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Vaughan Williams: Sancta Civitas; Dona Nobis Pacem [Import]

Ralph Vaughan Williams , Richard Hickox , Vasko Vassilev , London Symphony Chorus , London Symphony Orchestra , Bryn Terfel , Yvonne Kenny , Philip Langridge Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Bryn Terfel, Yvonne Kenny, Philip Langridge
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox, Vasko Vassilev
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (November 9, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B000002RTA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,512 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dona nobis pacem: I. 'Agnus Dei' (Lento)
2. Dona nobis pacem: II. 'Beat! beat! drums!' (Allegro moderato)
3. Dona nobis pacem: III. Reconciliation (Allegro moderato)
4. Dona nobis pacem: IV. Dirge for Two Veterans (Moderato alla marcia)
5. Dona nobis pacem: V. 'The Angel of Death has been abroad' (L'istesso tempo)
6. Dona nobis pacem: VI. 'O man greatly beloved'
7. Sancta Civitas: I was in the spirit (Lento)
8. Sancta Civitas: And I Saw Heaven opened (Allegro)
9. Sancta Civitas: And I saw an angel standing in the sun (Meno mosso)
10. Sancta Civitas: Babylon the great is fallen (Lento)
11. Sancta Civitas: Rejoice over her O Heavens (Allegro moderato)
12. Sancta Civitas: And I saw a new heaven (Adagio)
13. Sancta Civitas: Therfore are they before the throne of God (Poco meno largo)
14. Sancta Civitas: And I saw a pure river
15. Sancta Civitas: Holy, Holy, Holy (Andante sostenuto)
16. Sancta Civitas: Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory (Poco animato)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing performances of two masterpieces September 4, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Vaughan Williams's 1926 oratorio "Sancta civitas" (The holy city) is a setting of texts from "Revelation", while his 1936 cantata "Dona nobis pacem" was a plea for peace when Europe was on the brink of WWII. There is debate as to which is the greater work, but both are impressive.
Hickox's recording of "Dona nobis pacem" is excellent (I rate it second, just behind the late Robert Shaw's on Telarc); the singing is first-rate throughout, and the finale is a roller coaster of emotions, from fear to joy to quiet dignity. Yvonne Kenny in particular handles her solos effortlessly.
That brings us to Hickox's definitive recording of "Sancta civitas." Using all the forces RVW recommended, the net result is incredible: the finale, "Heaven and earth are full of thy glory," is simply overwhelming, an incredible onslaught of sound, followed by one of the great surprises in all of 20th century music. And there are moments of great beauty as well: "Babylon the great is fallen" is a hushed lament (handled with even more skill than Walton's setting of the same text in "Belshazzar's Feast"), while "And I saw a new Heaven" is simply ravishing.
I recommend this CD highly and without reservation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These are two of Vaughan Williams' finest choral works in the English oratorio tradition ('Sancta Civitas' was his personal favorite) recorded in beautiful, heartfelt readings under Hickox, and notable for the powerful singing of Bryn Terfel, here at his youthful best in 1992.

Contrary to the reviewer below, VW wasn't a pacifist and these aren't pacifist works. Sancta Civitas is a vision of the Holy City described by St. John in the Book of Revelations, and although VW served in the trenches in the First World War, he remained idealistic, even redemptively mystical about the future. Written in the 1920's, Sancta Civitas is an oratorio whose dominant tone is shining and optimistic.

A decade later in the mid-30s, Dona Nobis Pacem, as its name says, is a prayer for peace. Like the earlier work, it combines Biblical verse with poetry from Walt Whitman (VW's favorite poet for setting to music). This time the composer has war and its horrors in mind, and there re many parallels both to the Verdi Requiem and Britten's War Requiem. but he doesn't resort to dissonance very often--we get gorgeous melodies and his firm belief in uplifting the audience. In that sense, both works are really Victorian rather than modern in their fervent tiumphal tone, except that VW happens to be more inspired than any Victorian composer England produced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss this! September 11, 2001
Format:Audio CD
At last at U.S. markets , (funny) after I had to buy it from amazon.uk. Don't miss this extraordinary choral works that in crude (words) beats a lot of XX century choral music, like psalm symphony, cantata profana etc. Terfel breaths compasion in every word, with excepcional commitment. Deeply inspiring
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing performances of two masterpieces September 4, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Vaughan Williams's 1926 oratorio "Sancta civitas" (The holy city) is a setting of texts from "Revelation", while his 1936 cantata "Dona nobis pacem" was a plea for peace when Europe was on the brink of WWII. There is debate as to which is the greater work, but both are impressive.
Hickox's recording of "Dona nobis pacem" is excellent (I rate it second, just behind the late Robert Shaw's on Telarc); the singing is first-rate throughout, and the finale is a roller coaster of emotions, from fear to joy to quiet dignity. Yvonne Kenny in particular handles her solos effortlessly.
That brings us to Hickox's definitive recording of "Sancta civitas." Using all the forces RVW recommended, the net result is incredible: the finale, "Heaven and earth are full of thy glory," is simply overwhelming, an incredible onslaught of sound, followed by one of the great surprises in all of 20th century music. And there are moments of great beauty as well: "Babylon the great is fallen" is a hushed lament (handled with even more skill than Walton's setting of the same text in "Belshazzar's Feast"), while "And I saw a new Heaven" is simply ravishing.
I recommend this CD highly and without reservation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing May 11, 2012
Format:Audio CD
I first purchased this recording when I was a child. It was my first CD purchase ever and I have purchased many more copies as gifts. I have purchased many similar recording by various artists and this is by far the most perfect recording. Yvonne Kenny is perfection. Keep in mind that the highs and lows are very important to hear in this recording, so please only listen to this recording using a wide range system or using great headphones.
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