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Halle|Vaughan Williams: Job & Songs of Travel

Vaughan Williams: Job & Songs of Travel

Hallé, Sir Mark Elder & Neal Davies

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We find here two of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ little-known and little-played masterpieces. Up first is Songs of Travel, a cycle of nine melodies based on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson composed in 1904. We are then treated to Job, a work composed between 1927 and 1930. Subtitled “A Masque for Dancing”, it is a sort of ballet organized into nine scenes. The English composer honed his skills on Job, often using a rather economical style. The modern influences are sometimes more noticeable than on others and Job almost foreshadows Bartok’s influence (especially pieces such as Introduction and Job’s Dream) on his Finale from Symphony No.6. At the end of the day, Job is a rather strange score. It’s reminiscent of Stravinsky’s compositional study from the same period with his “white” ballet Apollon musaget, a piece for strings only (1928). And yet it retains all of Vaughan Williams’ contemplative tone. The sound is at times quite resigned, despite the orchestral fullness and belching brass - an idea that Bernard Herrmann uses. In the Dance of the Three Messengers, RVW even sketches a theme that sounds like the stringed theme of his majestic Symphony No. 5. The ballet Job seems like a reservoir of Vaughan Williams’ entire post-1930 period. Sir Mark Elder knows this, detailing everything from the orchestra to the thematic structure of the work.


The baritone Neal Davies tackles the Songs of Travel in a rare version completed by Roy Douglas, the composer’s assistant, since Vaughan Williams had only orchestrated the first, third, fifth and eighth “songs”. A wonderful discovery! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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Vaughan Williams: Job & Songs of Travel

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1
Songs of Travel: I. The Vagabond (Orch. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
00:03:02

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

2
Songs of Travel: II. Let Beauty Awake (Orch. Roy Douglas)
00:01:59

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

3
Songs of Travel: III. The Roadside Fire (Orch. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
00:02:29

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

4
Songs of Travel: IV. Youth and Love (Orch. Roy Douglas)
00:03:27

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

5
Songs of Travel: V. In Dreams (Orch. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
00:02:47

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

6
Songs of Travel: VI. The Infinite Shining Heavens (Orch. Roy Douglas)
00:02:20

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

7
Songs of Travel: VII. Whither Must I Wander? (Orch. Roy Douglas)
00:03:58

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

8
Songs of Travel: VIII. Bright Is the Ring of Words (Orch. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
00:02:09

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

9
Songs of Travel: IX. I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope (Orch. Roy Douglas)
00:02:11

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Robert Louis Stevenson, Composer - Neal Davies, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Boosey & Hawkes, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

10
Job: Scene I. Introduction
00:06:37

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

11
Job: Scene I.Saraband of the Sons of God
00:03:51

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

12
Job: Scene II. Satan’s Dance of Triumph
00:03:32

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

13
Job: Scene III. Minuet of the Sons of Job and Their Wives
00:04:14

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

14
Job: Scene IV. Job’s Dream
00:04:20

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

15
Job: Scene V. Dance of the Three Messengers
00:05:15

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

16
Job: Scene VI. Dance of Job’s Comforters
00:04:56

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor - Darius Battiwalla, MainArtist

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

17
Job: Scene VII. Elihu’s Dance of Youth and Beauty
00:03:40

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - David Adams, MainArtist - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

18
Job: Scene VII. Pavane of the Sons of the Morning
00:01:59

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

19
Job: Scene VIII. Galliard of the Sons of the Morning
00:02:08

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

20
Job: Scene VIII. Altar Dance and Heavenly Pavane
00:02:22

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

21
Job: Scene IX. Epilogue (Largo sostenuto)
00:02:50

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Hallé, Orchestra, MainArtist - Oxford University Press, MusicPublisher - Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

(C) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society (P) 2020 Hallé Concerts Society

Album Description

We find here two of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ little-known and little-played masterpieces. Up first is Songs of Travel, a cycle of nine melodies based on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson composed in 1904. We are then treated to Job, a work composed between 1927 and 1930. Subtitled “A Masque for Dancing”, it is a sort of ballet organized into nine scenes. The English composer honed his skills on Job, often using a rather economical style. The modern influences are sometimes more noticeable than on others and Job almost foreshadows Bartok’s influence (especially pieces such as Introduction and Job’s Dream) on his Finale from Symphony No.6. At the end of the day, Job is a rather strange score. It’s reminiscent of Stravinsky’s compositional study from the same period with his “white” ballet Apollon musaget, a piece for strings only (1928). And yet it retains all of Vaughan Williams’ contemplative tone. The sound is at times quite resigned, despite the orchestral fullness and belching brass - an idea that Bernard Herrmann uses. In the Dance of the Three Messengers, RVW even sketches a theme that sounds like the stringed theme of his majestic Symphony No. 5. The ballet Job seems like a reservoir of Vaughan Williams’ entire post-1930 period. Sir Mark Elder knows this, detailing everything from the orchestra to the thematic structure of the work.


The baritone Neal Davies tackles the Songs of Travel in a rare version completed by Roy Douglas, the composer’s assistant, since Vaughan Williams had only orchestrated the first, third, fifth and eighth “songs”. A wonderful discovery! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz

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