British Composers - Vaughan Williams, Finzi & Holst

May 3, 2011 | Format: MP3

$28.49
Also available in CD Format
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Disc 4
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Disc 5
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 28, 2011
  • Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • Copyright: (C) 2011 EMI Records Ltd.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 5:50:34
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004WGZ792
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,180 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Quiet Reviewer on October 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of a number of 5-CD box sets in which EMI repackages its "British Classics" series of CDs at bargain prices. With choral music, this means you lose the sung texts; but you can now get close to six hours of music for a little more than you used to have to pay for a single CD. This particular set is built around a number of Ralph Vaughan Williams scores, with some surprising discoveries thrown in.

The set is anchored by RVW's two undoubted choral masterpieces, the Mass in G minor and the cantata "Sancta Civitas." Both were recorded in the late 1960s by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge under the direction of David Willcocks--and neither conductor nor choir could do wrong when it came to recording English choral music (at least that I've heard). It is hard to imagine better recordings of either work: the choral singing is crisp and clear, and Willcocks allows the music to breathe and luxuriate in RVW's elaborate harmonic structures. The set also includes the joyfully over-ripe "An Oxford Elegy" which features declaimed poetry over a lush orchestral background, and RVW's "Five Mystical Songs."

The real discovery (for me) in this set was Gerald Finzi's "Initimations of Immortality." A vocal setting of the Wordsworth ode, the liner notes imply that it isn't performed much due to critical carping that Wordsworth doesn't need music. Maybe not, but soloist Philip Langridge, the forces of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and conductor Richard Hickox give this work the strongest possible reading. Finzi was perhaps a minor composer--the work doesn't have the assured structure of Elgar's oratorios or even Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast"--but the word setting is effective and the orchestration is never dull. The same can be said of his "Dies natalis.
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