Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

£12.00

British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen – described by the late Ruggiero Ricci following a masterclass as the “most exceptionally gifted young violinist I have ever encountered” – adds to her already prodigious reputation with a new disc of timeless works for strings by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar.

Joined again the the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis, the centre piece of the programme is an enchanting performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

Praise for Tamsin’s previous recording with the Orchestra of the Swan (SIGCD342 – Mendelssohn Violin Concerto)“Waley-Cohen makes the utmost of [the D minor Concerto’s] innocent, songful lyricism…The playing from the soloists is virtuosic and the Orchestra of the Swan give light-footed support.” The Observer

SKU: SIGCD399

What people are saying

"… superlative performances of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending … Highly recommended." Northern Echo, November 2014

"… this double homage to strings and English composers is engrossingly good" Sinfini Music, November 2014

"… her sense of line and capacity to make things happen are both beautiful and strikingly individual … The Lark Ascending’s opening solo searches out an extreme degree of musical space in a way that’s at once daring and mesmerising" BBC Music Magazine, January 2015

Tamsin Waley-Cohen violin
Orchestra of the Swan
David Curtis conductor

Release date:29th Sep 2014
Order code:SIGCD399
Barcode: 635212039922

?The Lark Ascending is too short by itself to fill out a concerto slot in most orchestral programmes, which raises the familiar issue of what to include alongside it. The answer is so obvious that not many soloists seem to have noticed, whereas this one has. Vaughan Williams’s own Violin Concerto (originally named Concerto accademico) is about the same compact length, quite different in its Baroque-related style, and as Tamsin Waley-Cohen writes in her booklet note, a work of special quality, whose slow movement is ‘a jewel of beauty and expressivity’. By today’s turbo-charged standards the firepower of Waley-Cohen’s playing is not huge, and the range of light and shade a little contained; but her sense of line and capacity to make things happen are both beautiful and strikingly individual. In the Concerto she finds a convincing interplay between period-style non-vibrato and dreamy sensuality; and The Lark Ascending’s opening solo searches out an extreme degree of musical space in a way that’s at once daring and mesmerising, while the supple flow of the main sections IS beautifully judged. The orchestra’s quality contribution is channelled less successfully into Elgar’s two masterworks: David Curtis’s tight-reined approach seems to short-change the music’s energy and invention. 
 
Performance (Vaughan Williams) –

Recording –  

Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine

Elgar and Vaughan Williams are such a regular, albeit harmonious, pairing, that at first glance Tamsin Waley-Cohen’s latest disc with the Orchestra of the Swan looks as if it should have a big, neon, ‘So what?’ sign swinging above it. Particularly given the inclusions of Vaughan’s Williams’s much-recorded The Lark Ascending, and Elgar’s popular Serenade for Strings. However, this double homage to strings and English composers is engrossingly good.

Topping and tailing the disc are the two works for solo violin and string orchestra by Vaughan Williams. His music’s evocative, pastoral antiquity can make it susceptible to syrupiness, but not here; rustic punchiness and a sprightly light tread are the hallmark of his barely-known Concerto for Violin, while Waley-Cohen’s playing is memorable for the confident, earthy grit balancing its sweetness.  Then, this interpretation of The Lark Ascending has a steely British stoicism that gets under your skin. Waley-Cohen’s high-register lines are satisfyingly sure and rounded, and she’s gorgeously supported by the orchestra with some lovely woodwind and brass solo turns.

The contrast provided by disc’s less obviously folky, central Elgar section means that the atmosphere of freshness doesn’t flicker for a second. This Serenade is ear-prickingly youthful and vibrant, its sparky grace a perfect foil to the strength and vigour of the Introduction and Allegro.

Sinfini Music, Charlotte Gardner

Acclaimed violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is joined by the Orchestra of the Swan in four pieces by Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar. In the notes, she describes hearing larks as a child and how the ‘magisterial beauty of the English countryside’ inspired her interpretations of these recordings.

The Lady

British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is joined by Orchestra of the Swan, under the baton of David Curtis, in superlative performances of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Violin Concerto in D minor. The album is rounded off by Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and Serenade for Strings. Highly recommended. 

Northern Echo, Gavin Engelbrecht

  1. Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra: I. Allegro pesante – Ralph Vaughan Williams – 6.35
  2. Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra: II. Adagio – Tranquillo – Ralph Vaughan Williams – 6.40
  3. Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra: III. Presto – Ralph Vaughan Williams – 4.58
  4. Introduction and Allegro, Op.47 – Edward Elgar – 13.50
  5. Serenade for Strings, Op.20: I. Allegro piacevole – Edward Elgar – 3.16
  6. Serenade for Strings, Op.20: II. Larghetto – Edward Elgar – 4.35
  7. Serenade for Strings, Op.20: III. Allegretto – Edward Elgar – 2.43
  8. The Lark Ascending – Ralph Vaughan Williams – 16.48