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April 2   -   Guardian

Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony, Symphony No 4 CD review – raw splendour

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Manze (Onyx)

The first two symphonies in this Vaughan Williams series with Andrew Manze conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra met with high praise. This second album has the same persuasive mix of poetry, raw splendour and poignancy, with exceptional playing from the RLPO. Vaughan Williams wrote A Pastoral Symphony straight after the first world war. Its elegiac mood has come to be understood as a meditation on the dead and not, as some first thought, a misty depiction of rural peace. The work’s abiding quietness, in the RLPO’s hands, intensifies the poignant mood. No 4, more tormented and dissonant, shows off the fine orchestral ensemble and excellent brass.

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