan Williams for his appearance on the BBC's "Desert Island Discs" as proof positive of the essential mediocrity of Burgess' mind.
OK, maybe I'm mediocre too (and I'd be perfectly happy to be as mediocre as Anthony Burgess!). But I STILL consider Vaughan Williams one of the most remarkable composers of the 20th century, and certainly one of the most consistently delightful. His Third (Pastoral) and Fifth Symphonies have a soulful richness and luminosity few 20th-century works can match, and it's hard to imagine finer or more idiomatic versions of them than those conducted by the late Sir Adrian Boult. Particularly at its mid-level price, this CD is a must for anyone interested in English music.
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Format: Audio CD
The Third and Fifth symphonies of Vaughan Williams are among his most peaceful and serene of his works. I once heard a commentator on public radio say that he listened to the Fifth symphony before boarding a plane. If the unthinkable happened and the plane when down, he contended that he would be better prepared to accept his death have reached so serene a state. The Fifth was written when Vaughan Williams was in his early 70�s, and the mood of reflection and peace associated with the music made may think the composer had entered a state of restful reflection. They did not dream that he would write four more symphonies that would prove Vaughan Williams had more fire in him than suspected.
The Third symphony (Pastoral) also has a similar feeling of reflection. It is odd that it was written in France during the First World War while Vaughan Williams was in the ambulance corps. I think of it as hearkening back to a time before the war when the French countryside, now blasted by shells, was a peaceful place.
These recordings are among the best conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, and although they date from the early 1950s they have been so beautifully remastered that it will not matter they are not digital recordings. The subtle orchestral shadings in both symphonies are magical and have rarely been caught so precisely. A must for those interested in Vaughan Williams�s music.
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Format: Audio CD
I remember my first encounter with Vaughan Williams; it was, of course, his Symphony No. 2 ("London")--- and doesn't it always seem to be THIS particular symphony, especially when you're young, like I was, and open to music you may never have heard. Naturally, I thought it was grand, and it is. As is his Symphony No. 7 ("Sinfonia Antartica"), which I discovered soon afterwards and also felt thrilled by. As a novice, I fell easily under the accessibility of these works--- and the spells they cast. I would never give up this period of some thirty years ago, or the hunger that drove me to search out more and more music, or the growth that it incurred.
However, time and age intervene, as they are apt to do, and our vision widens, our experience broadens, life, with its diverse pleasure and pain, enables us or forces us to open ourselves even further. Thus I came to VW's Symphonies No.'s 3 and 5, not because I had never heard them or owned them. To the contrary, I collected three complete sets of the VW Symphonies, in my LP days, the Boult included; but I never REALLY heard them. And these two symphonies in particular never really "touched" me... barely even listened to them... until now, years and years later.
Now they float over my soul like the dusk of a late autumn afternoon--- when my heart is filled with the wonder and puzzlement of seasons, years, decades gone by--- and the spirit, too, admits that the evening shadows are indeed growing longer and suddenly the sense of things past becomes an intense, yearning nostalgia. [I wish that in my twenties I had had, emotionally, what I do now in my early fifties--- and the wisdom to go hand-in-hand with it! But those regrets are better left for another time.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a package of two of the most significative symphonies by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The EMI/Boult series of VW' works usually meant definitive performance. This disc sparkles with beautiful orchestral sound, and Boult's attention to detail (he, for one, was one of the first associated conductors with the works of VW). The performances we find on this CD are of excellent musical quality, and the orchestras involved have well displayed the magnificence of these symphonic masterpieces. Boult is generally a synonym for great VW - his rendition of the 5th in D (with the LPO) offers one of the absolute on record. The atmospheric, glowing string sound, the subtle variations in orchestral volume and balance, and the integrity of the musical structures, are strenghts of the present recording (this wasn't the first time Boult made it on record). One of my favorites, this VW recording is one to be treasured; since the "Pastoral" Symphony is a pertinent match with the No.5, the album is pleasant to listen to from debut to the end. It certainly recalls the fascinating beauty of these romantic works, and is a contribution that belongs to the utmost musical achievements the 20th century has to offer.
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