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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4 / Mass In G Minor / 6 Choral Songs
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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4 / Mass In G Minor / 6 Choral Songs

1 avril 2002 | Format : MP3

EUR 8,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
Également disponible en format CD

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26 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Superb! Definitive. 12 août 2003
Par P. SIMPSON - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
AT LAST!! A near-definitive RVW 4th, in wonderful sound.
First, the performance. It's wonderful, to my ears the best since RVW's own some 70 years ago, but in rather better sound (!!). It's driven, tense, urgent, magnetic, mesmerizing, angry, powerful, searing, gut wrenching (literally) and disturbing. For the first time since you could first apprehend its power in RVW's and Mitropoulis recordings, this fourth comes across as being as motorific as Prokofiev, as visionary as Nielsen and as angry as Shostakovich, but adding the two qualities RVW's great teacher, Parry enjoined him to display, the temperament of an englishman and a democrat. The result is that the fourth finally takes its rightful place as a great 20th century symphony rather than a "fine" `or an "interesting" one. This is what RVW meant!!
I have owned the Mitropoulis, Previn and Handley recordings and heard the RVW, Boult and Thomson. I found Mitropoulis energetic and compelling, Handley a little light-on, to be honest (certainly compared to his marvellous 3rd and 5th), the Boult and Previn fine but ultimately unconvincing and the Thomson close to the best but a little rough. But this, ---- this is complete!!
The LSO plays brilliantly for Hickox, who gets more out of them in this piece than other fine conductors. Despite my words about energy, the LSO and Hickox also bring a subtlety to this recording which enhances the stature of both symphony and performance. Hear the "chill and eeriness" (to quote the Penguin guide yearbook) in the second movement and you'll get a taste for the range of their achievement here. And everywhere, even in the midst of the anger and passion, are the great tunes VW couldn't help but write, all played sublimely.
No wonder the Penguin guide awards this a Rosette.
As to the sound, I loved it. This 24 bit, PCM, 96 khz recording sounds wonderful. It captures the proper relationship of the instruments to each other and to the themes they're given.
One of my bugbears with all-DSD recordings has been that although dynamic range is wide, what we tend to get given is a differentiation between loud and soft, with even soft passages and soft playing still crystal clear and sometimes even "spotlit". That's fine when the theme or the instrument playing it is meant to be dominant (as opposed to just heard as part of the fabric) but, for me, can distort musical balances, presenting a crystal clear but fairly monochromatic picture.
What I like about this (and Hickox's recording of the "London" )is that instruments are present in context, - and are sometimes dominant and at others deliberately subordinate (not just "soft"). They are truly part of an orchestra and an orchestral sound and the internal emotional balance of the composition in a way which some (i hate to say this, Telarc) DSD recordings aren't. There is more to orchestral sound than dynamic range and there are good reasons why we use the word "sonority" instead of just "sound".
Anyway, I felt that the recording brings out the best of PCM and DSD with the result being a very natural orchestral sonority. At times the strings may be silkier and the brass may not blare as much as in some DSD derived recordings, but when the brass is meant to call out, it does, and when the strings are meant to sing out in visionary fashion in the middle of anger and betrayal, they do too!
I've over-run my usual self-imposed review length and still haven't mentioned the other 2 works, the lovely Mass in G minor and the six songs "In time of War", so I'll be brief. The Mass is sharp and dramatic as well as lovely, with, thankfully, women's voices instead of boys' (a purely personal taste, I know, but I HATE pre-pubescent boys' voices, and consequently, most recordings of English choral music). The songs are intense and lyrical. They are both also, to again quote the Penguin Guide, "given superb Chandos sound".
If I sound breathless at the end of this review, it's because that's exactly how I felt when the Symphony ended. Bravo, RVW, LSO, Hickox and Chandos. More, please, more !!!!!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Balance and Clarity 2 mai 2009
Par Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Having recently heard the San Francisco Symphony perform this symphony and realizing that I did not have it in my collection, I chose this Hickox and the London Symphony Orchestra recording for its high quality engineering and additional choral compositions. I was not disappointed. Symphony 4 has been compared in structure and its shock-and-awe effect with Beethoven's Symphony 5: after Vaughan Williams' lyrical and majestic Sea, London, and Pastoral Symphonies, this composition was strikingly complex and brazen. An orchestra can easily go awry with over and under emphases of sections. Hickox achieves perfect balance within and throughout the work and brings added cohesion. SFO was good, but this recording of the LSO is great. Moreover, the sound was crystal clear and the SACD surround sound was well balanced, although I felt the orchestra a little too distant for my taste. I especially enjoyed the bonus of the mass, with one foot in the Renaissance, and six brief but lovely songs, the latter based on poems of Shelly. If you have never heard this symphony and are familiar with Vaughan Williams mainly from his gentle Lark and London Symphony, discover his other side with this excellent album.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
**** 1/2 Hickox's very successful Vaughan Williams Fourth is up against the great one from Bernstein 12 septembre 2013
Par Santa Fe Listener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
the lead reviewer has a passionate liking for Hickox's "nearly definitive" recording of the vaughan Williams fourth. But he has left out the previous champ, probably because it is so long out of print, Leonard Bernstein's stupendous 1965 account with the New YOrk Phil., last seen on Sony's Royal Edition release (it is still readily available at amazon Marketplace, although the price is a bit steep). I was inspired to compare the two, and I think the Bernstein remains a clear winner - its animal energy, even ferocity in the first movement, with block chords crashing down on us like granite boulders, creates terror in a way that Hickox's version, although powerful, doesn't. that perhaps is the deciding factor, because in the remaining three movements Hickox benefits from the marvelous clarity and detail of Chandos's recorded sound and the unquestioned commitment of the London Symphony.

In VW's output, there is no reflection of twentieth-century horrors to match his Fourth Sym., even though he expressly said - as did NIelsen of his fifth Sym., with its shattering depiction of chaotic artillery fire - that he was directly commenting on the Great War. Similar denials were issued when the Vaughan williams Sixth reminded listeners of the Blitz. But sometimes audiences have a right to participate in a work of art and magnify it (as Italian patriots did when they adopted Verid's chorus of prisoners in Nabucco, "Va pensiero," as a rallying cry). Bernstein plunges into the Fourth as if into battle, and for his part, so does HIckox, far more so than Boult or any other English predecessor that I've ever herd. the composer's famous mono recording sets this savage tone, but he also favored a fast tempo, where Bernstein's deliberate pace gives the music crushing weight.

In every other respect I agree with the details praised by the lead reviewer - in all four movements the playing, conducting, and sound are superb. A pivotal point might be the fillers. Hickox offers two relative rarities, the a cappella Mass in G minor, which is heartfelt but mostly of interest to listeners devoted to the English choral tradition (as I am not), along with Six choral Songs based on humanitarian themes (courage, healing victory, etc.) related to wartime. They fall well below his usual inspiration as a song composer. the Bernstein is filled out with far more popular works of VW: the Tallis Fantasia and Fantasia on Greensleeves (neither seems to hold Bernstein's attention, frankly) ending with a much bigger deal, the Serenade to Music as performed at the nationally televised opening of Philharmonic Hall in 1962. In the excitement of the occasion a good deal is lost in terms of perfect balance and ensemble, but that's more than made up for in the kind of passion that makes the spine tingle.

So with due respect for what may be the nearly definitive recording from Britain, and despite superior sound, the Bernstein remains unequaled.
impressive fourth 18 décembre 2012
Par Stanley Crowe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
I don't know this symphony well and have as yet no basis for comparison, but this struck me as an impressive performance, recorded in really good sound. The dissonant, grinding opening comes through forcefully, and the woodwind and brass of the LSO are absolutely splendid throughout. The atmosphere of this symphony couldn't be more different from the very quiet "Pastoral" Third Symphony, and it strikes me as more positive in expression than the Sibelian-sounding Fifth, and considering these three, it really is quite amazing how distinctive Vaughan Williams's symphonies are. The slow movement here is beautifully done, rising to a climax in the middle that recapitulates the dissonance of the opening movement, but then dying away towards the end with a stark solo flute melody. The scherzo is elephantine -- heavy brass, heavy accents -- but it leads into a creepy little transition passage reminiscent of the similar moment in Beethoven's Fifth where the scherzo segues into the finale. The finale itself is vivid and assertive, like Beethoven's, but a bit more dissonant. The ending is splendidly abrupt. Finally -- and this after trying Shostakovich's Seventh -- the movements aren't too long. The whole thing runs for just a little more than the length of the first movement of the Shostakovich Seventh, and musical ideas abound and are handled deftly and efficiently.

As for the couplings here, the Mass sounded good to me, though one reviewer, who clearly knows more about choral music than I do, had some serious reservations. The Choral songs I found well-done but not very interesting -- the six of them total 12 minutes. The final one, a setting of part of the last chorus from Shelley's "Hellas," has a lovely moment in the middle, at those lines where a newer better Hellas is envisioned. But the disc overall is worth it for the Fourth, I think.
Great 4th symphony. 8 décembre 2011
Par J. K. Davis MD - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
First of all, the quality of recorded sound here is beautiful. The playing and orchestral balance are spot-on. The 4th is, to me, perhaps the most interesting and exciting of RVW's symphonies. I've heard about 10 recordings, and this is the best of the English recordings. Mitropoulos, Stokowski, and I believe Bernstein recorded this symphony, and those are well worth listening to. The Hickox certainly has better sound than any of those older recordings. For me, the Previn, Thomson and
Handley fail to capture the drama of the work. I also enjoyed the mass, but will admit I'm not the most discerning listener when it come to opera and large choral works.
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