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Vaughan Williams may not have cared much for it as an instrument but he could certainly write effectively for the piano – as Mark Bebbington and Rebecca Omordia showed last year (SOMMCD 0164, reviewed in IP Jul/ Aug 2017). Chandos’ new disc encapsulates VW’s ambivalence with its main works featuring the piano either as colouristic effect (Sinfonia Antartica) or in a two-for-one reworking (Concerto in C). The Four Last Songs (1954-58) – sung radiantly by the wonderful Roderick Williams – omits the piano entirely in Anthony Payne’s 2013 orchestration!

I first got to know the concerto (1926-31, rev 1933-35) in HMV’s marvellous recording by Vitya Vronsky and Victor Babin with the LPO and Sir Adrian Boult. Lortie and Mercier are no less convincing in this sumptuously recorded new account, with excellent depth and weight of tone in the outer movements and beautiful touch in the ravishing central Romanzaand final cadenza. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra accompany superbly and give a fine performance of the symphony too.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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