Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Beautiful, chaotic ride with Vaughan Williams 4th


Ralph Vaughan Williams
Symphony Number 4 in F Minor

October 26, 1973 (Broadcast Date)


Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, principal guest conductor

Careening from one emotional pole to another, This performance is not 'background music'; Rachmaninoff would have you sit up straight for it's duration.
Maestro Vaughan Williams himself famously said of it " I don't know whether I like it, but it's what I meant।"

from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's "Broadcast Archives 12 CD Box Set",
available from the Orchestra's website ( at


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I was at the 1973 performance and it made a huge impression.

Guillermo said...

You're most welcome! -and, if you would, what do you remember? Impressions? take me for a miniature time trip...!

eric said...

To be more precise, I attended the open rehearsal (Oct 25) and the Saturday night performance (Oct 27), while this broadcast was the Friday matinee (Oct 26).

I was a freshman at New England Conservatory, and that season I sat on the rush line for hours every Saturday morning. For $1 (really!) I would get a seat in the right rear corner of the first balcony.

I attended most of the open rehearsals. Here, Davis would say a few words about each movement before they'd play it through. He was very passionate about the piece, and the performance reflected it. Of course he told us the story you mention.

I'd never heard the work before, and the crashing opening was especially unforgettable.

Guillermo said...

If you wish, here you can find FLACs of this performance:

bruise said...

I love this symphony of VW, although it is wrenching. I have not previously heard Colin Davis' performance. Thank you for letting me hear it.

Guillermo said...

Please NOTE: I have removed the links to the works mentioned in posts like this one, because they are available for purchase individually, from the orchestras themselves in some cases. As such, they are now priced within reach of most online folks and no longer constitute valid entries in this blog.

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