1000 Albums Project


The Collected Symphonies, by Vaughn Williams
Suggested by Bryan Connolly

When I started this project, I planned to be nice.

I’m not talking I Rate Dogs on Twitter nice, mind. I never planned on giving each album fourteen out of ten. But I thought, as most suggestions are made with love, or at least a genuine desire to please, that I’d check my brutality at the door. I imagined most people sat agog, waiting with shiny eyes while I carefully evaluated their favourite album. How could I kick such a cute puppy?

I dunno when my approach darkened, but I’ll tell you this… those sgathering storm clouds are pregnant ant pendulous tonight.

The Collected Symphonies of Vaughn Williams.

The. COLLECTED. Symphonies.



Seven hours. Seven hours of Classical music. I suppose this suggestion knocks Stuart T’s six-hour experimental piece on dementia into a cocked hat. And, as with that turgid slogathon, I just can’t subject myself to it.

It’s not that I don’t want to. I mean, of course I don’t want to, but that’s beside the point. This project takes up so much of my time as things stand, I logistically cannot fit such an elongated play into my routine. So instead, I’m doing what I’d do with any large undertaking: I’m starting at the beginning, and giving up after an hour.

So… Symphony No. 1, by Vaughn Williams. The Sea Symphony.

For a start, I was surprised by the choir. I thought there wasn’t much Classical music that bothered with anything as gauche as human voices. It also started at quite a lick, comparatively, before slowing down considerably around halfway through. Apparently, that’s a thing in Classical circles. Tidy.

I pretty much zoned out through most of it. It was an adequate, unobtrusive noise in the background as Sarah and I played a boardgame.

What else can I say? It was on. I listened. It finished. It did nothing more for me than any other piece of Classical music has done for me thus far. At this point, I don’t know what a Classical piece needs to do to shake me out of my preconceptions. Maybe include an awesome slap-bass solo, or dedicate an aria to Snoop Dogg.

Symphony No. 1, by Vaughn Williams… 4/10. I suspect the other symphonies in his collection would get largely the same.

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