- Audio CD (1 ottobre 2006)
- Data di prima pubblicazione: 16 dicembre 2006
- Numero di dischi: 1
- Formato: Classica
- Etichetta: Chandos Group
- ASIN: B000I2IS5O
- Edizioni in stampa: Musica MP3
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 329.863 in Musica (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Musica)
Ralph Vaughan Williams Classica
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CD audio, Classica, 1 ott 2006
"Ti preghiamo di riprovare"
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1.Fantasia on Christmas Carols (bearb. für Orgel und Streicher)
2.Prelude: God rest you merry - Allegro agitato -
3.Marley's ghost: Allegro moderato e pesante -
4.The spirit of Christmas: Lento -
5.Fezziwig's Christmas party: Molto moderato -
6.Fezziwig's parlour (Scene 2): Allegro -
7.Morris jig: Allegro molto -
8.The triumph: Allegro moderato -
9.Roger de Coverley -
10.Midnight: Lento -
11.A procession: Lento -
12.Victorian drawing room: Andante sostenuto -
13.Bob Cratchit's Christmas party -
14.Bob Cratchit's toast: Lento -
15.Black nag: Allegro -
16.Procession of the nativity: Lento
17.Nr. 1 Prelude: God rest you merry - The truth from above
18.Nr. 2: Angelus ad virginem
19.Nr. 3: The salutation carol
20.Nr. 6 The cherry tree carol: 1. Teil
21.Nr. 7 The cherry tree carol: 2. Teil
22.Nr. 8: Joseph and Mary
23.Nr. 9: In bethlehem City (A Virgin most pure)
24.Nr. 15: The sussex carol
25.Nr. 16: 'tisings true there be come new (The salutation carol)
26.Nr. 17: How brightly shone the morning star
27.Nr. 18: Interlude
28.Nr. 20: The first nowell
This was a coupling just waiting to be made. Praise to Chandos for having a listening ear . Faultless too is the seasonal timing. The disc will also draw in a legion of RVW enthusiasts who will have pounced on a CD that offers premiere recordings of On Christmas Night and the Fantasia at least in this version. I was not aware that The First Nowell had been recorded by anyone else but this is its first appearance on CD. RVW fans need have no misgivings about the performances either. Christmas was one of the wellsprings from which Vaughan Williams drew his creativity. Quite apart from these three works he is responsible for arrangements of numerous carols in the democratising English Hymnal as well as the major tableaux cantata Hodie. If you look at these dates and add his hymnal work you can see that the inspirational grip of carols and Christmas not quite the same thing - on the agnostic composer was unremitting. The Fantasia on Christmas Carols was dedicated to Cecil Sharp and is based on the four carols: 'The Truth sent from above', 'Come all you worthy gentlemen', 'On Christmas Night' and 'There is a fountain filled with blood', plus hints of other carols. This recording uses the alternative scoring using an organ plus strings accompaniment. The 1960s EMI Barry Rose/John Barrow version also uses the string version but no organ. John Barrow etches the syllables with more precision than Roberts but on the other hand Roberts is rock-steady while Barrow leans on more vibrato. The rumbling analogue atmosphere of the Guildford version is absent and the choir is recorded with great subtlety and dynamics are observed with fine and comely precision. On Christmas Night was originally called A Christmas Carol. It derives from an adaptation of the Dickens story. This began as a ballet score commissioned by Adolf Bolm, who had been a principal dancer with Diaghilev. It was first performed in 1926. The ballet must have made a pleasing contrast with the usual Nutcracker. While the Fantasia is all serenity and mysticism, On Christmas Night is much more varied. In the Prelude and Marley s Ghost we are treated to some real grotesquerie and grand guignol out of Pilgrim s Progress and Riders to the Sea. Of course serenity is admitted at the gate and The Spirit of Christmas is touched with Dives and Lazarus and the Falstaff-Father Christmas amble of the bassoon surely is meant to recall The Keel Row as is Morris Jig. Sir Roger de Coverley (also beloved of Frank Bridge) can also be heard graciously stepping it out at Fezziwig s Party and under its own name at track 9. There is a magically entranced Midnight that mixes The First Nowell and The Truth sent from above. Out of this hush also emerged, some years later, Finzi s Christmas choral piece In Terra Pax. In The Black Nag, not for the first time, the Hardyesque country fiddler can be heard bowing it higher and higher amid the plumes of breathy condensation. The Procession of the Nativity mixes serene voices from what he later used in the Prelude to the music for the Forty-Ninth Parallel with sensitively sung carols and warmingly harmonised brass writing topped off with the Nativity bells. All ends in warmth and serenity. The First Nowell is a nativity play for soloists, chorus and small orchestra, was arranged and adapted from medieval pageants by Simona Pakenham. --Music web.
Essential listening:three of VW's major christmas-related works, in top flight performances. --BBC Music Magazine, Christmas '12
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The Fantasia on Christmas Carols from 1912 is a beautiful work, and a surprisingly tautly argued one despite what the title might indicate. It also receives a very moving performance here - indeed, this Hickox performance makes as good a case for it as any I have heard. Hickox and his forces also obviously take care to present On Christmas Night (1926) in the best possible light - everything is lovingly done; the melodies are beautifully shaped, the textures warm and beautiful, and the singing is generally superb. Still, there are some limits to what can be achieved, and there is a reason why the work (based on Dickens's "Christmas Carol") has been left alone so far. It is not a bad work, by any means, but it is a light one, and many numbers exhibit the composer on autopilot (yet Vaughan Williams on autopilot is still a trustworthy source of quality) - many of the themes are based on existing Christmas carols, but despite the composer's generally exquisite treatment the work does not reach the coherence and cogency of the Fantasia, and the profundity and haunting qualities of Hodie or Job are far away.
The First Nowell is a very late work - indeed, Vaughan Williams died before he could finish it, and it was completed by Roy Douglas - and is perhaps best characterized as incidental music to a Nativity play. Again, the music consists mainly of settings of familiar and less familiar Christmas carols, to which Vaughan Williams adds some personal touches, development, texture and (some) momentum. In this case, however, the settings are overall relatively straightforward, though the touches he adds are quite effective. Overall, this is, indeed, an atmospheric and occasionally moving work, though I am hard pressed to deem it a great one.
Now, I really do not want to come across as too negative. The point of this review has been a warning to readers who may approach the disc with the wrong expectations - do not expect a pair of overlooked major works; you will not get anything to set beside Vaughan Williams's justifiably familiar large-scale choral masterpieces. But as a disc of beautifully crafted and beautifully executed music for The Season one has a cold heart who does not warm to these simple, touching works. As such this disc deserves a relatively firm recommendation overall, though it is hardly a must-have.
This recording features RVW's abbreviated concert version of First Nowell. Having seen the score for the work, I'd encourage Hickox to come back to this work before too long and record the full stage version. It's a much richer story and only a little longer. (No one should let that stop them from considering this recording, though!)