VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphony No 5; Dona Nobis Pacem
Preserved on rwo specially commissioned long-playing acetates in the possession of Arthur Ridgewell (the executive producer of this invaluable Somm reissue), Vaughan Williams's September 1952 Proms performance with the LPO of his great Fifth Symphony finally sees the light of da y on CD. Famously undemonstrative on the podium, the 79-year-old composer knows exactly what he wants in a reading which combines noble breadth, songful rapture and glowing sincerity (particularly so in the last two movemems, here full of deeply moving echoes ofVW's troubled Pastoral Symphony). Both Boult's classic mono account (set down for Decca with this same orchestra 15 months later) and Barbirolli's towering 1944 world premiere recording with the Halle may convey marginally greater symphonic coherence and aficionados should also seek out the highly charged and individual Boston SOl Koussevitzky interpretation from March 1947 (recently reissued on Guild, 11107)but no true VW connoisseur can afford to be without the composer's own powerful, often inspirational thoughts.
Funher incentive to purchase comes with the first authorised release from the BBC ardtives of the first broadcast performance (from November 1936) of the stirring cantata DOTUl nobis pacem, with the composer securely at the helm ofBBC SO (then a world-class outfit under Boult's stewardship) and Chorus. Soprano Renee Flynn and baritone Roy Henderson had taken part in Albert Coates's Halle world premiere just one month previously, and, as in the symphony, the finished article conveys a blistering conviction which effortlessly surnlOunts any inescapable sonic limitations. A reissue to relish.