Top 10 Vaughan Williams recordings

Gramophone Thu 11th December 2014

The 10 best ways to discover one of the great symphonists of the 20th century

Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending and Tallis Fantasia are amongst the most popular works by any British composer, but it is in his nine symphonies that we feel the true substance of a composer who was far more than a mere painter of beautiful scenes.

No 1

A Sea Symphony 

LPO / Bernard Haitink 

(Warner Classics/EMI)

'A breathtakingly good recording in all respects' Read review

No 2

A London Symphony

LSO / Richard Hickox

(Chandos)

'Quite simply, an essential purchase' Read review

 

No 3

A Pastoral Symphony & Symphony No 4

LPO / Bernard Haitink

(Warner Classics / EMI)

'Interpretations of great intelligence' Read review

No 4

Symphony No 5

LSO / Richard Hickox

(Chandos)

'An urgently communicative reading' Read review

No 5

Symphony No 6

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Sir Colin Davis

(BR-Klassik)

'An outstanding and very welcome disc' Read review

No 6

Sancta Civitas

The Bach Choir, Bournemouth SO / David Hill

(Naxos)

'Responsive to the beauty and the terror' Read review

No 7

String Quartets

Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson va

(Naxos)

'They clearly love this music deeply' Read review

No 8

The Lark Ascending

Tasmin Little vn BBC PO / Sir Andrew Davis

(Chandos)

'A feast of works for violin and orchestra' Read review

No 9

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

BBC SO / Sir Andrew Davis

(Warner Apex)

'Ravishing string sonorities' Read review

No 10

Five Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus'

LSO / Richard Hickox

(Chandos)

'Heart-warming, lucid and nicely flowing' Read review

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