Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony

sea symphony

Just playing this recording and I felt compelled to write something about how it has truly captured the… I was going to say “essence” of the performance, but I think that would be selling it short. In fact it seems to have actually captured the whole thing. Listening to it at realistic volume, it is as though I am there, and it is wonderful. The recording immerses me in a large, quiet space, populated with cultured people performing a spectacular piece of music that, nevertheless, is imbued with restraint and understatement. High culture, not just its essence, has been brought into my decidedly un-cultured surroundings.

If it could be quantified, it might be claimed that a recording could only capture a small percentage of what actually happened in that church in 1989. Listening on a vinyl gramophone or an ‘iDock’, I might agree, and with nothing else to compare it to, that would be that. But this was a digital recording, skilfully made so that the event was captured perfectly, and not a single atom of it has changed in the intervening quarter of a century. With the right playback equipment the performance can be re-lived, forever.

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