Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 9
The Hallé announces two releases marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Premiered by the Hallé under Sir John Barbirolli in 1953, the Sinfonia antartica originated in Vaughan Williams’ score for the film ‘Scott of the Antarctic’. With a highly original scoring (including solo soprano, wordless women’s chorus, organ, piano and extensive percussion section), the work depicts the struggle of man over nature, as epitomized in Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. The symphony is characterized with heroic themes, evocative orchestral effects and music which is at turns emotive and powerful.
In contrast the Ninth Symphony depicts the more philosophical challenges of mankind. Initially receiving a luke-warm reception it has come to be seen as a work imbued with what Vaughan Williams authority Michael Kennedy described as ‘a new richness of sound’.This enigmatic work is scored for standard orchestral forces, with the addition of saxophones and flugelhorn which add orchestral colour. This was the composer’s last symphony and was premiered just four months before his death in 1958. In construction it stands as the culmination of his compositional career, with elusive and constantly developing themes and evocative depictions of a wide range of emotions.
The symphonies are coupled with two orchestral works, Norfolk Rhapsody No.1 and The Lark Ascending, which were previously released as part of an English music mixed composer collection.