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Thread: Ralph Vaughan-Williams

  1. #31
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by post-minimalist View Post
    I think Elgarian's connection between 'Tallis Fantasy' and Elgar's 'I&A' is to be found in the stroies surrounding Howells's 'epiphany at the 1910 Glousceter Three choirs festival where both pieces were (I think) premiered. Howells is said to have wandered the streets till dawn in a daze with his friend Ivor Gurney after hearing this performance.
    Ring any bells?
    That's an interesting story, which I didn't know, but which is very believable. Back in the days of vinyl LPs, one of my very first LP purchases was a recording of the Enigma Variations with the Tallis Fantasia tagged on at the end, and they complemented each other wonderfully well, when listened to in sequence. When I discovered the Intro & Allegro soon afterwards, it clicked immediately into place alongside the Tallis F as Elgar's equivalent, deep-rooted expression of English pastoralism, and I've never been able to dissociate them ever since (not that I'd want to).

  2. #32
    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    Of original score pages of The Tallis Fantasy, Hubert Foss wrote the following:

    "They hold the faith of England, in its soil and its tradition, firmly believed yet expressed in no articled details. There is a quite ecstasy, then along side of it comes a kind of blind persistence, a faithful pigrimage towards the unseen light"

    Nice one Hube!

  3. #33
    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    For probably the best recorded performance of 'I&A' and 'Tallis' on one CD try to find - 'Sir John Barbirolli Conducts English String Music"

  4. #34
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by post-minimalist View Post
    Of original score pages of The Tallis Fantasy, Hubert Foss wrote the following:

    "They hold the faith of England, in its soil and its tradition, firmly believed yet expressed in no articled details. There is a quite ecstasy, then along side of it comes a kind of blind persistence, a faithful pigrimage towards the unseen light"
    I didn't know this either, so thank you. It comes very, very close to describing that-which-cannot-be-described.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by post-minimalist View Post
    Of course I love RVW and his musical offspring, the most underrated of which must be Herbert Howells.
    I never knew Howells was a student of Vaughan-Williams style. That explains why I find his Penguinski so riveting. I can't even find the work mentioned in the allmusic listings, but it's on a Chandos Cd along with two piano concertos conducted by Richard Hickox - the only Cd I have of Howell's music. I hope to remedy that soon. It's a terrific CD.

  6. #36
    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    Isn't that a great CD! Howard Shelly plays brilliantly on both concertos. I love these two pieces but one parallel which has escaped notice until now in that between the Cm concerto and the Puccini opera 'Edgar'. There is so much in common orchestrally between these two works that it is hard to assume Howells had no knowledge of the Puccini score. Since you have the concerto CD it remains for you to find a 'Highlights from Edgar' type CD and make a comparison. A good second Howells CD to get is also Chandos with Richard Hickox (who died in November) conducting the Music for Strings, pure magic if you ask me, and a fitting legacy for Hickox!
    FC
    Last edited by PostMinimalist; Feb-04-2009 at 11:14.

  7. #37
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    I like some of his works. They're really beautiful, but I don't like his symphonies to well. I need to give him another shot, because "The Lark Ascending," "Oboe Concerto," "Five Variants of Dives And Lazarus" are all beautiful works, but I will just have to give his symphonies another listen.

    I just bought the Adrian Boult box set on EMI. I look forward to hearing it. 8 discs....wow!

    Last edited by JTech82; Feb-14-2009 at 02:21.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    I just bought the Adrian Boult box set on EMI. I look forward to hearing it.
    That's another great box you've bought, there. With that and the Barbirolli/Elgar box, rainy days won't be a problem for you for some time to come.

    May I recommend starting with the 5th symphony? It's more accessible than the others, I think, and is full of the kind of Vaughan-Williams-pastoral flavour that you like already.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Default Vaughan Williams and Robin Hood

    I've been revisiting my childhood, watching the old black and white episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Richard Greene. The most obvious tune associated with this is the famous Da-dum-di-diddle-da-dum-dah-daaah, played at the beginning while an arrow flies from Robin's bow into a tree. But also there's a lot of use of background music, much of which seems broadly derivative from that. I noticed yesterday though, that one particular sequence of four notes seemed curiously familiar, generating a kind of 'English pastoral' mood. I'm not a musician, but perhaps my crude attempt to give these four notes will be good enough:



    They are, I believe, the same notes that form part of a recurring sequence in the first movement of Vaughan Williams's 5th symphony. Am I right? I doubt if there was any actual plagiarism - rather, that there's something about that sequence that instantly makes us think about English woodland and folk tale - and I expect RVW and the Robin Hood musicians picked it up independently. I suppose so, at any rate.

    There you are: a snippet of no importance, except as a bit of flimsy chat.

  10. #40
    Andante
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    Elgarian, Congratulations on your inclusion of some musical notation, ever since I joined this forum I have asked for this kind of thing to be included in posts as a means of explaining things, nothing too complicated as to be beyond the understanding of most of us, I had given up hope, well done.

  11. #41
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    Elgarian, Congratulations on your inclusion of some musical notation, ever since I joined this forum I have asked for this kind of thing to be included in posts as a means of explaining things, nothing too complicated as to be beyond the understanding of most of us, I had given up hope, well done.
    Delighted to satisfy that desire - there was no fear of my producing anything complicated: I'm a bungling incompetent when it comes to musical notation, and those four notes were painfully hacked out only with the assistance of Anvil Studio.

  12. #42
    Junior Member Eftos's Avatar
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    the lark ascending leaves me clueless: where should i go from here?
    this is peak konsonant composing. how on earth will you 'improve' this without ruining it?

  13. #43
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eftos View Post
    the lark ascending leaves me clueless: where should i go from here?
    this is peak konsonant composing. how on earth will you 'improve' this without ruining it?
    I'm not sure I fully understand your post, I'm afraid. When you say The Lark Ascending leaves you clueless, do you mean that you don't know what to try next? If so, then try Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, which is one of his greatest short works. Well, one of his greatest works of any size, I think.

    this is peak konsonant composing. how on earth will you 'improve' this without ruining it?
    I'm not sure I understand this either, but I think you mean 'how can any music be better than this?' If that's what you mean, then perhaps, in its way, it can't. But I think we can get music as good - but different. The Thomas Tallis Fantasia is one example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    That's another great box you've bought, there. With that and the Barbirolli/Elgar box, rainy days won't be a problem for you for some time to come.

    May I recommend starting with the 5th symphony? It's more accessible than the others, I think, and is full of the kind of Vaughan-Williams-pastoral flavour that you like already.

    Yeah, thanks Elgarian. You know what? I like this whole box set. I think everything is really good. I have not been disappointed yet. By the way, the 5th Symphony was fantastic, but I love his London Symphony as well.

    The more I listen to Vaughan Williams the more I appreciate how great he truly was. A very remarkable composer.

    I haven't listened to the Elgar yet, but I KNOW it's good, because I love Elgar. John Barbirolli is just the icing on the cake.

  15. #45
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    Yeah, thanks Elgarian. You know what? I like this whole box set. I think everything is really good. I have not been disappointed yet. By the way, the 5th Symphony was fantastic, but I love his London Symphony as well.
    I think that Boult box is tremendous - I don't know whether a 'real musician' would agree with me that Boult is the greatest interpreter of Vaughan Williams, but for me, he is. He seems to get to the spiritual heart of the music. (The Haitink box set, for instance, though critically acclaimed, seems to me to miss something in its character which I can't define, but which seems essential.) I agree with you that the London symphony is also very great, and I'm also very fond of the Third symphony. Check out the recent recording by Richard Hickox of the original version of the London, if you haven't done so already:



    It's available, with a lot more info about it, here.

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