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Vaughan Williams: Piano Concerto / The Wasps/ English Folksong Suite/ The Running Set

Ralph Vaughan Williams , James Judd , Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra , Ashley Wass Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Price: $10.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2009 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2009 $10.98  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite: I. OvertureRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 9:59Album Only
listen  2. The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite: II. Entr'acteRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 2:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite: III. March Past of the Kitchen UtensilsRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 2:56$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite: IV. Entr'acteRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 3:39$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Wasps, Aristophanic Suite: V. Ballet and Final TableauRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 6:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Piano Concerto in C major: I. Toccata: Allegro moderato -Ashley Wass 6:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Piano Concerto in C major: II. Romanza: LentoAshley Wass 9:15Album Only
listen  8. Piano Concerto in C major: III. Fuga chromatica con finale alla tedesca: Allegro - Lento - Largo sostenuto - Andante sostenuto -Ashley Wass 4:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Piano Concerto in C major: IV. FinaleAshley Wass 6:39$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. English Folk Song Suite (arr. G. Jacob): I. March, "Seventeen come Sunday"Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 2:50$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. English Folk Song Suite (arr. G. Jacob): III. Intermezzo, "My Bonny Boy"Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 3:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. English Folk Song Suite (arr. G. Jacob): IV. March, "Folk Songs from Somerset"Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 3:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. The Running SetRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 6:27$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Ashley Wass
  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Judd
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (November 17, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,147 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


Is the long all-but-ignored Vaughan Williams Piano Concerto finally attaining popularity? Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock have toured the two-piano version recently, while Ashley Wass revisits his Proms success with this superb recording. He reveals a compelling, fascinating work. -- Gramophone Editor's Choice, December 2009

Product Description

The popular overture from Vaughan Williams's incidental music for Aristophanes's The Wasps introduces a suite whose
mischievously witty, noble and farcical movements underline the play's satire of the Athenian legal system. A similar vivacity characterises his English Folksong Suite and The Running Set, where Vaughan Williams relishes setting tunes such as Barrack Hill, Irish Reel, The Blackthorn Stick and Cock o' the North. Folksong-like melodies also feature in his magnificent Piano Concerto, in which the magisterial influence of Bach and Busoni may also be heard.

Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Old Favorites and Two New Ones January 19, 2010
Format:Audio CD
The old favorites on this disc are the incidental music to 'The Wasps' and the orchestration of the 'English Folk Song Suite'. The less well-known ones are the Piano Concerto and the short 'The Running Set.' They are all given sterling performances by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra led by James Judd. Ashley Wass in the soloist in the Piano Concerto; he seems to be making a habit of recording English piano music what with his Bax 'Symphonic Variations' Bax: Symphonic Variations, Bax solo works, Bridge piano works Bridge: Piano Music Vol. 2 - Piano Sonata and more.

'The Wasps' (subtitled 'An Aristophanic Suite') was written in 1909 for a Cambridge University production of Aristophanes' comedy, 'The Wasps', which was a satire on the Athenian legal system. The 'wasps' of the title are the judges who spent long and longer hours deciding cases because they were paid by the hour. The 'Overture' is often played independently of the Suite and is a high-humored depiction of the wasps, with buzzing strings mimicking their busy (and endless) deliberations. The first 'Entr'acte' is droll, mocking. It is followed by 'March Past the Kitchen Utensils', a scene in which a pot, cheese-grater, pestle, brazier and water-bowl testify against a dog accused of stealing some cheese and not sharing it. The second 'Entr'acte' is ceremonial and just a little pompous. The Final Tableau is a jolly, rumbustious conclusion. The whole suite is chock-full of tunes that sound like English folk songs and dances but are entirely original with Vaughan Williams. It is no wonder that this suite is a great favorite of audiences.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Sometimes I despair of music reviewing when a tame Vaughan Williams collection can be extolled for the exact opposite of what it is. James Judd is by no means powerful here. The Wasps Over. is scarcely alive, no match for half a dozen versions we RVW fans can name, beginning with Adrian Boult. For the complete music, including quite a lot of Aristophanes' dialogue, Mark Elder and the Halle Orch. are much to be preferred. At least Judd rouses himself a bit for the Battle and Tableau. The cheery English Folksong Suite recurs in dreams for those of us who played it in high school band. It sails along nicely in a fuller orchestration; Judd is not very energetic, but his low-key style is pleasant. Naxos gives him very good sound, and the Royal Liverpool orchestra does well enough, although nowhere near the form they display under Gerard Schwarz in their excellent Mahler series.

The standout on this CD is pianist Ashley Wass in the almost never played Piano Concerto. RVW made a mistake to redo it for two pianos. That version sounds heavy and awkward, and the muddled texture of two pianos strips the work of its appealing stabs at modernism. We are almost in the realm of the jagged, brutal opening to the Fourth times, but in a markedly less violent vein. British critics went wild for this new recording, and one can hear why. Wass isn't virtuosic, but he has the notes under h is fingers, and at this point he owns almost sole possession of the concerto. The composer clearly paid attention to Bartok in the first movement and Rachmaninov in the rolling chords of the central Romanza, but everything has been filtered through RVW's pastoralism; he was the gentlest of moderns on all but a handful of occasions. There's almost no exploration of dissonance and much tender lyricism.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VW at His Pianistic Best! May 3, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I rarely write reviews about Vaughan Williams's music on's pages, only because my direction has been toward more scholarly journals (Sorry, Amazon!), and that's where I would like my writing to be about VW, and I do not want anyone to get hurt, let alone myself or my career. But, I will venture to write a review of this CD, only because I find it quite good, and it takes me back many years, although the recording, packaging, and musicians playing this music are rather new, of course.

I heard the entire Aristophanic Suite on an Angel recording (LP) many years ago with another piano work of Vaughan Williams, the Fantasia on the Old 104th, Quasi Variazione, with chorus, no less, conducted by Boult. Absolutely beautiful! This production by Ashley Wass comes close to what I recall many years ago with VW's more famous and well-known Piano Concerto. Vaughan Williams undoubtedly wrote the Piano Concerto for Harriet Cohen, a very dear and talented friend of his, which must have been during the 1930s or '40s. (Please correct me if I am wrong!) As I understand it, this is the same piece of music as his Double Piano Concerto. The reason why, I have learned, that the Piano Concerto was made into the Double Piano Concerto was that someone made the comment that the single piano was drowned out by the orchestra, hence a double piano concerto needed to be written in order for the piano to be heard over the orchestra. Well, so much for trivia!

I do not think that there is much piano music by Vaughan Williams being produced these days, so this is about as good as it is going to get. The recording itself is very good, and the box and cover art are splendid and pretty, as are the helpful liner notes.
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