Boult: Williams - The Complete Symphonies (8 CD box set)
Boult: Williams – The Complete Symphonies (8 CD box set)

Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Adrian Boult
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 8 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: EMI Classics
Size: 2.21 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01
01. Behold, the sea itself (chorus)
02. Today a Rude Brief Recitative (Baritone & Chorus)
03. Flaunt Out, O Sea, Your Separate Flags of Nations! (Soprano & Chorus)
04. Token of All Brave Captains (Chorus)
05. A Pennant Universal (Baritone, Soprano & Chorus)
06. On the beach at night, alone (baritone & semi-chorus)
07. A Vast Similitude Interlocks All (Baritone & Chorus)
08. Scherzo: The Waves
09. O Vast Rondure, Swimming in Space (Chorus)
10. Down from the Gardens of Asia Descending (Chorus)
11. O We Can Wait No Longer (Baritone & Soprano)
12. O Thou Transcendent (Soprano, Baritone & Chorus)
13. Greater Than Stars Or Suns (Chorus, Soprano & Baritone)
14. Sail Forth (Chorus, Soprano & Baritone)
15. O My Brave Soul! (Soprano, Baritone & Chorus)

CD 02
01. Fantasia On a Theme By Thomas Tallis
02. 1. Lento – Allegro Risoluto
03. 2. Lento
04. 3. Scherzo (Nocturne): Allegro vivace
05. 4. Andante con moto – Maestoso alla marcia

CD 03
01. 1. Molto Moderato
02. 2. Lento moderato
03. 3. Moderato pesante
04. 4. Lento
05. 1. Preludio: Moderato
06. 2. Scherzo: Presto
07. 3. Romanza: Lento
08. 4. Passacaglia: Moderato

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CD 04
01. Allegro
02. 2. Andante Moderato
03. 3. Scherzo: Allegro molto
04. 4. Finale con epilogo fugato: Allegro molto
05. Allegro
06. 2. Moderato
07. 3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
08. 4. Epilogue: Moderato

CD 05
01. 1. Prelude: Andante maestoso
02. 2. Scherzo: moderato
03. 3. Landscape: Lento
04. 4. Intermezzo: Andante sostenuto
05. 5. Epilogue: Alla marcia
06. 1. Overture
07. 2. Entr’acte
08. 3. March past of the kitchen utensils
09. 4. Entr’acte
10. 5. Ballet and final tableau

CD 06
01. 1. Fantasia (Variazioni senza tema)
02. 2. Scherzo alla marcia
03. 3. Cavatina
04. 4. Toccata
05. 1. Moderato maestoso
06. 2. Andante Sostenuto
07. 3. Scherzo: Allegro pesante
08. 4. Andante tranquillo

CD 07
01. Serenade to Music (original version)
02. 1. March (Seventeen Come Sunday)
03. 2. Intermezzo (My Bonny Boy)
04. 3. March (Folk Songs from Somerset)
05. Norfolk Rhapsody, No. 1
06. Fantasia On ‘Greensleeves’
07. In the Fen Country
08. The Lark Ascending

CD 08
01. 1. Toccata: Allegro moderato
02. 2. Romanza: Lento
03. 3. Fuga chromatica (Allegro)
04. Con finale alle tedesca
05. Scene 1: Introduction
06. Scene 1: Saraband of the Sons of God
07. Scene 2: Satan’s Dance of Triumph
08. Scene 3: Minuet of the Sons of Job and Their Wives
09. Scene 4: Job’s Dream
10. Scene 5: Dance of the Three Messengers
11. Scene 6: Dance of Job’s Comforters
12. Scene 7: Elihu’s Dance of Youth and Beauty
13. Scene 7: Pavance of the Sons of the Morning
14. Scene 8: Galliard of the Sons of the Morning
15. Scene 8: Altar Dance
16. Scene 9: Epilogue

Adrian Boult’s credentials in this repertoire are unassailable, and to have nearly all his stereo Vaughan Williams recordings for EMI so elegantly packaged and enticingly priced will be incentive enough for many a prospective purchaser. There’s much to treasure here, not least those gently perceptive accounts of the first three symphonies, as well as the Fifth and the Ninth. All the same, the fires burned more brightly on Boult’s earlier mono cycle for Decca, and there’s some oddly listless orchestral playing to contend with in both the Sinfonia Antarctica and the Eighth, especially. The Fourth and Sixth, too, find the New Philharmonia in less than ideally tidy form. The disc of shorter orchestral items and the gorgeous Serenade to Music offer mostly unbridled pleasure (with Hugh Bean a memorably serene soloist in The Lark Ascending), as does Boult’s fourth and final recording of Job, though here, too, tension levels are markedly lower than on either of his mono versions. No matter, for all its ups and downs, the present anthology undoubtedly offers fine value for the money. –Andrew Achenbach

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