Naturally, you can dispute the choice of Dover for this compilation of orchestral scores of compositions of Vaughan Williams, and feel frustrated that, for instance, the Fantasia on "Greensleeves" (in Ralph Greaves famous arrangement - who was he, by the way, and what did he do, other than that?) isn't included, or the beautiful "Five Variants of Dives & Lazarus". But it is a matter of seeing the glass half empty or half full, and what the collection offers is highly valuable in its own right. It would be worth the (very favorable) price now demanded for it on the marketplace for the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis alone - indeed I have paid more than that for the study score of "Five Variants" -, one of the most beautiful compositions written, EVER, and one that you do NOT want to be played at your funeral, because you can be sure the attendance will weep not from sorrow at your passing, but simply because the music is so profoundly beautiful and moving. And the bonuses are welcome, starting with the score of the Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1 from 1906 (part of a tryptich which originated as a project of a Norfolk Symphony - the composer withdrew No. 2 and 3, although the (incompleted) score of 2 was retrieved and recorded by Richard Hickox, Vaughan Williams Pastoral Symphony; Norfolk Rhapsody No. 2). It is a fine piece, wonderfully atmospheric, straddling the stylistic worlds of late-romanticism and impressionism in a manner evocative of Bax and Delius. The Overture to the incidental music composed by VW in 1909 for a production of Aristophanes play "The Wasps" is a boisterous orchestral spectacular. On the other hand I haven't made much use yet of the last score in the collection, the Fantasia on Christmas Carols for Baritone solo, Chorus and Orchestra from 1912, but I'm glad to have it, for whenevver I tackle the piece.
Suggestions for completing the score with some of the best recordings:
In the Tallis Fantasia, Barbirolli in 1962, Elgar / Vaughan Williams: String Orchestra Works and the unexpected Silvestri in 1967, the latter with a marvelous performance of the Wasps-Overture to boot, Symphony 4 - two performances out of the same mould, ample, spacious, noble, grand, brooding, a Tallis for the Gloucester Cathedral (for which it was composed). But the extreme in that style is Bernstein, Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4 / Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis / Fantasia on Greensleeves / Serenade to Music (Bernstein Royal Edition, No. 96). On the opposite pole, a version of unique urgency and passion, Mitropoulos in 1958, Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 4 in F minor / Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis / Symphony No. 6 in E minor. More middle-of-the-road (but on the swift and passionate side), the fine Sargent in 1959, with an excellent Wasps-Overture also, Vaughan Williams:Overture 'The Wasps'/Fantasia on 'Greensleeves'/Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis/Serenade to Music/ Toward the Unknown Region.
For the Norfolk Rhapsody, the classic version is Boult's, Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music; The Lark Ascending; Fantasia on Greensleeves; English Folk Song Suite; In the Fen Country; Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, but I even prefer Del Mar's from 1980, more dynamic and passionate (and with a good Tallis-Fantasia, in the swift Sargent mannner), Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis / Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus.