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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely serene.
Expressive, delicate and profoundly peaceful, this is the quintessential English pastoral music played by the quintessential British chamber orchestra. Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields are the perfect performers of these four works by Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", "Fantasia on Greensleeves", "The Lark...
Published on Nov. 24 2002 by Brianna Neal

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars adequate but disappointing from Marriner
This CD was a disappointment for me in that Marriner's conducting of these Vaughan Williams works falls somewhat short of his interpretations of other composers on other recordings. Tempos tend to be awkward and with the Tallis fantasia, rushed. Poor choice of tempo muddles Vaughan Williams' lyrical and lush, yet unconventional melodic sense, which is actually the work...
Published on July 16 1999 by treestamp


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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely serene., Nov. 24 2002
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
Expressive, delicate and profoundly peaceful, this is the quintessential English pastoral music played by the quintessential British chamber orchestra. Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields are the perfect performers of these four works by Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", "Fantasia on Greensleeves", "The Lark Ascending" and "Five Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus'". Sweet violin solos, quiet flutes and strings, and wistful reeds evoke images of a quaint, simple countryside that perhaps never was. But this music makes it real, painting a sound picture of quiet, natural beauty without the worldly intrusions of back-breaking physical labor, high taxes and harsh overlords that English farmers of yore would doubtless have had to contend with. Vaughan Williams (b. 1872, d.1958), a collector of folk songs and arranger of Renaissance tunes, waxes nostalgic with these graceful, dignified and superbly subtle compositions, and you will too upon hearing them. Put this recording on at the end of a stressful day, look at something green and alive, and just feel the tension melt away. Vaughan Williams created many intriguing soundscapes, but these four selections have always been my personal favorites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential music to own, April 1 2000
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
A four piece CD that packs an outstanding punch, the first work 'Theme by Thomas Tallis' has one of the top melodies ever written by any composer thus far. Very lush, sweeping, and beautifully haunting without being mawkish, a must have for a person new to Vaughan Williams work.
'Lark Ascending' shows the artistry of Vaughan Williams in displaying the interweaving of textures of violin solo's within the symphony of instruments. Again a very powerful melody blended by the interplay of the symphony and lovely violin solo by Iona Brown.
The other two works on this CD compliment the above mentioned pieces with their stunning richness of full symphonic textures of melodies and movement.
This is a CD one must have who is new or unfamiliar with Vaughan Williams work, I believe it to be one of the best works of any musician.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Recording of All Times, Oct. 2 2002
By 
Mark Lewellen "starznmoon" (Mesquite, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
I recently purchased this CD and I have almost worn it out. Although all four pieces are excellent, the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and The Lark Ascending are of the utmost beauty and pleasure. This is one of those classic "Must Have" orchestral recordings that should appeal to any one. This rendition of Vaughan Williams most noted work has almost a "religous" quality to it that captures the escense and tranquility of the English countryside. Although I have heard other recordings of this music, this one has that magical nerve striking quality that best represents the composer's original music intentions. This is truly a great work and lives up to the great reputation of Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields !
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Lark Ascending, April 7 2002
By 
Matthew Andaloro (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
I have heard a few different recordings of the Lark Ascending, and have to say that this performance is the best. It captures the tender pastoral quality of the piece so well. For some reason, though, there is a slight rumbling in the quiet sections at the end of the piece, almost as if the recording picked up the ventilation of the recording venue. Nevertheless, this is barely noticable. The performance of Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis also captures the essence of Vaughan Williams. The listener will no doubt find the other two works on this CD to be pleasant as well. In all these are benchmark peformances of benchmark works by Vaughan Williams. The Lark Ascending and Fantasia are absolute musts for anyone wishing to experience the composer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars adequate but disappointing from Marriner, July 16 1999
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
This CD was a disappointment for me in that Marriner's conducting of these Vaughan Williams works falls somewhat short of his interpretations of other composers on other recordings. Tempos tend to be awkward and with the Tallis fantasia, rushed. Poor choice of tempo muddles Vaughan Williams' lyrical and lush, yet unconventional melodic sense, which is actually the work of genuis. Yet this recording too frequently makes that genius sound arbitrary and a bit incoherent. Marriner could have done better, especially with an English composer. The orchestra performance is the quality that one expects of Saint Martin of the Fields. It is between their performance and the genius of Vaughan Williams that earn this CD any noteworthy remarks in my opinion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, Sept. 28 2000
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This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
The haunting melody that forms the main theme for the Vaughn Williams Fantasia is all the more unusual in that it is written in the Phrygian mode--which is supposed to be the weirdest-sounding of the 8 Greek modes, starting, as it does, on the E key. (I recall the Aeolian mode starts on A--can't recall the others). Two other well-known songs that are in modal keys are "Greensleeves" and "The Coast of Barbary." Anyway, this would be a fascinating piece if only for that, but in addition Williams produced a masterpiece from this unlikely source.
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5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely fantastic, March 3 2001
By 
Taylor Nix (Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
I am a sophomore in high school, and also 3rd chair 2nd violinist in my school's prestigous symphonic orchestra. We have just finished perfecting and performing Vaughn Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme" and let me say it is one amazing piece to perform. Everything about it just sends you on a magical journey into the classical music land. I was thrilled to come upon this cd, and that song done beautifully by the orchestra. I think this is a timeless cd and one to treasure for a lifetime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have recording!!, Oct. 31 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
In my opinion, this recording contains the best versions of these Vaughan Williams classics. I've heard others(Boult, Bernstein, Boughten) and they don't compare to the emotional content of these splendid takes. The Five Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus', probably my favorite Vaughan Williams piece, is the best track here. Marriner's slow-tempo approach brings out every last drop of yearning and humanity. Highly worth the cost!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marriner and the ASMF at their best, Nov. 11 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
I can only add my voice to the previous accolades. It would take a hardened Vaughan Williams hater to not love this recording. Iona Brown is now known mostly as a conductor, it seems--but judging by her performance in "The Lark Ascending" she missed a great soloist career. Her beauty of tone and perfect intuition of the right tempo are major league. I never heard a better version of this piece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An English Delight, Aug. 15 2001
By 
Peter D. Scovell (Kanata, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc (Audio CD)
This compilation of Vaughan Williams is over 15 years old now but withstands the test of time. The music quality is good with a certain lightness particularly in the solo violin playing of Iona Brown in "The Lark Ascending'. The majesty of the Tallis piece is also noteworthy.
I have owned the album since 1989 and I find it gives me as much pleasure now as it did when I first played it.
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Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc
Vaughan Williams Fantasin on a theme be thomas tallis etc by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Audio CD - 1999)
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