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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5; Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Audio CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2007
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$13.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over $25. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 2003, Robert Spano and the ASO won three GRAMMY awards for Vaughan Williams' "A Sea Symphony" (Best Classical Album, Best Choral performance and Best Classical Engineered Album). The album was hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "...one of the most distinctive recordings ..." and the Symphony Magazine called the ASO Chorus' command of Vaughan William's fascinating and varied choral effects "...simply spectacular."

The critical acclaim is likely to continue for this new recording of Vaughan Williams' music. Anchoring this brilliant disc is the composer's peaceful Symphony No. 5 which was first heard in 1943 in the midst of World War II. A departure from his angry and strident Fourth Symphony, Symphony No. 5 was welcomed as an island of serenity in a time of great uncertainty.

Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is considered by many to be the composer's first indisputable masterpiece and has been featured in several films, including Remando al viento in 1988 with Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in 2003 with Russell Crowe.

Opening the disc is the Elizabethan church composer Thomas Tallis' four-part a cappella hymn "Why fum'th in fight," a paraphrase of Psalm 2 "Why do the nations rage?" which is one of nine Psalm settings by Tallis. This tune is the basis for Vaughan Williams' Fantasia.

The composer's Serenade to Music has been called one of the most sublime musical creations of the 20th century. Set to the final scene of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, it was originally created for 16 soloists, but the composer designed the work so that it could also be performed by four soloists and chorus. This work was composed for and dedicated to Sir Henry Wood - who instituted London's Promenade Concerts - in celebration of his 50th anniversary as a conductor.

Amazon.com

The major item here, Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5, is flanked by one of his most popular works, the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and another regarded as a connoisseur’s delight, the Serenade to Music. Spano prefaces the Fantasia with Tallis’ 16th-century hymn, which Vaughan Williams expanded into an extensive work for two string orchestras and string quartet. It’s a deep toned homage to Renaissance music whose noble expressiveness and archaic harmonies are irresistible, especially when played with the rich string tone of the Atlantans. In the Serenade, written for "sixteen soloists," who also sing as an impeccable choral ensemble, and this well-paced performance is arguably the finest on disc. The Fifth Symphony was written amid the carnage of World War II, but it offered solace instead of anger, reminiscent of the composer’s earlier pastoral works in its serene, autumnal mood. Here too, the orchestra plays with great tonal beauty as Spano directs a performance whose sensitive awareness of the composer’s spiritual subtext does not preclude flowing tempos and pointed phrasing. A disc to treasure! --Dan Davis

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Why Fun'th In Fight?
  2. Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis
  3. Preludio: Moderato
  4. Scherzo: Presto
  5. Romanza: Lento
  6. Passacaglia: Moderato
  7. Serenade To Music


Product details

  • Performer: Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus
  • Orchestra: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Composer: Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (April 24, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000NOKBIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,983 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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