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Which performance(s) do you prefer (up to 2 choices)

  • A

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • B

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • C

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • D

    Votes: 1 14.3%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yet another in my occasional blind comparison series, this time one of my favourite symphonies - Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony #5

For those of you unfamiliar with these comparison threads, I am providing links to 4 different performances of the symphony but without any indication as to who, what, when, where and why! The idea is for you to listen to them and offer your opinions without having preconceived biases about the performers. The audio quality may vary especially if one is a live performance but I encourage you to filter that out and concentrate on the actual performance.

One common outcome is that some of the participants will find that their opinions are different from what they would have expected, and that can be a good thing. But please do not feel intimidated, there are no correct answers, just listen, enjoy and say what appeals to you. Don't feel that you have to write some lengthy critique, but do so if you want. I have also added a poll to this thread so that those who don't feel like posting can anonymously show their preference.

The idea here is not to guess who did them, although go ahead if you want to do so, however if you do recognize the performance, please don't spoil it for others by posting the names (you can PM me if you wish.) All I will say is that none of them are any of the well-known recordings, I intentionally avoid them as too many people will immediately recognize them.

Depending on how many participate (and please let us know if you intend to), I will post the details by the end of the weekend. You can also PM me if you want to know the details before I post them.

One last comment, I realize that 4 performances maybe a bit much for some, if so then feel free to pick and choose.

A - 1st a-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd a-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd a-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th a-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

B - 1st b-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd b-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd b-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th b-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

C - 1st c-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd c-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd c-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th c-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

D - 1st d-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd d-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd d-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th d-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
 

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Thanks Becca. An initial comparison of the first four minutes of each leaves me continuing to listen to C, preferring the more open recording, wider sound stage. I will also return to D as I quite like the faster tempo.
 

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Yet another in my occasional blind comparison series, this time one of my favourite symphonies - Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony #5

For those of you unfamiliar with these comparison threads, I am providing links to 4 different performances of the symphony but without any indication as to who, what, when, where and why! The idea is for you to listen to them and offer your opinions without having preconceived biases about the performers. The audio quality may vary especially if one is a live performance but I encourage you to filter that out and concentrate on the actual performance.

One common outcome is that some of the participants will find that their opinions are different from what they would have expected, and that can be a good thing. But please do not feel intimidated, there are no correct answers, just listen, enjoy and say what appeals to you. Don't feel that you have to write some lengthy critique, but do so if you want. I have also added a poll to this thread so that those who don't feel like posting can anonymously show their preference.

The idea here is not to guess who did them, although go ahead if you want to do so, however if you do recognize the performance, please don't spoil it for others by posting the names (you can PM me if you wish.) All I will say is that none of them are any of the well-known recordings, I intentionally avoid them as too many people will immediately recognize them.

Depending on how many participate (and please let us know if you intend to), I will post the details by the end of the weekend. You can also PM me if you want to know the details before I post them.

One last comment, I realize that 4 performances maybe a bit much for some, if so then feel free to pick and choose.

A - 1st a-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd a-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd a-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th a-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

B - 1st b-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd b-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd b-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th b-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

C - 1st c-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd c-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd c-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th c-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

D - 1st d-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd d-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd d-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th d-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
Yet another in my occasional blind comparison series, this time one of my favourite symphonies - Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony #5

For those of you unfamiliar with these comparison threads, I am providing links to 4 different performances of the symphony but without any indication as to who, what, when, where and why! The idea is for you to listen to them and offer your opinions without having preconceived biases about the performers. The audio quality may vary especially if one is a live performance but I encourage you to filter that out and concentrate on the actual performance.

One common outcome is that some of the participants will find that their opinions are different from what they would have expected, and that can be a good thing. But please do not feel intimidated, there are no correct answers, just listen, enjoy and say what appeals to you. Don't feel that you have to write some lengthy critique, but do so if you want. I have also added a poll to this thread so that those who don't feel like posting can anonymously show their preference.

The idea here is not to guess who did them, although go ahead if you want to do so, however if you do recognize the performance, please don't spoil it for others by posting the names (you can PM me if you wish.) All I will say is that none of them are any of the well-known recordings, I intentionally avoid them as too many people will immediately recognize them.

Depending on how many participate (and please let us know if you intend to), I will post the details by the end of the weekend. You can also PM me if you want to know the details before I post them.

One last comment, I realize that 4 performances maybe a bit much for some, if so then feel free to pick and choose.

A - 1st a-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd a-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd a-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th a-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

B - 1st b-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd b-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd b-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th b-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

C - 1st c-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd c-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd c-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th c-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud

D - 1st d-1.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
2nd d-2.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
3rd d-3.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
4th d-4.mp3 - Shared with pCloud
Subconsciously, or maybe consciously, I was almost looking-for (thinking-about) Sir Adrian Boult, but am SURE he's not one of the 4 choices. Thanks, also, for those pCloud downloads! ... as they show certain differences, in the 4 examples.
 

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Vaughan Williams dedicated the symphony to Jean Sibelius. The musicologist J. P. E. Harper-Scott has called Sibelius "the influence of choice" among British symphonists in the years between the two World Wars, citing Walton's First Symphony, all seven of Bax's and the first five of Havergal Brian. The published ascription reads "Dedicated without permission to Jean Sibelius". Sir Adrian Boult subsequently secured permission. After listening to a broadcast of the work, Sibelius wrote to him, "I heard Dr. Ralph Vaughan Williams' new Symphony from Stockholm under the excellent leadership of Malcolm Sargent ... This Symphony is a marvelous work ... the dedication made me feel proud and grateful ... I wonder if Dr. Williams has any idea of the pleasure he has given me?"




.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks folks, I look forward to seeing some of the opinions. If anyone else will be participating, please let me know so that I don't end up posting the details before you've had a chance to finish (currently scheduled for Sunday.)
 

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2nd movement. A's tempo seems suitably brisk, (perhaps too brisk, now I've heard the others), but unexceptional, reminding me of Holst's Uranus combined with Mercury more than the others. B's more deliberate pace and wider soundstage means individual instruments can be heard more clearly. C's solo bassoon and flute are more prominent (I like) but the strings seem rather woolly, with a lot of background murmuring. D's horn led climax is better defined, but the mono recording is not to my taste.

My Haitink/London Phil takes this even slower at 5:33, while Manze/Royal Liverpool is just under 5.00. Both seem to fade out at the end too quietly (certainly for my tinnitus affected ears, even wearing headphones).

If "presto misterioso" means anything at all, A misses out the misterioso completely, but is certainly presto, where the others are more leisurely with out necessarily bringing any mystery.
 

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Becca,
Just discovered your post (midday Sat UK time) I will be struggling to get through four performances by close of play Sunday but if you wish to reveal the selections on Sunday please carry on - I'll not look at the thread until i've finished listening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Becca,
Just discovered your post (midday Sat UK time) I will be struggling to get through four performances by close of play Sunday but if you wish to reveal the selections on Sunday please carry on - I'll not look at the thread until i've finished listening.
Let's see how things go. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2nd movement. A's tempo seems suitably brisk, (perhaps too brisk, now I've heard the others), but unexceptional, reminding me of Holst's Uranus combined with Mercury more than the others. B's more deliberate pace and wider soundstage means individual instruments can be heard more clearly. C's solo bassoon and flute are more prominent (I like) but the strings seem rather woolly, with a lot of background murmuring. D's horn led climax is better defined, but the mono recording is not to my taste.
I just checked again and D is definitely stereo although it is admittedly a rather narrow sound stage.
 

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It is definitely going to take me longer than the weekend. - perhaps by Monday I have now heard all four but too close together and with insufficient concentration to have a clear sense of them. I listened to two yesterday and two today and found myself preferring the first of the day both times - A (I liked its pacing) and D (I enjoyed it's Romantic feel)). But B and C were also good, I thought, so it doesn't help that so far I like them all in their different ways!
 

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As it's around a decade since I last listened to this symphony, I thought I'd have a bash.
I know that there was the warning "The audio quality may vary especially if one is a live performance but I encourage you to filter that out and concentrate on the actual performance" but in C I simply couldn't hear enough of the music for the artefacts the minute anything started to get busy so have to eliminate that one. D is too fast in the first and third so goodbye to that - the atmosphere of repose just isn't there.
Between A and B, not so clearcut. A phrases naturally, good tempi for the most part and really not much to quibble about. B is a bit less consistent but gives an extra emotional push at times in the string phrasing which is welcome. Winner A from first run through but it's not impossible I might change my mind if I get time to explore more.
 

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Having spent a fair bit of time yesterday and this morning listening to the four recordings I am in some ways no closer to reaching a conclusion as to which I prefer.
I will state at this point this is not one of the VW symphonies I know well as I never been drawn to it, but as always with a bit more attention as given over the last couple of days I'm slowly warming to its charms.
With specific reference to the four recordings/performances selected by Becca - B & C seem to be similar in approach, an approach which is a bit more lively than A which has a more soulful (pastoral) feel to it, and D which seems to be a bit maverick in comparison to the other three.
In terms of my preference for the thread I am tempted to say A presents maybe the conservative, easy to live with side of VW interpretation one for this symphony works well and the other performance I warmed to is D just because it is different which always appeals to me. But as I said at the start of the post all four seem decent enough efforts for this listener.
As to which is the 'best' I'll leave that for others to decide.
 

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I totally missed this thread until now!

Starting with D, I like the flowing tempo throughout, but overall it sounds too soft for the undercurrents to come out onto the pastoral surface effectively. (Even though, in my opinion, when compared to A Pastoral Symphony, the 5th is more of a pastoral symphony than a war symphony, relatively speaking.) The agony in the Romanza and the optimism in the Passacaglia both come out well enough, and I like that they do not moan. Good, overall, but I feel it sounds a bit too soft despite the relatively fast tempo.

Will try to listen to the rest before the end of Tuesday.
 

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For what it's worth, I seem to be consistently preferring A and then D at the moment. I find B and C a little dull and my mind wanders. My preferences, however, seem marginal to me and it is quite possible I would hear them differently on another day. But, of these, I think it is A I would keep as having something to add to the recordings I have.

With A I am not sure what it is but it there are many passages that are almost sublime and its pastoralism is almost ecstatic. It holds my attention. D reminds me of Vaughan Williams recordings by Munch that I have heard. I'm not saying that's who it is but it seems to go out of its way not to sound too English.
 

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Onto C, better sonics than D definitely. It sounds purposeful from the outset. The changes in dynamics are there (D sounds flatter), but I feel that whenever the energy needs to be released, it is not released quite enough. Not bad, but not enough. Otherwise, the characters of the music come out very well throughout. The Romanza is particularly beautiful and certainly "romantic" in character. Slow and beautiful overall, it is pretty decent.
 

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I totally missed this thread until now!

(Even though, in my opinion, when compared to A Pastoral Symphony, the 5th is more of a pastoral symphony than a war symphony, relatively speaking.)
This has always been my view, too. no. 3 is too disturbing to be a true Pastoral symphony and I find it more emotionally searching somehow than 5, despite plenty of beautiful moments in the latter.
 
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