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Vaughan Williams - your favourite pieces

Discussion in 'classical' started by Barrymagrec, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    I like pretty much all Vaughan Williams and wondered what others think.

    The symphonies cover a range of styles but there are no duds in my opinion, No.2 is always sublime whichever version you choose and I think No.9 is a neglected masterpiece. No.6 particularly requires a good conductor, as always Boult is your friend here.

    Pilgrims Progress is also a great favourite as is Hugh The Drover.

    There is so much more - The Wasps, Dona Nobis Pacem, Job, Serenade to Music - the list goes on.
  2. gustavm

    gustavm pfm Member

    Symphonies no 5 & 6

    No 6 one of the pieces that turned me on to classical music, some 40 odd years ago. (1st movement popular at the time due to its use in the TV programme "a family at war")

    VW is a much under-appreciated composer IMHO
  3. jon l

    jon l pfm Member

    I played the 5th in the Cornwall Youth Orchestra as a teenager and can't hear it now without tears rolling down my cheeks.
  4. Todd A

    Todd A pfm Member

    I enjoy the Third, Fourth, and Fifth symphonies, along with The Lark Ascending, and the String Quartets, but I listen to even these rarely.
  5. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I think my abiding favourites are the 3 Shakespeare Songs and An Oxford Elegy.
  6. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    ...and although I love much of his music, I detest The Lark Ascending. Surely the most tedious piece in the popular repertoire.
  7. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    It is overplayed by Classic FM and the best version, Boult, Hugh Bean, New Philharmonia is rarely heard on the radio.

    I see it as a kind of musical Adlestrop, harking back to an idyllic era that never really existed.
  8. cctaylor

    cctaylor pfm Member

    One of best classical concert I ever was at was VW 2 in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Alexander Gibson conducting the SNO. No recollection of the first half but the second half was sublime.
  9. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    Once described to me by a conductor friend as "music pouring out of a tube". A bit harsh, but I suppose he'd been over-exposed to it.

    The couple of early symphonies we have here sound nice enough in a conservative sort of way. His second (London) is contemporary to the Rites of Spring. Based on the recommendations here, perhaps I should get 5 & 6.
  10. gustavm

    gustavm pfm Member

  11. herb

    herb music live

    I have the 30CD collectors edition box which covers most of his works. Dipping into it always produces something new.

    My favourite is Fantasia on the Old 104th Psalm Tune. I used to sing it to myself when tearing across the Salisbury Plain on big British motorcycles.
  12. JTWzen

    JTWzen Active Member

    The Tallis fantasia was my first exposure to VW, my next dooor neighbour in hall of residence played it incessantly, which did get tedious at the time though I suppose it could have been worse - heavy metal for example, I got over that period of over exposure and still like it, and I am rather surprised no one has mentioned it.
  13. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

  14. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

  15. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    I reckon VW's 5th as one of the greatest 20th century symphonies. Probably due to it have been written in the midst of WWII but expressing a a simple faith in a possible better world. Despite it musical conservatism, its up there with any of Shostakovich's or Prokofiev's IMO.

    The 3rd is also a standout, the ultimate lament for the fallen of the previous war. And then there's the 6th which another masterpiece of a totally different character. The 4th is in some ways the most interesting, RVW claimed it was written (in the 1930s) as his interpretation of a Times article describing a typical modern symphony: "I don't know if I like it, but its what I meant" he is alleged to have said of it.

    The 8th is the neglected masterpiece for me. Have to say I've never quite grasped the 9th, and for some reason I just can't bear the 2nd "London" for more than a few minutes!

    The Sea Symphony (1st) is from another world, another era pre WWI and the horrors of the C.20th. I love it, prefer it to any of Elgar's choral works.

    Of the other works, A Serenade to Music is absolute genius gorgeousness (it made Rachmaninov cry at its premier!) and I have a very soft spot for Five Mystical Songs, and the Piano Quintet version of On Wenlock Edge.
  16. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Sea Symphony. March Past of the Kitchen Utensils always cheers me up by taking me back to my childhood self.
  17. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator


    Me too.
  18. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    Flos Campi, Sea Symphony, London Symphony and the Folk song suite here. Tallis Fantasia too.
  19. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Five Tudor Portraits. Genius.
  20. Buntobox

    Buntobox pfm Member

    The Tallis Fantasia conducted by Adrian Boult. Sublime!

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