© 2015 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
℗ 2015 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 24 September 2008 (Symphony No. 8) and 1 May 2013 (Symphony No. 4).
Producers: Tim Oldham (Symphony No. 4); Nicholas Parker (Symphony No. 8)
Engineer: Mike Hatch, Floating Earth
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Total playing time 59:29
DDD Stereo
Released February 2015

CD: Vaughan Williams – Symphonies Nos. 4 & 8

LPO conducted by Wigglesworth & Jurowski

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958):

Symphony No. 4 (Ryan Wigglesworth conductor)
Symphony No. 8 (Vladimir Jurowski conductor)

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Ralph Vaughan Williams is often regarded as a ‘pastoral’ composer – modal, melodic and inspired by folksong – so at the premiere of the Fourth Symphony in 1935, its sense of elemental rage and desolation took many by surprise. Yet fellow British composer William Walton admired the work greatly, speaking of it as ‘the greatest symphony since Beethoven’. Completed 20 years later, the Eighth Symphony is the shortest of the composer’s symphonies, and much more light-hearted and joyous in mood. At the same time, it too is full of remarkable invention, especially the composer’s experiments in orchestral colour and the work’s exotic combinations of percussion instruments.

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'I well recall the biting impact of the account of [Symphony No. 4] whose grinding opening dissonances were the most extreme I'd heard when first encountering them as a schoolboy. They still shock me as much ... The Eighth's opening ... is a gentle, haunting splash of vibraphone, but equally unforgettable.'
The Sunday Times, 1 February 2015

'The challenge [of the Symphony No. 4] is to maintain the momentum and interest in the symphony beyond [its opening] Munchian scream. It works here ... Vladimir Jurowski conducts an orchestra on top form.'
The Independent on Sunday, 1 February 2015 (4 stars)

‘The LPO’s Russian principal conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, is in authoritative command ... Both pieces are well played and recorded, live performances in every sense of them.’
Financial Times, 7 February 2015 (4 stars)

'Jurowski's account of the eighth is ... successful; an elusive work, it rarely seems as symphonic as here.'
Classical Music Magazine, March 2015 (4 stars)

‘The precision of the London Philharmonic is the starting point for a reading of tremendous power, which never allows the tension to slacken for a moment’
The Guardian, 20 March 2015 (3 stars)

‘Explicitly recorded, and superbly played, with power, passion and identification, driven with fury, this LPO account stands alongside the very best existing recordings.’ (Symphony No. 4)

‘If Previn remains my yardstick, Vladimir Jurowski has the measure of the music’s depth, suggestion and vivid character. The LPO (now more spaciously recorded) turns in a poetic and brilliant account.’ (Symphony No. 8)
Sinfini Music, 10 March 2015 (4 stars)

‘[The Orchestra responds] superbly [to Vladimir Jurowski], alighting on the music’s idiom – the 80-year-old Vaughan Williams’s wryly imaginative take on his own earlier style – with unerring touch and precision.’
BBC Music Magazine, May 2015

‘There is an authentic ache in the LPO’s string-playing throughout.’ (Symphony No. 4)
‘The shimmer of the beautifully scored opening pages lends a contemporary resonance and the archaic religiosity of tone is something which clearly chimes with Jurowski.’ (Symphony No. 8)
Gramophone, May 2015

‘Jurowski’s spacious account rightly implies greater depths and the percussive finale has a jubilance that crowns this live performance as one of the best available.’
(Symphony No. 8)
Hi-Fi News, March 2015

‘Vladimir Jurowski directs a lovely, characterful version of the exotic Eighth Symphony ... The familiar, pastoral, archetypal RVW string writing, so beloved of the composer’s devotees, characterises the slow movement, where the warmth and beauty of the LPO’s string section is captivating.’
Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland, 5 April 2015

‘Wigglesworth secures very fine playing from the London Philharmonic, that stony-faced aggression making itself crushing from the off. This release is heartily recommended, not least to anyone new to this great repertoire, especially for Wigglesworth's arresting conducting of the Fourth.’
Peter Joelson, Classicalsource.com, April 2015

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