VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 – CD of the Week

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Manze

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Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3, Record Review, CD of the Week, 7 April 2018 “Post-war Vaughan Williams, from Andrew Manze and the Royal Liverpool Phiharmonic Orchestra…they really get the stark ferocity of the score, and the post-apocalyptic ending. It’s my Disc of the Week.”

The Sunday Times Both works, outwardly so different, are beautifully played by the Liverpool orchestra. The violence and menace of No 6 strike you forcibly, in performance and in recording, as does No 5’s healing serenity.”

Gramophone “The clarity of the orchestral sound, especially in the pointillistic orchestration of the Fifth, is compelling (the Scherzo in particular, whose tempo Manze gives an extra injection of adrenalin)…[The Scherzo of the Sixth] this is virtuoso stuff, splendidly handled by conductor and orchestra…Any lover of Vaughan Williams as a symphonist will find this recording exceptionally rewarding.”

CD notes…

Andrew Manze’s interpretations of Vaughan Williams’ Symphonies have been met with acclaim from audiences and critics alike. This third album in the series contains two masterpieces. The 5th Symphony of 1943 displaying a ‘greatness of soul’ as one commentator at the time wrote, draws on material for ‘The Pilgrims Progress’ from 1906. The 6th Symphony of 1944-7 stunned the audience at its premiere – some tried to explain the works last movement as depicting a nuclear wasteland.
RVW denied it was a war symphony, renewing the questions asked about the 4th: why did he write such another such violent work, and what did it mean? The composer, shocked by the nuclear wasteland talk commented ‘we can get in words nearest to the substance of my last movement in “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded by a sleep” from “The Tempest”

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