Vaughan Williams' gritty side gets fine care

Music Review

April 14, 2007|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,sun music critic

There's a great story about Ralph Vaughan Williams reacting to the experience of hearing his Symphony No. 4 for the first time: "I don't know whether I like it, but it's what I meant."

Some listeners at the premiere in 1935 were convinced that this extraordinary British composer meant to describe the unease building in Europe, a notion he denied. But there's something so intense and even violent in this music, which received a gripping performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night, that it's hard not to read into it all sorts of deep, ominous meaning.

If you go The BSO performs at 8 p.m. today at Music Center at Strathmore (limited ticket availability) and 3 p.m. tomorrow at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (tickets are $25-$78). Call 410-783-8000, 877-276-1444, or go to baltimoresymphony.org.

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