MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CDs: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS


Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
The Essential Vaughan Williams
rec. 1950s-1980s
EMI CLASSICS 50999 2 07992 2 9
[78:12 + 77:28]
Experience Classicsonline

CD 1 [78:12]
The Lark Ascending [14:42]
Hugh Bean (violin); New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
Linden Lea (words by William Barnes) [2:50]
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano); Gerald Moore (piano)
Fantasia on Greensleeves [4:40]
Sinfonia of London/Sir John Barbirolli
Silent Noon [4:16]
Ian Bostridge (tenor); Julius Drake (piano)
English Folk Song Suite (orch. Gordon Jacob) [8:46]
London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
The Vagabond (from Songs of Travel) [3:07]
Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor); David Willison (piano)
Serenade to Music (original version with 16 soloists) [13:13]
Norma Burrowes; Sheila Armstrong; Susan Longfield; Marie Hayward (soprano); Alfreda Hodgson; Gloria Jennings; Shirley Minty; Meriel Dickinson (contralto); Ian Partridge; Bernard Dickerson; Wynford Evans; Kenneth Bowen (tenor); Richard Angas; John Carol Case; John Noble; Christopher Keyte (bass); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
On Wenlock Edge [3:49]
Ian Partridge (tenor)/Music Group of London
Rhosymedre [3:57]
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/Sir Neville Marriner
The Call (Five Mystical Songs) [2:07]
John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)/English Chamber Orchestra/Sir David Willcocks
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis [16:13]
Sinfonia of London/Sir John Barbirolli
CD 2 [77:28]
The Wasps Overture [10:09]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
Loch Lomond [3:42]
Ca' the Yowes [5:09]
Ian Partridge (tenor); London Madrigal Singers/Christopher Bishop
Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus' [11:23]
Jacques Orchestra/Sir David Willcocks
O Taste and See [1:40]
James Lancelot (organ); Ivan Sharpe (treble); Winchester Cathedral Choir/Martin Neary
Job – Pavane of the Sons of Morning [2:11]
London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
Bushes and Briars [3:00]
Wassail Song [2:42]
Baccholian Singers of London
For all the saints (Sine nomine) [5:07]
John Scott Whiteley (organ); York Minster Choir/Philip Moore
The truth sent from above [2:06]
Choir of King’s College/Cambridge/David Willcocks
O Little town of Bethlehem (Forest Green) [3:29]
Choir of King’s College/Cambridge/Sir Philip Ledger
The Lamb [2:13]
Ian Partridge (tenor); Janet Craxton (oboe)
Scherzo from Symphony No. 7 'Sinfonia antartica' [5:29]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
Orpheus With His Lute (first setting) [3:15]
David Daniels (counter-tenor); Martin Katz (piano)
Mass in G minor – Kyrie [3:55]
John Eaton (treble)/Nigel Perrin (alto)/Robin Doveton (tenor); David van Asch (bass)
Choir of King’s College/Cambridge/Sir David Willcocks
The blessed Son of God [2:34]
Bach Choir/Sir David Willcocks
Come down/O Love divine (trans. R. F. Littledale – v.4 arr. Williamson) [3:40]
Thomas Williamson (organ)
All people that on earth do dwell - (William Kethe – Louis Bourgeois arr. RVW; version for brass ensemble and organ by Roy Douglas) [4:55]
Benjamin Bayl (organ); Choir of King’s College/Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’ death this year EMI have released a 30-CD set of his "Masterworks"; a comprehensive introduction to his body of work. If you don’t want to stretch that far, however, then this 2-CD collection will do very nicely indeed.

If any label was to do a retrospective of Vaughan Williams’ work then it is wholly appropriate that it should be EMI. Their archive contains an unrivalled collection of recordings that have come to be seen as definitive, and in many cases are the only recordings of that work. They have plundered their treasury to provide a superb compendium here. It all begins with Hugh Bean’s classic account of The Lark Ascending which evokes the still timelessness of a summer’s day under Boult’s expert direction. Boult is also on call for his classic Serenade to Music with a top collection of soloists who suggest happy memories of a bygone era, quite fitting in the light of this work’s origins. Boult’s set of symphonies is also used to provide the movement from the Sinfonia Antartica as is his Job from the same 1970s set. The other major orchestral contributions come from Sir John Barbirolli whose justly famous accounts of Greensleeves and the Tallis Fantasia are given here. His spellbinding Tallis Fantasia is the most marvellous account of the work I have come across: the performances elicited from each constituent group blend into a marvellous whole, helped by the splendid EMI sound which places you in the centre of what feels like a vast acoustic surrounded by the participants. If you don’t have this recording then buying this set is worth it for this track alone.

EMI stalwart David Willcocks turns up happily often too. He conducts the Jacques Orchestra in a marvellously sonorous Dives and Lazarus. He conducts many sung items too, including the magical opening of the G Minor Mass and one of the Five Mystical Songs. The hymns are marvellously and professionally sung, though not with too much polish, which is important for congregational pieces. The solo singing from English legends like Janet Baker and John Shirley-Quirk is most welcome and the various folksongs are treated like the excellent music they are. Even David Daniels gives a marvellous other-worldly feel to Orpheus with his Lute.

With performances like this all collected together for the first time, this set is a guaranteed winner. It would be easy to complain about some omissions, but that would be churlish in light of the riches on offer here. Every aspect of Vaughan Williams’ output is represented - except the concertos and operas - and it’s impossible to imagine a better introduction to the marvellous diversity of his work. After this it would be fitting to explore the heavier repertoire such as the symphonies, but this forms an excellent springboard.

Simon Thompson




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.