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Sacred Choral Music: Vision of

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Product Description

Ralph Vaughan Williams' sublime Mass in G minor reveals the composer' absorbing interest in using the modal harmonic language and contrapuntal textures of the English late Renaissance to achieve a huge emotional and dynamic range. Undoubtedly the most tec

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Another side of Vaughan Williams April 6 2010
By Craig M. Zeichner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The paradox that is Ralph Vaughan Williams the agnostic and Vaughan Williams the composer of some of the finest sacred music of the 20th century is striking. This new recording by the always excellent Choir of Clare College, Cambridge is also striking. It features a good cross-section of familiar works--the Mass in G minor--and a hearty sampling of lesser-known works.

The Mass in G minor is RVW's brilliant take on the music of the late English Renaissance. But the Mass is much more than a pastiche of Tallis and Byrd since RVW makes things interesting by mixing up the textures (there are sections solo voices, solo quartets, single and double choir) and creates a deeply moving work that will appeal to listeners who are fond of RVW's pastoral style. While I miss hearing trebles in the music's top line (pick up the recording by the Saint Thomas Choir on Koch for this), this is a very beautiful performance.

The rarities are real treasures. The Voice out of the Whirlwind, an anthem adapted from the "Galliard of the Sons of the Morning" from Job, is a big-boned workout for choir with an especially muscular organ part that is played brilliantly by Ashok Gupta. Perhaps best of all is A Vision of Aeroplanes, a strikingly cinematic take on the tale of Ezekiel and the wheel with another knuckle and foot-blistering organ part.

The performances are all excellent. Timothy Brown is one of the great choral conductors of the English repertoire and he gets responsive and technically polished performances from this fine choir. Kudos to the two organists also, Mr. Gupta is superb throughout and James McVinnie all but steals the show in the Vision of Aeroplanes.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Reverb spoils a fine recording Jan. 7 2011
By CD Maniac - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a potentially wonderful disc: less-often recorded Vaughan Williams music that is fascinating at times (especially "A Vision of Aeroplanes"); and a very fine choir.
However, the recording engineer has ruined it all with the use of way too much reverb. By doing so, the harmonies become slightly obscured, and the texts become completely lost. What a shame! Still, if you're looking for this repertoire, it is unlikely you'll find it elsewhere. The CD is still worth the purchase for that reason alone.
1 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Ho-hum Dec 3 2010
By K. Feucht - Published on Amazon.com
These set of songs were adequately performed, but lacked brilliance and charm. It is typical of Vaughn Williams to have very predictable music, so that if one has heard one Vaughn Williams piece, you've heard them all. There is nothing about these choral pieces to excite the soul or transcend the realm of the ennui. I purchased this CD hoping to find in VW and British music some charm--but, British music, like British food, tends to be bland and uninteresting. The Brits have failed to produced good composers, outside of Purcell and the Beatles. The more I listen to VW, I realize that it is not a matter of missing something in the music that is subtle or complex, such as learning to appreciate the music of Wagner. The music of VW is just plain boring and uncreative.

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