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Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6
By Halle and Sir Mark Elder. By Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). Classical. CD. Naxos #CDHLL7547. Published by Naxos (NX.CDHLL7547).
Item Number: NX.CDHLL7547
This is the newest release from Halle, continuing their series of Vaughan Williams symphonies in live recordings from the Bridgewater Hall. The Sixth Symphony caused a sensation at its premiere in 1948 and was performed 100 times in the following two years. It was composed during a period in which Vaughan Williams was writing film scores, the experience of which had the effect of sparking his imagination in the extravagant use of the orchestra. The work is claimed by many to have an external 'war' programme, a fact dismissed by the composer. Either way the result is undoubtedly one of Vaughan Williams' finest works; a tightly woven musical statement, with stunning melodies and orchestration which is at turns dramatic and expressive. The Fourth Symphony was first performed in 1925 and, echoed the relative dissonance of recent works such as the oratorio Sancta Civitas, the Piano Concerto and the masque for Dancing Job. Structurally it gives a nod to Beethoven's 5th Symphony and it includes material based on traditional forms as well as elements of self-portraiture, with music displaying the composer's temper, humour and ribaldry.