Competition: Win Richard Hickox's award-winning 'A London Symphony' on Chandos

Win the original version of Vaughan Williams's 'A London Symphony' by the LSO under Richard Hickox

23 October 2008

London SymphonyAs they gear up to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary in 2009, we've teamed up with Chandos for our latest competition. The British label, renowned for its innovative choice of repertoire and top-quality engineering, will be releasing 'Milestones' in January, a box set which will contain thirty defining recordings from the company's back catalogue. One of these is Richard Hickox's World Premiere recording of the original version of Vaughan Williams's 'A London Symphony'.

Released in April 2001, it went on to scoop the Gramphone Record of the Year award and was recognised immediately as an invaluable addition to the catalogue. In Vaughan Williams's anniversary year, its importance in casting light on the great British composer's compositional process is greater than ever. The recording's particular siginificance lies in the fact that it was made possible with the kind permission of Ursula Vaughan Williams on the express condition that it use Richard Hickox and the London Symphony Orchestra, and that it never be performed in concert.

The original 1913 version of the London Symphony was withdrawn by the composer soon after its premiere, since which time it has not been heard. The composer subsequently revised the score twice, in 1920 and in 1933, the latter of which has become familiar to us.

The first movement of the 1913 version remains as we know it, but the remaining three are substantially different. The slow movement has a large insert which changes the entire shape and emphasis of the movement, and both the third and fourth movements offer major additions which in effect make this quite a different symphony from the one we are used to. There are some twenty minutes of music which have not been heard since its premiere.

Richard Hickox himself has said of the recordings: 'It would be reasonable to suspect that when Vaughan Williams revised the London Symphony he would have cut existing material simply to make a tighter structure.  On the contrary, however, he excised extended passages of fresh material which are of the highest quality simply because, as many composers do, he feared the symphony might be too long.  It is well known that the cuts were deeply regretted by many leading musicians of the time and I hope when people have had the chance to hear the symphony in its original form they will agree that the work takes on a darker mood and becomes an extended and poignant journey.'

For your chance to win a copy of this CD, all you need to do is answer the following question:

Chandos LogoWhich dramatic work by Vaughan Williams, composed around the same time as the original version of 'A London Symphony' and likewise revised after the First World War, is often described as the English equivalent of the Bartered Bride?

a) Riders to the Sea

b) The Bridal Day

c) Hugh the Drover


Email your answer, name and address to by 16 November 2008. We will not pass your details to any third party, but please indicate if you do not wish to receive further correspondence.



Rules, terms and conditions: 1. This competition is organised by and Chandos Records. 2. reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted within the competition notice. 3. In the event of a dispute regarding the terms and conditions, conduct, results and all other matters relating to this competition, the decision of the Editor or Deputy Editor shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. 4. The competition is open to residents of the UK only. 5. Contributors and employees, their associates and members of their families and households are not eligible to enter. 6. Only one entry per person is permitted for this competition. 7. Entries received after the closing date of 16 November 2008 will be automatically disqualified. No purchase required. 8. The winners will be chosen at random after the closing date, from all correct entries received by 11.59pm on 16 November 2008. 9. Prizes are non-transferable. No cash alternatives will be offered. The winner will be notified by email and the prize delivered by post.