Ralph Vaughan Williams - Symphony No. 6

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS - Symphony No. 6 - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis - The Lark Ascending - Tasmin Little (Violin) - Sir Andrew Davis (Conductor) - BBC Symphony Orchestra - Warner Apex 49584

One of the best symphonies, not only by Ralph Vaughan Williams, but one of the most powerful symphonic statements of the 20th century is this Symphony No. 6 in E minor. A dark and foreboding work written during the years right after the second world war. A grim response to the horrors of that war that even someone like Dmitri Shostakovich would have admired. Sir Andrew Davis gives a tremendous reading full of drama and urgency that will leave you feeling like you've just seen what the composer himself had witnessed. And if that wasn't enough, this recording also includes beautiful and gripping interpretations of The Lark Ascending with an exceptional Tasmin Little on violin, and the ever so lyrical and bucolic Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, one of the most popular works in music. For a budget priced CD, I must say that the liner notes are very informative and go a long way in explaining the essence of the music at hand.

Mark Dillon, a writer and good friend of mine, recently reminded me of the qualities of this recording and of the vivid feelings it had impressed on us 20 years ago when it was first released. Well let me just say that on close re-encounter now, it has not aged one bit and is still a powerful and moving experience. If you don't have much in the way of Vaughan Williams, this budget CD paints a near complete portrait of the composer. Highly Recommended!

Jean-Yves Duperron