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Vaughan Williams Orchestral Works



BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month January 2015

Following highly acclaimed previous Vaughan Williams releases, Hallé announces a new volume of British orchestral jewels including his Pastoral Symphony which movingly depicts the horrors of the First World War.

Vaughan Williams Orchestral Works


“I'm torn between Elders resplendent Halle accounts of Vaughan Wiliams’s Sea and Pastoral Symphonies. If I gravitate towards the latter its testimony to the slumbering organic power and aching poignancy he distils in this boundlessly compassionate masterpiece. Glorious couplings too - in my experience the Five Variants has surely never sounded more raptly lyrical.” Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone

'This is, to my mind, the finest volume yet in Sir Mark Elder's unfolding Vaughan Williams cycle with the Hallé...A marvellous disc.' Gramophone, Feb 2015

'What makes this release special is Elder and the Hallé's interpretation of the Pastoral Symphony...beautiful.' BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, January 2015

'Mark Elder balances matters perceptively to bring out the variety and strength of this extrodinary score...One of the most imaginative strokes comes in the closing pages [of the Symphony], with a wordless soprano. Sarah Fox sings it almost expressionlessly, which is right, as is her placing not as a kind of sentimental distnace but as another instrument in the orchestra. International Record Review Outstanding, March 2015

'The recorded sound is exquisite.' Classical Music Magazine 

“With four Vaughan Williams symphonies now issued I think we can safely assume that a cycle is on the way. It shows every sign of being one of the finest ever committed to disc and I hope that more releases will follow soon. If I may make a personal plea I hope Sir Mark will not overlook Job. We need a new recording of that masterpiece and one from this source could be something very special indeed.” John Quinn,

"Capturing the sombre beauty of the work, with a sureness of touch and tempo that's utterly convincing, nothing too fast or too slow, no redundant underlying or unnecessary point making...Altogether it's an impressive edition to Elder and the Halle's Vaughan Williams." BBC Radio 3 CD Review

A lone trumpet call over a barren orchestral landscape conjures the first world war. Vaughan Williamsserved as an ambulance driver during the war and the slow movement of his Symphony No 3, the “Pastoral”, draws on his memories of life in war-torn France. Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra play the symphony from the heart and the music soars. A glowing performance of the much-loved “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” also raises the spirits and there are two bonus items in the “Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’” and the Overture to “The Wasps”.  Richard Fairman, Weekend Financial Times

"This Hallé release must be added to any serious music collection." Michael Cookson,

"This is, to my mind the finest volume yet in Sir Mark Elder’s unfolding Vaughan Williams cycle with the Hallé. Abetted by uncommonly articulate orchestral playing, the performance of the Pastoral Symphony evinces a glowing dedication, remarkable luminosity of texture, songful rapture and emotional clout that mark it out as a front-runner alongside Boult (Decca, Previn (RCA), Handley (CfP) and Haitink (EMI). The couplings yield comparable rewards. I’m especially taken with Elder’s thrillingly ardent and bracingly characterful way with Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’; (which also enjoys subtly observant, pliable and profoundly moving treatment) the Hallé strings cover themselves in glory. An exhilaratingly crisp yet wonderfully affectionate Wasps Overture rounds off proceedings with aplomb. Two different venues were employed but the sound consistently displays commendable transparency, warmth, depth and antiphonal spread. A marvellous disc." Gramophone, February 2015

"Elder has an obvious affinity with the music, and the many glorius moments are relished...a very fine achievement, recorded in full, resplendent sound and complete with typically athoritative notes by the late Michael Kennedy." FRMS Bulletin, Spring 2015