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CHAN 9593
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CHAN 9593

Vaughan Williams: 5 Tudor Portraits

The Classical Shop
release date: January 1998

Originally recorded in 1997

Artists:

London Symphony Orchestra


Richard Hickox


John Shirley-Quirk

baritone

Jean Rigby

mezzo-soprano

London Symphony Chorus



Venue:

All Saints' Church, Tooting, London



Producer:

Ralph Couzens



Engineer:

Jonathan Cooper


Peter Newble

(assistant)

Record Label
Chandos

Genre:

Orchestral & Concertos


Choir

Total Time - 55:10
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RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

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Five Tudor Portraits

44:48  
1 I Ballad: The Tunning of Elinor Rumming 11:39
  Robert Bourton, bassoon  
2 II Intermezzo: Pretty Bess 3:01
3 III Burlesca: Epitaph on John Jayberd of Diss 3:18
4 IV Romanza: Jane Scroop (Her Lament for Philip Sparrow) 22:21
  Michael Cox flute - Tim Hugh cello  
5 V Scherzo: Jolly Rutterkin 4:16
   
6 

Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus

10:35
   
   
 Jean Rigby mezzo-soprano
 John Shirley-Quirk baritone
 Richard Hickox
   
   
  22 - 23 April 1997  


Vaughan William’s vividly entertaining Five Tudor Portraits come alive under Richard Hickox’s highly sympathetic direction.

Having successfully tackled Elizabethan England, Vaughan Williams found a related stimulus in the energy and bawdiness of the late medieval poet John Skelton.

Opening with the "Ballad: The Tunning of Elinor Rumming", we find Skelton in racy mode, describing an alehouse run by Elinor. We are introduced to the assorted, colourful characters who visit the pub, most of them poor and of all them thirsty for the "nappy ale". "My Pretty Bess" follows, a tender poem drawing exquisitely lyrical music from Vaughan Williams. Male chorus and orchestra then bring us "Burlesca - Epitaph on John Jaybeard of Diss", describing a cantankerous, dislikeable clerk whose death no-one mourns. The following movement, quoting the "Dies Irae", tells of Jane Scroop’s lament for the death of Philip, her pet sparrow (eaten by Gib, the cat). In the final, exuberant portrait, "Jolly Rutterkin", trumpets call above horns and lower strings, before the chorus enters with a high-spirited "Hoyda, hoyda".

The Five Variants of ’Dives and Lazarus’, with their rich string writing, antiphonal effects and mellow colouring, recall the composer’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Vaughan Williams commented: "These variants are not exact replicas of traditional tunes but rather the reminiscences of various versions in my own collection and those of others."

"...this is an essential disc for lovers of English music."

Halderman - American Record Guide - July/August 1998


Performance ****    Recording ****

"...The poems which are witty, racy and sometimes a little coarse, are performed with relish by Rigby, Shirley -Quirk with the London SymphonyChorus on fine form. The orchestral playing is excellent throughout ..."

Yorkshire Post - March 1998


"...Jane Scroop’s lament for the pet sparrow, a beautiful elegy for a mezzo-soprano, is winsomely sung by Jean Rigby. Elsewhere Richard Hickox has the London Symphony Chorus and the orchestra pulling out plenty of stops..."

Classic FM - April 1998


      Performance ****      Sound ****

"...the refinement of the LSO string playing under Hickox is magnificent, and the subtle textures of the scoring are beautifully captured."

Terry Barfoot - BBC Music Magazine - April 1998


"...Richard Hickox conducts a lively and poetic performance, brightly recorded and exceptionally well played and sung: chorus’s diction is particularly clear ...the strings and harp of the LSO make a sumptuous sound ."

Michael Kennedy - The Sunday Telegraph - 8 February 1998


"... the performances are superb ..."

Michael White - The Guardian - 16 January 1998





*****
S Rhodes

*****
D Brown