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Sure, but there is still a considerable status discrepancy between the anglosphere and the rest of the world. I find it a bit odd that everyone seems to be fine with totally subjective tastes and disliking Mozart or other composers considered universal classics but at the same time think that everyone should at least try to love local composers like Miaskovsky or RWV. The French are relatively neglecting many of their own but if French was the language of the internet and Diapason as internationally influential as Gramophone used to be we'd probably all be assumed to love Magnard and Roussel.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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Which symphony do you enjoy the most? And please describe why. It will help my orientation and listening. Thanks!
As I said, my favourite is the Pastoral (the 3rd - apparently RVW didn't like numbering his symphonies).

I like the slightly mysterious, melancholic and unsettling atmosphere throughout; the brass theme in the 2nd movement (I think it's repeated by a trumpet, mute trumpet and trombones); the triumphant fanfare in the 3rd (though this sits at odds with the rest, to my ears); the wordless vocal in the 4th movement and the (usually) understated finale, especially the falling brass as the strings play the main theme and then reverse direction at the climax. I find it very moving.

There is a story behind the symphony, but you might like to listen first and decide whether "what it is about" matters or not.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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Sure, but there is still a considerable status discrepancy between the anglosphere and the rest of the world. I find it a bit odd that everyone seems to be fine with totally subjective tastes and disliking Mozart or other composers considered universal classics but at the same time think that everyone should at least try to love local composers like Miaskovsky or RWV. The French are relatively neglecting many of their own but if French was the language of the internet and Diapason as internationally influential as Gramophone used to be we'd probably all be assumed to love Magnard and Roussel.
Well much as I like some of the "Greats", I'm very happy to listen to RVW and Roussel, at least as often as Beethoven and Haydn.
 

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I listen to RVW regularly and have done so for the last 30 years or so, and this year being the 150th anniversary of his birth, the extra attention on the great master has probably caused me to listen a little more than usual.

Over the last week or so I've been obsessed with symphonies 8 & 9. Since about 2013, I have considered them his best works. Prior to that, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about - sticking mainly with 3, 4, 5 7 6.

Today I've been listening to:

Malcolm Sargent's premiere recording of 9 remastered by Pristine Classical.
Leopold Stkowski's USA premiere (25th September Carnegie Hall) beautifully mastered on Signum-Cala.

These are full bloodied performances that eschew the 'valedictory' misconceptions of this music and present it in all its power and mystery.


(Plus Handley's and Bakels' recordings of 8 - both superb!)



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Can anyone suggest a set that does not sound "quintessentially "English" " (to use the language of the OP)? All the recommended sets I know (including Previn and Haitink) sound very English to me. Was Barbirolli's more emotional approach less English than Boult's? I don't think so. Perhaps Colin Davis sometimes tried to "internationalise" Vaughan Williams but he never made a set.
 

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I haven't the foggiest idea of what "quintessentially English" means ... perhaps in the manner that Vaughan Williams intended?
Tea & Crumpets. Boult all the way. :) Not that that'd be my recommendation.

In any case, I think this might prove a helpful resource when deciding upon which Vaughan Williams Symphony Cycle might be the one/next to acquire.

A Survey of Vaughan Williams Symphony Cycles



I've updated the survey just yesterday and it now SHOULD include every extant set there is, up to Hyperion's with Brabbins.
 

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Previn, Boult, and Bakels is what I have. I don't feel the need to look any further.
 

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Tea & Crumpets. Boult all the way. :) Not that that'd be my recommendation.

In any case, I think this might prove a helpful resource when deciding upon which Vaughan Williams Symphony Cycle might be the one/next to acquire.

A Survey of Vaughan Williams Symphony Cycles


I've updated the survey just yesterday and it now SHOULD include every extant set there is, up to Hyperion's with Brabbins.
(a) I am English, and...
(b) I don't believe in collecting cycles so feel no need to go looking.
 
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