Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Issued to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Vaughan Williams’s death, this collection is tantalizing: it starts with one of the best-selling discs in the the catalogue, the Serenade to Music, and includes such favourites as the Five Mystical Songs and The Hundreth Psalm. There are also two intriguing pairings: in Dona nobis pacem, RVW warns of the impending doom of WWII, in A song of thanksgiving we hear his moving response to its successful conclusion; in The shepherds of the delectable mountains we hear an early working of Bunyan’s literary masterpiece, later extensively reworked in the landmark 1942 BBC radio production of The Pilgrim’s Progress featuring Sir John Gielgud and reprised here, this time in condensed form. Throughout the collection, RVW’s mastery in setting great texts to music is evident, and has prompted the sort of glowing reviews that make this box-set a must have.