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Product Details

  • An MVD Exclusive
  • SKU: ALBCD023-024
  • Format: CD
  • UPC: 5060158190232
  • Street Date: 10/30/15
  • PreBook Date: 09/25/15
  • Label: Albion Records »
  • Genre: Classical
  • Run Time: 80 mins
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Year of Production: 1943
  • Box Lot: 25
  • Territory: US,CA


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John Gielgud & BBC Symphony Orchestra And Chorus - The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress - a Radio-play broadcast in 1943 with music by Vaughan Williams, conducted by Boult. John Gielgud plays Christian.

John Gielgud & BBC Symphony Orchestra And Chorus - The Pilgrim
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Albion records presents (in 2015) the first commercial recording of the 1943 BBC Radio Play, The Pilgrim's Progress, featuring John Gielgud in his prime and music by Vaughan Williams conducted by Adrian Boult. Vaughan Williams had set his first music to The Pilgrim's Progress in 1906 for a dramatization at Reigate Priory. He also set a 'Pastoral Episode' from Bunyan's allegory in 1922 as his first opera The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains. The Incidental Music contained on this recording followed in 1942/43 and, finally, Vaughan Williams completed his 'Morality' The Pilgrim's Progress in 1951, revising it in 1952. This life-long association with John Bunyan's allegory has produced works of profound depth, scale, poetry and nobility which cumulatively represent the pinnacle of Vaughan Williams' achievement. The arranger of The Pilgrim's Progress for radio was Edward Sackville-West (190165), a gifted 'Renaissance Man', equally comfortable as a literary reviewer or as a musicologist. He joined the BBC in 1941. For health reasons he was unable to serve in the Armed Forces in the war and he saw the BBC role as allowing him to make a contribution to the war effort. Sackville-West sent Vaughan Williams his stage-play in 1942 and Vaughan Williams forwarded the finished score to him in the first week of April 1943. The score for the Incidental Music was: 'A complicated affair, for the music cues are many and intricate, involving a full orchestra, chorus and soloists'. As with all of Vaughan Williams' work on The Pilgrim's Progress, the music superbly fits Bunyan's vision, especially in its rapture, radiance and nobility, epitomized by those unforgettable final Alleluias. With a well-crafted script and an unforgettable central performance by John Gielgud, the cumulative effect of this stage-play is profoundly moving.


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