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HL 7510
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HL 7510
(this is a multiple CD album sold separately)

Vaughan Williams: The Wasps

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2010



Mark Elder

Richard Suart


Henry Goodman


Hallé Choir - James Burton Choral Director


Albert Halls, Bolton


Chris Wines

Andrew Keener


Simon Eadon

Record Label



Total Time - 104:54
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The Wasps


Select Complete Single Disc for
1 Act I No.1 Overture 9:36
2 Act I Procleon: 'Bastard! Bloody Lickspittle!' 4:00
3 Act I No.2 Introduction (Nocturne) 1:20
4 Act I No.3 Melodrama and Chorus 6:15
5 Act I No.4 Chorus: The Wasps' Serenade 5:55
6 Act I Procleon: 'Boys, Your song brings tears to my eyes...' 1:03
7 Act I No.5 Chorus ('When we buzz...') 0:44
8 Act I Procleon: 'Then all hell breaks loose' 0:32
9 Act I No.6 Chorus ('If you survive your sixtieth year...') 1:36
10 Act I Procleon: 'Imagine how it feels...' 1:52
11 Act I No.7 Melodrama And Chorus 2:29
12 Act I Procleon: 'So Sandra starts in...' 2:45
13 Act I No.8 Melodrama And Chorus 5:50

Select Complete Single Disc for
1 Act I No.9 Entr'acte And Introduction 2:45
2 Act I Procleon: 'Well, I was in the depths of depression...' 1:14
3 Act I No.10 Melodrama And Chorus 6:54
4 Act I Padre: 'Let the jury be seated' 1:15
5 Act I No.11 March Past Of The Witnesses 1:32
6 Act I Procleon: 'So, Wok, what's the evidence?' 2:03
7 Act I No.12 Chorus: Parabasis 21:02
8 Act I No.13 Entr'acte 4:24
9 Act I Procleon: 'So, how do you like my new outfit?' 1:00
10 Act I No.14 Chorus ('His army cloak, His field canteen...') 4:30
11 Act I No.15 Melodrama ('Out of my way...') 0:37
12 Act I Procleon: 'Great wine they had at that dinner!' 2:03
13 Act I No.16 Melodrama ('Ta-ratata-ta...') 1:20
14 Act I No.17 Melodrama ('I must be dreaming!') 1:50
15 Act I No.18 Chorus And Dance 8:28
 Henry Goodman Narrator
 Richard Suart Baritone
 Mark Elder
Vaughan Williams: The Wasps - Halle O, Mark Elder
‘Vaughan Williams composed his score for Aristophanes’ satirical comedy The Wasps for a production of the play in Greek at Cambridge University in 1909. Since then the justly famous Overture and a 1912 Suite (admittedly containing almost all of the best music) is all that has been heard of the score, which for the most part is folksy and light-hearted and includes witty quotations from other composers’ works. But the choral writing itself is splendid, and the most ambitious part of the score is the Parabasis (a diatribe on human behaviour, drawing a parallel with the conduct of wasps, sung directly by the chorus to the audience). In effect this is an ambitious choral scena, which almost immediately quotes from Debussy’s L’après-midi, and draws from the composer some of his most atmospheric and forward looking music.
The original play had three characters, but David Pountney’s translation reduces the text to a narration from just one, Procleon, a ‘curmudgeonly old codger, an old soldier and a bigot’, a part which Henry Goodman takes with relish. A full text is included, but if you don’t want to repeat the dialogue it is all cued separately; you can programme your player accordingly and just enjoy the superb singing and playing of the Halle Chorus and Orchestra, vividly directed by Mark Elder, and excellently recorded. A major scoop for the Orchestra’s own record label.’

Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music

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