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Vaughan Williams: The Collector's Edition - 30 CDs [Box set, Collector's Edition]

Ralph Vaughan Williams , Richard Huw Pritchard , Vernon Handley , Adrian Boult , Constantin Silvestri , Eric Banks , Charles Groves , Malcolm Sargent , John Barbirolli , Richard Hickox Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Vaughan Williams: The Collector's Edition - 30 CDs + Gustav Holst: The Collector's Edition + William Walton: the Collector's Edition
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Richard Huw Pritchard, Vernon Handley, Adrian Boult, Constantin Silvestri, Eric Banks, et al.
  • Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (July 8, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 30
  • Format: Box set, Collector's Edition
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00156ZWV0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,900 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

30 CDs of visionary compositions by the musical poet of the English landscape! From the pastoral to the bombastic, here are all of Ralph Vaughan Williams' celebrated masterworks including many rarely performed pieces: The Lark Ascending; Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis ; the symphonies including A Sea Symphony; London Symphony; Pastoral Symphony , and Sinfonia Antarctica; The Wasps Suite; Fantasia on Greensleeves; Piano Concerto in C; Serenade to Music trust us, it's here! Featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia of England, London Philharmonic Choir, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, Fine Performances July 17, 2008
For lovers of Ralph Vaughan Williams' music, the prospect of obtaining most of his works on 30 CDs for $50 or less should be irresistible. It's a great way to fill in the gaps in your collection, or to become acquainted with RVW's less familiar works. Among the highlights of this box are the Serenade to Music and the Pilgrim's Progress (both conducted by Adrian Boult), Partita for Double String Orchestra (Vernon Handley), Riders to the Sea and Sir John in Love (Meredith Davies), Hugh the Drover (Charles Groves), and On Wenlock Edge and Ten Blake Songs (sung by Ian Partridge). Vernon Handley's recordings of the symphonies have received uniform 5-star reviews on Amazon.

In most cases, the performances and sound quality are very good to excellent. Hard-core fans will appreciate the inclusion of variants of a few works, such as the vocal and purely orchestral versions of the Serenade to Music. As would be expected in a compendium of this sort, a few of the items have performances or sound that is less than ideal. For example, Matthew Best's recording of A Song of Thanksgiving is far better than the one included here, but the Hyperion disc is no longer in print, and a used copy costs half as much as this entire package. The booklet lists the performers and the contents of every track, but it lacks both notes and texts. Nonetheless, there's more than enough great stuff here to justify the modest price.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EMI's Vaughan Williams Collection August 14, 2008
Verified Purchase
This splendid set, an amazing bargain, provides most of Vaughan Williams's music in various, sometimes relatively recent, vintages of recordings. VW is a vastly underrated composer. Some of the symphonies are bonafide masterpieces, especially numbers 4 and 6, but the London Symphony (#2) and the 8th and 9th are pretty top drawer as well, if not as stunning as 4 and 6. But then, 3 and 5 are excellent in a more "pastoral" way, though hardly the "cow music" written about in a recent New York Times article. If VW has written any "cow music" my ears have never detected it. The First Symphony, however, a choral work based on text by Walt Whitman, is as uncowlike as you can get but too hysterically pitched for my taste (like Mahler's Eighth).

The sublime Tallis Fantasy is given an expert performance, the marvelous Oboe Concerto is well done. The two string quartets are little known but very worth listening to.

In all, at less than $2 per disk, it's hard to see why anyone would turn it down. The set's only serious defect is the pathetically inadequate documentation. One can hardly figure out who's performing what. The disks themselves lack track numbers, very inconvenient, and the booklet lacks notes. But the set is nicely boxed and at this price it seems churlish to quarrel.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Vaughan Williams vies with Elgar as the most beloved British composer, and EMI has amassed an unrivaled catalog of great performances of his works. For that reason, most of us who love this music will own a goodly proportion of the CDs included here. Before offering any comments, let me list the major contents of the 30 CDs packaged in the set (the remaining minor works can be found at

Symphonies Nos. 1-9
Vernon Handley (cond.)
Joan Rogers (soprano), William Shimell (baritone), Alison Barlow (soprano)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Oboe Concerto in A minor
Jonathan Small (oboe)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Serenade to Music (choral version)
Vernon Handley (cond.)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Partita for double string orchestra
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

The Wasps - Aristophanic Suite
Versnon Handley
Royal Liverpool Phil.

Prelude and Fugue in C minor
London Philharmonic Orchestra & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Piano Concerto in C major
Piers Lane (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Concerto in C for two pianos
Vitya Vronsky & Victor Babin
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Adrian Boult

Serenade to Music (16 soloists)
London Symphony Orchestra & New Philharmonic Orchestra, Adrian Boult

English Folk Song Suite(orchestral)
Norfolk Rhapsody No.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for such a rare musical opportunity May 30, 2009
Verified Purchase
There are some people who want everything for nothing. To carp at the omissions in documentation (libretti etc) is a reflection of sheer greed. EMI has put together a brilliantly representative collection of the work of Vaughan Williams at the lowest price possible. This means compromises like minimal documentations, simple but adequate packaging, packing together on a CD works that don't complement each other just to take best advantage of the space, remasterings that are not recent and therefore not state of the art, etc. If you want to avoid these compromises, then pay for a full-price release!

What you get are recordings ranging from the 60's to the 90's (they are definitely NOT all old) which include performances ranging from 'good' to 'best available'. I am an audiophile with a sound system worth around $20,000 and have the ear of a trained musician. None of the sound is state-of-the-art, but it does range from more than acceptable to very good. As far as I can see, the earlier recordings (and old recordings from the 60's and 70's don't swamp the collection - and there are many who would regret this) have been re-mastered. As I write I am listening to a compilation from late 60's to early 70's, put together and remastered in 1987. The sound is excellent, possibly due to analog originals, although there are some discs where the re-mastering has produced a slight harsh edge.

At $2 per CD, I am happy to get such an excellent coverage of VW's output in performances where the average standard is so high. And the opportunity to get such things as 'Serenade to Music', a piece that rates among the most beautiful compositions ever written, in all three of its versions is a treasure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit of wonderful
Ralph Vaughn Williams is one of the major players in the Twentieth Century Musical World.
You are not going to hear him on Public Radio, which is a compliment because they are... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Harold E. Wills
4.0 out of 5 stars Collections vs sound quality
When I buy large collections like this on (which is rare for me) I usually worry about sound quality. Not to worry with this Vaughan Williams EMI collection, very good.
Published 5 months ago by Sbagwell
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Collection
Just recently bought this boxed set after having read the reviews here. In short, this is a fabulous collection. Read more
Published 12 months ago by C. W. Hawes
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Collection & Deal!
Incredible collection of just about everything on CD from the Master!
Surprisingly excellent sound and an Amazing bargain for the price!
Loving every CD.
Published 12 months ago by Tiger Ron
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all right here.
To have the ability to choose any of Vaughan Williams works and at a bargain price, is worthy of the 5 star rating. Read more
Published 14 months ago by joe
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good collection.
I did not realize so much of the work was vocal. I am not a big fan of the vocal pieces.
Published 16 months ago by D. Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love RVW this is the collection to have
One of my favorite composers, and I received a gift certificate. Delighted to have this. Everything is here, including a few peices I had not heard before. Glad I bought it.
Published 17 months ago by Sarajane Garten
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate VW boxed set
When I first saw this item, I was sure that it was mistake of some sort. Happily, you really do get 30 CDs full of VW's entire oeuvre of 34 hours worth for the listed $$$. Read more
Published 23 months ago by jerry i h
5.0 out of 5 stars Texts?
I read over the reviews concerning this work and I do give it 5 stars because it deserves it. I don't think VW was a poplar composer back in the 70's but I liked him alot. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Phillip C. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't stop listening
I wore out my vinyl collection of Vaughan Willaims years ago. When I saw this wonderful price, I couldn't resist. I haven't stopped listening since this collection arrived. Read more
Published on January 20, 2012 by Judith S. Grigg
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