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RVW's 9th


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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2013, 10:22:12 pm »

It seems to me that all the music and documentaries about Antarctica use the Vaughn Williams sound world from his famed symphony..and that includes the me-too symphony of the same name by Maxwell Davies.
This speaks volumes about the genius of Vaughan Williams.
The 9th was less memorable for me, perhaps because of the saxaphone, which seemed out of context for this basically conservative composer.
But I must hear it again..I have the Boult Everest recording. The sax is there for a reason..
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relm1
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2013, 11:43:08 pm »

Is that Boult Everest recording the same one with Malcolm Arnold's 3rd Symphony?

The saxaphones are not very prominent in the VW's 9th except in the 3rd movement’s scherzo (the "cat’s chorale") where the effect is memorable.  From the outset in this movement, the emphasis is on clash.  It is full of minor seconds such as the F/G flat rub and tritones plus adds idea after idea all deployed with increasingly complex counterpoint and canons.  I love how innovative this movement is and how these various ideas which step on each other in bigger and increasingly more obnoxious ways ends with the cats scurrying away.  To my ears, it sounds very mischievous.  By the way, the “cat” description is not my idea – Vaughan Williams described it that way to his assistant, Roy Douglas.  I think the key to understanding this movement is to hear it as a transformation from something effective though heavy handed and predictable, towards something quite elusive, unstable, and unpredictable while showing an emphasis on unique timbres of the flugelhorn and saxophones.  This movement serves as a wonderful transformation to the dark solemn beauty that opens the finale.  It has a similar impact to me as the last two movements of Mahler's 9th symphony where the bewildering Rondo-Burleske yield to the solemn grand statement of the final Adagio movement.

Much of the criticism I've heard about this symphony deals with a perceived lack of structural integrity but I think its masterfully structured and carefully argued. 
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 12:43:59 am »

relm1's posts are spot on.

Listening to the recording we now have been so kindly allowed to hear is a fantastic reminder of the excellent performance but-naturally-it cannot replicate the actual experience of being in the concert hall and hearing the music live. The impact of Manze's reading was more immediate and more powerful simply because one was there Grin

I am delighted that relm1 does agree with me that Manze and the BBC Scottish SO should record the work. I actually said so to the current Manager of the orchestra who simply smirked and said "ah, there lies a story"-which could mean anything or nothing. A studio recording would ultimately allow Manze to refine his interpretation and, in that sense, be potentially even "better".

What the performance (and the recording) confirm in my own mind is that this is one of RVW's greatest creations. Indeed my companion at the concert(who actually wrote the programme notes) asserted that it was VW's finest symphony Smiley It is a work which grows in stature the more one listens to it. The finale is quite wonderful and as an "enigmatic summation" of VW's music has such intense power that I am left overawed Smiley
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 06:02:16 am »

Is that Boult Everest recording the same one with Malcolm Arnold's 3rd Symphony?

The saxaphones are not very prominent in the VW's 9th except in the 3rd movement’s scherzo (the "cat’s chorale") where the effect is memorable.  From the outset in this movement, the emphasis is on clash.  It is full of minor seconds such as the F/G flat rub and tritones plus adds idea after idea all deployed with increasingly complex counterpoint and canons.  I love how innovative this movement is and how these various ideas which step on each other in bigger and increasingly more obnoxious ways ends with the cats scurrying away.  To my ears, it sounds very mischievous.  By the way, the “cat” description is not my idea – Vaughan Williams described it that way to his assistant, Roy Douglas.  I think the key to understanding this movement is to hear it as a transformation from something effective though heavy handed and predictable, towards something quite elusive, unstable, and unpredictable while showing an emphasis on unique timbres of the flugelhorn and saxophones.  This movement serves as a wonderful transformation to the dark solemn beauty that opens the finale.  It has a similar impact to me as the last two movements of Mahler's 9th symphony where the bewildering Rondo-Burleske yield to the solemn grand statement of the final Adagio movement.

Much of the criticism I've heard about this symphony deals with a perceived lack of structural integrity but I think its masterfully structured and carefully argued. 

It is a memorial to RVW and the only piece on the LP.
http://www.wqxr.org/#!/blogs/wqxr-blog/2013/apr/22/everest-records-1950s-hi-fi-label-back-digital-form/
It has been years since I heard it and based on this thread, I really look forward to hearing it again.
Structural integrity?? Like it is an absolute concept?
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JimL
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2013, 04:09:26 pm »

I normally keep only the downloads of "unsung" music.  However, I made an exception for this.  I cleaned out the applause and long pauses between movements with my splitter, labelled the movements and actually created a recording-worthy version in my iTunes.  I'll listen to it again - often. 
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