Vaughan Williams revised the work twice: first in January for the first London performance , and then again in April , making it more concise each time,  taking a total of about two minutes off the original playing time. The premiere of the Fantasia received a generally warm welcome, with a few exceptions: Herbert Brewer , the Gloucester cathedral organist, described it as "a queer, mad work by an odd fellow from Chelsea".
The reviewer in The Daily Telegraph praised Vaughan Williams's mastery of string effect and added that although the work might not appeal to some because of its "seeming austerity", it was "extremely beautiful to such as have ears for the best music of all ages".
Fuller Maitland also commented on ancient and Debussian echoes, and observed:. Listeners of the British classical music radio station Classic FM have regularly voted the piece into the top five of the station's "Hall of Fame" , an annual poll of the most popular classical music works. Although the BBC first broadcast the Fantasia in , and again over the following decade, conducted by the composer and Arturo Toscanini ,  it was not until that the work was recorded for the gramophone.
The fledgling Decca company recorded it with Boyd Neel conducting his orchestra under the supervision of the composer in January ,  a set described by The Gramophone as one of the outstanding records of the year. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis.
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The spacious and sonorous use of spread chords, the majestic cadences and extreme range of dynamics, along with the antiphony between the two string bodies playing alternately, the one answering the other, often like an echo , the contrast with the string quartet, and the passages for solo violin and solo viola combine to create a luminous effect.
Throughout its course one is never quite sure whether one is listening to something very old or very new. The work in its definitive form has the solidity and grandeur of a cathedral, to which its strains seem to belong by a natural affinity. It has passed into the repertory of all the great orchestras of the world. Its intense Englishness has been no bar to international understanding, whatever may have been said along those lines about other of Vaughan Williams's compositions.
The Gloucester performance was the premiere, according to the published score,  and to studies of Vaughan Williams by Ursula Vaughan Williams , Ryan Ross, Alain Frogley and Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians , and contemporary newspapers recorded a Queen's Hall performance in February as the work's first performance in London. Ralph Vaughan Williams. List of compositions. Job: A Masque for Dancing.
A Sea Symphony Symphony No. The Wasps The First Nowell. Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Authority control MBW work: b4ebdd9bca1bbfbf This is accompanied by a diminuendo throughout the orchestra, arriving at a pianissimo just when the upper strings the first violins have joined with the rest of the ensemble for a more traditional voicing of the harmonies.
As you might expect, Vaughan Williams is not done with this echo pattern. In the next example he takes a somewhat traditional approach to its use.
Nevertheless, it works. Look at the passage in Example The first violins have been playing the melody since the last example with the harmonies in all the other strings save for the busy sixteenth note alternating patterns in the second violins. Note what the violas and cellos are doing in measures 45 and The E-flat to B-flat line is in the first violins in measure 45 and the C to G line is there in measure The pattern is reversed in the violas and cellos.
The violas are harmonizing in thirds with the lower first violins while the cellos are playing at the octave. Yet, cello line, reasonably high on the A string is rich and resonant. It barely feels like the echo that it is of the first violins in the previous bar. Lastly, as the video points out, the notes in measures 47 and 48 are the exact same, but the sound the ensemble makes is dramatically different.
Something as simple as these terse dynamics can make a large difference in sound and timbre. While discussing the use of the echo by Vaughan Williams, this is reminiscent of one from the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar.
This variation Example Variation XII is a slow, pensive piece. Like the other variation it uses and builds on the original motifs. In measure 9 of this variation the violas and cellos have an upward D major arpeggio sandwiched between the lower and upper neighbors of the octaves.
What is as haunting in its way as the Vaughan Williams is in its, is the way that Elgar has the first violins sneak in after the downbeat of measure 10 and echo the arpeggio from the previous bar. To crescendo appropriately to this mini-climax, Elgar adds some wind harmonies and a soft timpani roll.
In fact, the timpani and the violins both have a crescendo and decrescendo in measure 10 moving from piano and returning to a pianissimo as the lower strings half notes resolve and the primary melody continues. In its own way this reflection in the violins is just as celestial as the Vaughan Williams. A couple more items to note are in the writing for the contrabasses. First, there are no doubles, no other instruments as historically had almost always been the case are doubling the basses line.
In a busier portion of the work this might be risky, bordering on a muddy sound. With a flick of the wrist he immediately establishes the perfect atmosphere — hushed but intensely alive at every turn.
He builds unerringly to an impassioned climax and sets a satisfying seal on a glowing performance. This is the version to live with. Tallis Fantasia. Follow us.
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