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Symphony No. 5 in D Major / Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis

R. Vaughan Williams , Andre Previn , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $11.73 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 1989 --  
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Symphony No. 5 in D Major / Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis + Greenesleeves / Tallis / Lark + Fantasia
Price for all three: $36.15

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  • Greenesleeves / Tallis / Lark $12.88
  • Fantasia $11.54


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: R. Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CUM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,390 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Preludio: Moderato
2. II. Scherzo: Presto Misterioso
3. III. Romanza: Lento
4. IV. Passacaglia: Moderato
5. Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate interpretation of RVW beloved 5th April 18, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This 5th is often regarded as RVW's symphonic masterpiece. The 9 symphonies are so wonderfully varied and so uniformly top-quality that's really impossible for me to pick up just one, but the 5th is surely one of the best and the most spiritually searching. The composer quotes some themes from religious works and blends them seamlessly in the flow of his own inspiration. The character of the music is essentially reflective and the orchestration, based mainly on the strings, is wonderfully rich yet transparent. Still, RVW was anything but a simple, one-sided man, and even here there's a hint of unease, a subterranean flow of anguish that always suggested me the troubled search for the Answer, rather than the affirmation of a man that already found it. Thinking about this, the final climax sounds even more jubilant and musically effective. Previn, one of the best interpreters of British music, gives us a deeply-felt, slowly paced, ravishingly played account of this work. Maybe the disturbing elements are not so apparent here (if you want that, listen to Haitink's equally refined but cooler version - I love them both), but as a perfectly idiomatic, lovingly respectful view of this work, this is the best modern recording that I know. (...) Previn's kind of approach is even more effective with the Tallis Fantasia, an endlessly fascinating piece indeed which receives a first-rate interpretation. (On my list , though, it has been displaced by the incredible 1975 Stokowski recording with this same orchestra- see review) The sound of a RPO on top-form is very well captured by Telarc, with none of the engineering problems that, to my ears, marred Previn's digital "London".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to make this enigmatic symphony "spreak"? June 4, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Those who are already in love with VW's symphonies already know, when it comes to the Fifth, what they like. This symphony is a dreamy pastorale caught between two agitated, disturbing works in the Fourth and Sixth. Did VW intend for the overtly nostalgic spiritualized Fifth to carry a hint of disturbane itself? Previn doesn't believe so--both of his readings are slow, languorous, and lush. The earlier RCA version has scrappy sound, which is too bad, because it is marginally more energetic than the Telarc remake with the Royal Phil, which boasts quite gorgeous sound. Also, the RCA has more interesting fillers than the too often paired Tallis Fantasia on Telarc.

I happened to hear Previn conduct the Fifth with the Boston Sym.--a rare occurence on this side of the Atlantic--and the audience was bored; the music didn't speak to them, and Previn's tempos over the years have gotten even slower. I think the Fifth needs more urgency, less dreaminess, and some sharp edges. You won't get that from Previn (or Haitink or Slatkin), but two old masters, Barbirolli and Boult, especially the latter, come through. Boult's EMI recording with the London Phil. has inner life and urgency, and I'd rate it the best performance I've ever heard.

P.S. Aug. 2009 - I happened to hear this CD again at a friend's house in London, and maybe its the ambience, but I feel I shortchanged Previn's reading. In terms of recorded sound and orchestral glow, this 1988 recording outshines his earlier VW Fifth on RCA. There's a nobility here that I didn't hear before, and many forceful touches that I now appreciate. Let's say four stars at the very least.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 5 To Own September 8, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I own around twelve versions of Vaughan Williams' "Symphony No. 5." I have been disappointed with a few of them like Vernon Handley's (RLPO/EMI) and Andre Previn's (LSO/RCA) first recording of it where the performance was good, but the audio quality was horrible. This Previn/RPO reading on Telarc is a whole new animal altogether. Finally, we can hear Previn's thoughts on this symphony in great audio and this is an amazing reading. It's the best I've heard. Not very often do you have a combination of great audio and performance, but this one really took me by surprise.

I'm particularly moved by the "Romanza (Lento)" section, which all RVW fans know like the back of their hands. The Royal Philharmonic's strings are lush, the woodwinds soaring, it's a spectacle to behold. This is by far the best "Romanza" movement I've heard and it's also the longest lasting around 13 minutes. This, of course, is not to say the rest of the symphony isn't good, but the third movement is this symphony's best feature. I've never been too impressed with the first movement, it's good, but the "Scherzo" movement forward are pure sonic marvels.

The "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis" also receives a great reading as well. Previn has turned in one of the best performances of his career here and who would've known? Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best February 26, 2014
Format:Audio CD
I've always enjoyed this recording of the Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 5. Actually, I'd say that it and Barbirolli's rendition on EMI are my two favorite versions. Although Adrian Boult is usually the VW man, in this case his effort is outdone by Barbirolli and Previn, who in the later movements achieve power and force without becoming a bit heavy-footed, as the Boult strikes me as being. A top choice, to be sure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classical Music At Its Finest February 13, 2014
By John Z
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As a classical music lover for a very long time Vaughan Williams has never failed to entertain me. Mr. William's Symphony No. 5 is ranked among my favorites up there with Mahler's 5th Symphony.
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