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


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Audio CD, Box set, Collector's Edition, July 8, 2008
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$98.99 $82.70


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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,356 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

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
None of the sound is state-of-the-art, but it does range from more than acceptable to very good.
Bryan Leech
It's a great way to fill in the gaps in your collection, or to become acquainted with RVW's less familiar works.
Paul Van de Water
For that reason, most of us who love this music will own a goodly proportion of the CDs included here.
Santa Fe Listener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Paul Van de Water on 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 By Harold Fromm on 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 By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 4, 2011
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 arkivmusic.com):

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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Leech on 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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