Album: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Archive Recordings of Ralph Vaughan Williams (Albion)


As with many period recordings, there's a hurdle to be overcome with these Fifties recordings of Vaughan Williams works – most notably, the thinness of the sound and the unusual instrumental balance that initially distracts from Alexander Young's noble English tenor.

But the performances win through: Young's delivery of On Wenlock Edge is tremendously moving, while pianist Gordon Watson and the Sebastian String Quartet capture the nuances of tonal colour resulting from RVW's studies under Ravel. The three Rondels of Merciless Beauty are similarly affecting, while the brass piece "Prelude on Three Welsh Hymns" is rendered in stirring manner by the Salvation Army Staff Band.

Download: On Wenlock Edge; Prelude on Three Welsh Hymns