For Your Listening Pleasure—Ralph Vaughan Williams Hodie

Vaugham Williams Hodie

At present, there are only two recordings available of Vaughan Williams' Hodie (This Day).

David Willcock

David Willcock, EMI 0724356742727

David Willcock's famous 1966 version with the Bach Choir, the Guildford Cathedral Choir, and the London Symphony Orchestra (EMI 0724356742727, also downloadable from amazon.com) is still the version to have. The team of soloists (Janet Baker, mezzo; Richard Lewis, tenor; and John Shirley-Quirk, bass) is stunning. Though the part Baker sings was written for a soprano, she sings with a winning radiance and innocence that is incomparable. The orchestra and chorus are both stunning and the recording is vintage, warm EMI from the 60's—a strong argument for the attractiveness of fine analog recordings.

Richard Hickox

Richard Hickox, EMI 5099996893425

Richard Hickox's dramatic account (EMI 5099996893425, also downloadable from amazon.com) features the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, the Choristers of St. Paul Cathedral, and soloists Elizabeth Gale, Robert Tear, and Stephen Roberts. Hickox's tempi are lively, and the chorus sings with tremendous vigor and a wonderful range of color and emotion. Ensemble is mostly excellent, though there are occasional lapses at phrase endings—particularly in softer passages.

Stephen Sano
September 2010