- Composer: Vaughan-Williams
- Audio CD (Sept. 1 1998)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Ncl
- ASIN: B00000AELD
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,512 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7): Prelude: Andante maestoso - Lento - Poco animato - Piu mosso - Tranquillo - Andante moderato con moto - Largamente|
|2. Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7): Scherzo: Moderato|
|3. Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7): Landscape: Lento -|
|4. Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7): Intermezzo: Andante sostenuto - Allegretto - Pesante - Tempo primo tranquillo|
|5. Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7): Epilogue: Alla marcia, moderato (non troppo allegro) - Andante maestoso|
|6. Symphony No. 8 In D Minor: Fantasia (Variazioni senza Tema): Moderato - Presto - Andante sostenuto - Allegretto - Andante non troppo - Allegro vivace - Andante sostenuto - Largamente - Tempo primo ma tranquillo|
|7. Symphony No. 8 In D Minor: Scherzo alla Marcia (per stromenti a fiato): Allegro alla marcia - Andante - Tempo primo|
|8. Symphony No. 8 In D Minor: Cavatina (per stromenti ad arco): Lento espressivo|
|9. Symphony No. 8 In D Minor: Toccata: Moderato maestoso|
|10. Movement Superscriptions For Sinfonia antartica: Prometheus Unbound: Prelude: 'To Suffer Woes Which Hope Thinks Infinite' (Percy Bysshe Shelley)|
|11. Movement Superscriptions For Sinfonia antartica: Book Of Common Prayer, Psalm 104: Schezro: 'There Go The Ships'|
|12. Movement Superscriptions For Sinfonia antartica: Hymn Before Sunrise, In The Vale Of Chamouni: Landscape: 'Ye Ice Falls!' (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)|
|13. Movement Superscriptions For Sinfonia antartica: The Sun Rising: Intermezzo: 'Love, All Alike,' (John Donne)|
|14. Movement Superscriptions For Sinfonia antartica: Message To The Public: Epilogue: 'I Do Not Regret This Journey;' (Captain Robert Falcon Scott)|
First, the man was a superb melodist. He was not a mere tunesmith, to be sure, but crafted works that are primarily conceived in terms of melodic development, and this makes his work immediately appealing. Second, he was a highly original thinker who used his colossal technique (he had a doctorate in composition and studied with Ravel) for surprisingly modern ends. His music can at times sound like a mixture of Bach and Debussy, but it is always unmistakably Vaughan Williams. He had a penchant for modal counterpoint, and his streams of parallel chords place his work squarely in the 20th century.
Vaughan Williams' unique talent for scoring is evident throughout this excellent recording of his 7th and 8th symphonies. The "Sinfonia antartica" is based upon a film score he supplied for a film about the explorer Robert Scott. It is by turns brooding and wistful--an ideal introduction to this magnificent composer. Symphony No. 8 is a more eclectic affair, brighter in temperament overall, but a rewarding example of the surprises that lurk around every corner of RVW's work.
Was he the greatest symphonist of the 20th century? The jury's still out. He certainly created a body of symphonic work that is second to none in its richness, diversity, and consistency. Mahler, Sibelius, and Shostakovich are usually considered the most important symphonists of the last century, but for those who seek other fare, you can't do better than Vaughan Williams.
Not a bad accomplishment for budget-price label Naxos!
The Vaughan Williams eighth symphony exhibits a few interesting parallels with the eighth symphony of the composer whose oeuvre established the "rule of nine" in the writing of symphonies: Beethoven.
Beethoven's Opus 93 strikes some listeners as both "a step backwards" from the rambunctious and expansive seventh (with its electrifying "double scherzo" and achingly intense theme-and-variations slow movement), and a mystification before the grandiose Opus 125. It is something of a look back towards Haydn; it is charming, and elegant, and seems to do entirely without the dramatic musical rhetoric of which Beethoven's third, fifth and seventh symphonies provide ample and potent illustration. It is the sort of thing which "musical progressivists" say we composers cannot do; you can almost hear the phrase spoken, "you can never go back."
Yet, in his eighth symphony, Beethoven succeeds, marvelously and musically; he does, and does not, "go back." Vaughan Williams does something of the same, in his eighth. Even though Vaughan Williams' seventh was composed originally as film music, and then adapted as a symphony in his 'cycle' (or perhaps because of this), the eighth seems like a deliberate step away from musical dramtization, and into the realm of abstract, 'pure' music, a music which functions on its own, not driven by any extra-musical 'program.Read more ›