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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I can certainly hold off posting the details, anyone who wants to know before then can send me a private message (conversation on this new software.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
#3 IS intended to be somewhat disturbing considering that the motivation was memories of the WW1 battle fields. Given that #5 includes music intended for Pilgrim's Progress, there is more solace in it. Having said that, a really good performance of #5 should have a subtle edge to it, which is why I preferred the Handley/RLPO recording to the Barbirolli/Halle which I first got to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Big thanks to everyone who took part ... here are the details ...
A - Royal College of Music Symphony - Antonio Pappano
B - Oslo Philharmonic - Vasily Petrenko
C - London Symphony - Simon Rattle
D - BBC Symphony - Adrian Boult

All of them are live performances
B - A 'pandemic' concert, i.e. in their hall but no audience
C - Also a 'pandemic' concert from 2020, the pseudo-Proms of that year, in the Royal Albert Hall with no audience and members of the orchestra are all socially-distanced.
D - A very recent, first ever release from a Proms concert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Yet again, a conductor I've never heard of produces results more to my liking than bigger names. Unlike his namesake Kyrill, Vasily Petrenko is at least a musician :)
The Boult was a bit of a surprise as, although he's a little brisker than I like in my old LP, it's nothing compared to your live performance.
Vasily Petrenko was the MD of the Royal Liverpool Phil for many years and recently took over the Royal Philharmonic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of Covent Garden for the last 20 years. He takes over from Rattle at the London Symphony in a year or two. Despite the name he is English.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
My thanks for putting the time and effort into these kinds of threads - My apologies for not being able to do them justice - But it's kind of your own fault - You left the door open and I just waltzed in... Maybe make the next "Blind Comparison" a "by invitation only" event so as to keep the riff-raff out - :LOL:
At least you didn't lie down on my couch and cry your eyes out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
FWIW, the Rattle/LSO is my favourite ... if only the sound wasn't so poor, which is kinda weird for BBC/Proms broadcasts, and that background noise must be the hall air conditioning. Anyway it's interesting to watch the concert as it's a bit eerie with the empty hall, but it does add an appropriate ambience to the occasion. It is also interesting that I have never seen Rattle as being an RVW conductor!

As to the Boult, ICA released this very recently and it can be found on Spotify.

 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of Covent Garden for the last 20 years. He takes over from Rattle at the London Symphony in a year or two. Despite the name he is English.
P.S. There is a very recent and highly rated recording of the RVW 4th & 6th with Pappano and the LSO on the LSOLive label.
 
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