Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 29751 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #220 on: July 05, 2018, 09:36:26 PM »
I'm listening to the Previn recording of the Second symphony. It might not be on the same,white hot level of inspiration of the First (or at least parts of it) but it's still a magnificent symphony,imho,taken on it's own terms. There is some very exciting orchestration,and the slow movement is very impressive.
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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #221 on: July 06, 2018, 03:27:48 AM »
Comparisons between No's 1 & 2 aside;I love the orchestration of the Second symphony. I was looking at this on the Wikipedia entry for this symphony. The large orchestra includes military drum, snare drum, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, bass drum, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, tambourine, bell, piano, celesta, 2 harps and strings,among all the more usual instruments. I'm no expert on orchestration,but the orchestration has a fantastic,wide-screen sound world to my ears,all of it's own. There is really something quite seductive about it! I think the final movement is probably,the weak point of the symphony,for me;but maybe I was distracted,I had allot of boring things to do yesterday! Funnily enough,looking for a follow up,because Walton didn't compose many symphonies,and I'd just listened through a slew of VW's symphonies;my follow up to Walton's Second was Bax's First!!
Incidentally,I suppose it's just me;but the 'exotic' 'sound world' of parts of Walton's Second symphony made me think of Korngold's Symphony,at times. No I'm not saying Walton sounds like Korngold!!........but that lush,wide-screen quality,some of the more 'exotic' instrumentation (not Villa-Lobos exotic,I should point out) and some of the exciting outbursts from the orchestra,particularly in the First movement. If I'd thought of that,I might have put on the Korngold next,instead of the Bax. (Not that I mind. After listening through Bax No's 1-4,I'm now listening to the Fifth. Bryden Thomson conducting the lot!).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #222 on: July 06, 2018, 03:58:34 AM »
Comparisons between No's 1 & 2 aside;I love the orchestration of the Second symphony. I was looking at this on the Wikipedia entry for this symphony. The large orchestra includes military drum, snare drum, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, bass drum, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, tambourine, bell, piano, celesta, 2 harps and strings,among all the more usual instruments. I'm no expert on orchestration,but the orchestration has a fantastic,wide-screen sound world to my ears,all of it's own. There is really something quite seductive about it! I think the final movement is probably,the weak point of the symphony,for me;but maybe I was distracted,I had allot of boring things to do yesterday! Funnily enough,looking for a follow up,because Walton didn't compose many symphonies,and I'd just listened through a slew of VW's symphonies;my follow up to Walton's Second was Bax's First!!
Incidentally,I suppose it's just me;but the 'exotic' 'sound world' of parts of Walton's Second symphony made me think of Korngold's Symphony,at times. No I'm not saying Walton sounds like Korngold!!........but that lush,wide-screen quality,some of the more 'exotic' instrumentation (not Villa-Lobos exotic,I should point out) and some of the exciting outbursts from the orchestra,particularly in the First movement. If I'd thought of that,I might have put on the Korngold next,instead of the Bax. (Not that I mind. After listening through Bax No's 1-4,I'm now listening to the Fifth. Bryden Thomson conducting the lot!).
Korngold, Bax, Walton. Three of my favourite symphonists, although Korngold only wrote one and Walton two. I'm sure I heard Walton conduct at the proms in my youth and announce, to rapturous cheers, that he was working on a third symphony. However, I could have hallucinated this experience of wishful thinking.
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #223 on: July 12, 2018, 06:43:40 PM »
Comparisons between No's 1 & 2 aside;I love the orchestration of the Second symphony. I was looking at this on the Wikipedia entry for this symphony. The large orchestra includes military drum, snare drum, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, bass drum, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, tambourine, bell, piano, celesta, 2 harps and strings,among all the more usual instruments. I'm no expert on orchestration,but the orchestration has a fantastic,wide-screen sound world to my ears,all of it's own. There is really something quite seductive about it! I think the final movement is probably,the weak point of the symphony,for me;but maybe I was distracted,I had allot of boring things to do yesterday! Funnily enough,looking for a follow up,because Walton didn't compose many symphonies,and I'd just listened through a slew of VW's symphonies;my follow up to Walton's Second was Bax's First!!
Incidentally,I suppose it's just me;but the 'exotic' 'sound world' of parts of Walton's Second symphony made me think of Korngold's Symphony,at times. No I'm not saying Walton sounds like Korngold!!........but that lush,wide-screen quality,some of the more 'exotic' instrumentation (not Villa-Lobos exotic,I should point out) and some of the exciting outbursts from the orchestra,particularly in the First movement. If I'd thought of that,I might have put on the Korngold next,instead of the Bax. (Not that I mind. After listening through Bax No's 1-4,I'm now listening to the Fifth. Bryden Thomson conducting the lot!).

Very much agree with your comments about the 2nd Symphony. It's a much different work than the 1st Symphony - in place of the 1st's relentless, Sibelian power, Walton treats us to a dazzlingly kaleidoscopic, unique score which deserves to be appreciated on its own terms. It's a pity that neither Walton nor Korngold composed more symphonies!
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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #224 on: July 12, 2018, 07:41:40 PM »
Seeing your positive commentaries of you all, I'm encouraged to hear the 2nd symphony when time allows. What is the best recording as far as it is concerned? I only have the Ashkenazy and the Previn.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #225 on: July 12, 2018, 08:17:59 PM »
Seeing your positive commentaries of you all, I'm encouraged to hear the 2nd symphony when time allows. What is the best recording as far as it is concerned? I only have the Ashkenazy and the Previn.

Haven't listened to Previn in a while, but I think Ashkenazy is good.  Szell is a classic, and I'm quite happy with Paul Daniel on Naxos.  I was also very impressed with William Boughton with the New Haven Symphony.


Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #226 on: July 12, 2018, 09:14:39 PM »
Seeing your positive commentaries of you all, I'm encouraged to hear the 2nd symphony when time allows. What is the best recording as far as it is concerned? I only have the Ashkenazy and the Previn.

I don't know a bad recording of it Cesar. I agree that Szell has great urgency and Previn or Mackerras would be my other recommendations. You can get the two symphonies together on the Mackerras recording - excellent versions of both.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 09:19:49 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #227 on: July 12, 2018, 10:09:30 PM »
Sony seems to be breaking out individual downloads from their big boxes.  Here's the Symphony No. 2 from their big Szell box:

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/8457793--stravinsky-firebird-suite-walton-symphony-no-2

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #228 on: July 13, 2018, 01:23:52 AM »
I don't know a bad recording of it Cesar. I agree that Szell has great urgency and Previn or Mackerras would be my other recommendations. You can get the two symphonies together on the Mackerras recording - excellent versions of both.
I have heard a rumour that you are very fond of Kirill Karabit's recording of the Second on the Onyx label;and rate it very highly?!!! Hope I've got the right Jeffrey? (He certainly has some good,and interesting,taste,anyway!)
Incidentally,I bought a s/h copy of the 2 cd emi set of Walton conducting the First symphony,Belshazzar's Feast,the Violin and Viola (I think?) concertos and Partita. I am looking forward to this. I actually don't know the Partita. Although,I may have heard it,at some time or another,and not paid much attention!! ::) ;D I also snapped up a copy of the emi British composers 5cd box set of Bliss,from a certain well known purveyor of such goods. It's going for very high prices on Amazon and ebay,now;so I just had to grab it. Oh,and the Reference recording of Arnold conducting his Overtures,a Belart cd of Boult's mono recordings of VW's 4 & 6,and,last but not least (!) the old Conifer cd of Ireland's Piano concerto,Bridge's Phantasm & Walton's Sinfonia concertante! A veritable orgy of buying!! ::) ;D Also,another ridiculous Fifties B movie on the way!! ::) (I'm a sucker for Fifties sci-fi and,some of the less repetitive,creature features & some 60's stuff,too! The Fifties is best,though,imho.as they say! S*d Star Trek!! With due respect!! ::) ;D).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #229 on: July 13, 2018, 02:12:59 AM »
Offering a thought or two on Walton 2.  I think Szell, Mackerras & Previn remain the best versions although the Litton/BSO is very good.  Not crazy about Karabits in either symphony.  Good just not great well though the Bournemouth Orchestra play.  But then I think the Sargent/Symphony 1 that Jeffrey rates so highly flabby and lacking in anything like the tension the work needs.  Wasn't that fussed by Brabbins on Hyperion either.  I have this niggling feeling that Brabbins is never less than competent but rarely inspired.  Given Ashkenazy renowned technical limitations as a conductor the RPO do remarkably well for him.  Thomson is good on Chandos as is Gardner but the latter is again someone I find less impressive than many.  Arwel-Hughes on BIS is probably the only clunker - a rare BIS failure both musically and as a recording

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #230 on: July 13, 2018, 02:43:13 AM »
I have heard a rumour that you are very fond of Kirill Karabit's recording of the Second on the Onyx label;and rate it very highly?!!! Hope I've got the right Jeffrey? (He certainly has some good,and interesting,taste,anyway!)
Incidentally,I bought a s/h copy of the 2 cd emi set of Walton conducting the First symphony,Belshazzar's Feast,the Violin and Viola (I think?) concertos and Partita. I am looking forward to this. I actually don't know the Partita. Although,I may have heard it,at some time or another,and not paid much attention!! ::) ;D I also snapped up a copy of the emi British composers 5cd box set of Bliss,from a certain well known purveyor of such goods. It's going for very high prices on Amazon and ebay,now;so I just had to grab it. Oh,and the Reference recording of Arnold conducting his Overtures,a Belart cd of Boult's mono recordings of VW's 4 & 6,and,last but not least (!) the old Conifer cd of Ireland's Piano concerto,Bridge's Phantasm & Walton's Sinfonia concertante! A veritable orgy of buying!! ::) ;D Also,another ridiculous Fifties B movie on the way!! ::) (I'm a sucker for Fifties sci-fi and,some of the less repetitive,creature features & some 60's stuff,too! The Fifties is best,though,imho.as they say! S*d Star Trek!! With due respect!! ::) ;D).
You are quite right Iestyn - I did enjoy it but maybe not now one of my very favourites. I should listen again. The other recording of Symphony 1 I should have mentioned is the one by Bryden Thomson on Chandos which, in my view, does everything right - a great performance and I also have a high opinion of Ashkenazy in both symphonies (great recording too) and Edward Gardner in No 1 (I haven't heard No.2 yet). Those CDs you have purchased are all fab - the Bliss box in particular which restores the best performance of his eloquent Oboe Quintet (Melos Ensemble). Boult's Decca/Belart/Eloquence VW Symphony 6 is in a class of its own - complete with composer's speech. I love that Walton/Bridge/Ireland CD as well. The Bliss box bizarrely has two versions of Music for Strings and none of Meditations on a Theme by John Blow or Morning Heroes. Look out for the beautiful 'Soon it is Dawn' from the 'Song of Welcome' (Joan Sutherland's first recording). Delighted to see that you have finally weaned yourself away from Gilbert and Sullivan!  8)

PS that Walton conducts Walton 2 CD EMI set is excellent. He was a fine conductor of his own works. Szell's 'Partita' has more urgency but the Walton is still very fine and I enjoy those Menuhin recordings of the Viola and Violin concertos (concerti?)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:50:00 AM by vandermolen »
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #231 on: July 13, 2018, 02:53:43 AM »
Offering a thought or two on Walton 2.  I think Szell, Mackerras & Previn remain the best versions although the Litton/BSO is very good.  Not crazy about Karabits in either symphony.  Good just not great well though the Bournemouth Orchestra play.  But then I think the Sargent/Symphony 1 that Jeffrey rates so highly flabby and lacking in anything like the tension the work needs.  Wasn't that fussed by Brabbins on Hyperion either.  I have this niggling feeling that Brabbins is never less than competent but rarely inspired.  Given Ashkenazy renowned technical limitations as a conductor the RPO do remarkably well for him.  Thomson is good on Chandos as is Gardner but the latter is again someone I find less impressive than many.  Arwel-Hughes on BIS is probably the only clunker - a rare BIS failure both musically and as a recording
Pity about the Arwel-Hughes as it has the best cover image. Actually I don't dislike those Lille performances as much as others:

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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #232 on: July 13, 2018, 03:31:30 AM »
You are quite right Iestyn - I did enjoy it but maybe not now one of my very favourites. I should listen again. The other recording of Symphony 1 I should have mentioned is the one by Bryden Thomson on Chandos which, in my view, does everything right - a great performance and I also have a high opinion of Ashkenazy in both symphonies (great recording too) and Edward Gardner in No 1 (I haven't heard No.2 yet). Those CDs you have purchased are all fab - the Bliss box in particular which restores the best performance of his eloquent Oboe Quintet (Melos Ensemble). Boult's Decca/Belart/Eloquence VW Symphony 6 is in a class of its own - complete with composer's speech. I love that Walton/Bridge/Ireland CD as well. The Bliss box bizarrely has two versions of Music for Strings and none of Meditations on a Theme by John Blow or Morning Heroes. Look out for the beautiful 'Soon it is Dawn' from the 'Song of Welcome' (Joan Sutherland's first recording). Delighted to see that you have finally weaned yourself away from Gilbert and Sullivan!  8)

PS that Walton conducts Walton 2 CD EMI set is excellent. He was a fine conductor of his own works. Szell's 'Partita' has more urgency but the Walton is still very fine and I enjoy those Menuhin recordings of the Viola and Violin concertos (concerti?)
No,I'm afraid G & S are alive and well here (well,at least in spirit!) I just listened through a pile of cd's of them!! And I'm still alive!! ::) ;D The Arnold is going to be sent back,unfortunately. Not because of the music,I might add!! Yes,how strange to leave out Morning heroes. I have never heard the Meditations,and I didn't know Handley had recorded it,until I looked for an emi recording,now. The only recording I was aware of was the Lyrita. I believe (I may be wrong?) that Dundonnell has described it as his masterpiece (?). Or,at least,one of his finest compositions. It's difficult to understand why emi couldn't have included it,and Morning Heroes?! Just one more cd,perhaps?! I haven't heard Morning Heroes,either. (Actually,I think I did hear it on the radio,once?) I'm not usually too keen on musical works with narration. I would prefer the original emi cd,without the War Requiem;but sellers keep asking huge prices (come on Music Magpie!!). I was listening to the Nimbus recording of the Colour Symphony,which was the first one I ever owned,and thinking what a wonderful piece of music it is. I would honestly rate the finale with all that timpani (I'm no expert on orchestration) one of the most viscerally,thrilling climaxes in an orchestral composition. It never fails to make me sit up straight,or,literally,put down everything I'm doing. Any composer who can create a moment like that,has to have a rare talent,of some kind,imho. I was also thinking how wonderful some of the orchestration in his Metamorphic Variations is. Some of those moments of "stillness" are quite ravishing and haunting.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #233 on: July 13, 2018, 03:52:22 AM »
Whooo!!! Walton's recordings of Belshazzar's Feast and his First Symphony are really thrilling,imho! Another point! It may be my excitement getting the better of me;but the sound quality of the recording of the symphony is remarkably good for it's age! Exciting!! I think the recording of Belshazzar's Feast is the most thrilling I've heard! I'm no expert on this composer,I might add! The Mene,Mene,Tekel bit is particularly gripping! I'm no expert on Walton,I might add;but I like what I'm hearing!

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #234 on: July 13, 2018, 03:53:20 AM »
No,I'm afraid G & S are alive and well here (well,at least in spirit!) I just listened through a pile of cd's of them!! And I'm still alive!! ::) ;D The Arnold is going to be sent back,unfortunately. Not because of the music,I might add!! Yes,how strange to leave out Morning heroes. I have never heard the Meditations,and I didn't know Handley had recorded it,until I looked for an emi recording,now. The only recording I was aware of was the Lyrita. I believe (I may be wrong?) that Dundonnell has described it as his masterpiece (?). Or,at least,one of his finest compositions. It's difficult to understand why emi couldn't have included it,and Morning Heroes?! Just one more cd,perhaps?! I haven't heard Morning Heroes,either. (Actually,I think I did hear it on the radio,once?) I'm not usually too keen on musical works with narration. I would prefer the original emi cd,without the War Requiem;but sellers keep asking huge prices (come on Music Magpie!!). I was listening to the Nimbus recording of the Colour Symphony,which was the first one I ever owned,and thinking what a wonderful piece of music it is. I would honestly rate the finale with all that timpani (I'm no expert on orchestration) one of the most viscerally,thrilling climaxes in an orchestral composition. It never fails to make me sit up straight,or,literally,put down everything I'm doing. Any composer who can create a moment like that,has to have a rare talent,of some kind,imho. I was also thinking how wonderful some of the orchestration in his Metamorphic Variations is. Some of those moments of "stillness" are quite ravishing and haunting.

Interesting points. I think that the Groves 'Colour Symphony' (in the box set) is the best version, although I like Bliss's old Decca Eclipse version as well (Dutton CD - probably now available for a million pounds). The EMI Morning Heroes is by far the best. Andrew Davis's new Chandos version is let down by the puny timpani in the finale. It should a great moment - in the Groves/Westbrook version it is. By the way that version is available complete with mini reproduction of the original LP in a boxed set devoted to Groves's recordings (which includes a Colour Symphony and a fabulous Frank Bridge CD).
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #235 on: July 13, 2018, 03:58:39 AM »
Whooo!!! Walton's recordings of Belshazzar's Feast and his First Symphony are really thrilling,imho! Another point! It may be my excitement getting the better of me;but the sound quality of the recording of the symphony is remarkably good for it's age! Exciting!! I think the recording of Belshazzar's Feast is the most thrilling I've heard! I'm no expert on this composer,I might add! The Mene,Mene,Tekel bit is particularly gripping! I'm no expert on Walton,I might add;but I like what I'm hearing!

No, I totally agree with you! I sampled the opening of Symphony 1 myself this morning (will play the whole CD in a minute) and I was surprised by the quality of the recording. It also starts with just the degree of fragile nervous tension and hesitancy which I love. The oboe tune is not 'too confident' as it is in the famous Previn version and is full of nervous tension. I think that most of my life is spent in a state of heightened nervous tension and sense of impending catastrophe, which is probably why such performances appeal to me!


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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #236 on: July 13, 2018, 04:18:18 AM »
I'm sure the Groves recording is superior. The Nimbus recording is the only one I know,apart from Bliss' own recording,which I have on a cd-r. I'm not sure whether the Metamorphic Variations is Bliss at his best,but there are some moments of "stillness" that really do tickle the old ear drums. The timpani in the Nimbus recording is thunderous,to my ears. It's a "first" ever recording for me,so I'm bound to like it! Groves was a dab hand in music like this so I suspect it will be my favourite,soon! The stereo emi Boult recording of Job is certainly my favourite now. Previously,my only recording was the Vernon Handley,and I was quite happy with that.....until now! I think it's still a good recording,though. I like the way my emi cd allows you to focus your mind on the one work,too. (Which is why I,originally,bought it!) That said,the Job is paired with the Concerto for two pianos,which is a truly excellent choice for a companion,imo, (what do you think?) and the first recording of this work which has truly convinced me. I think it might even be one of my favourite VW compositions,now?!! And,oh dear,I digress!! ::)

I just saw your reply. The recording of the Walton symphony sounds quite stunning to my ears. The whole performance is thrilling,too! (I must stop using that word!!) I could be a Waltonian like you,before long (not the tv program!!! ??? ;D) at this rate!!

NB: I'm going to hazard a guess that Walton's operas are not on your "favourites" list?!! ;D

Offline relm1

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #237 on: July 13, 2018, 05:16:52 AM »
Whooo!!! Walton's recordings of Belshazzar's Feast and his First Symphony are really thrilling,imho! Another point! It may be my excitement getting the better of me;but the sound quality of the recording of the symphony is remarkably good for it's age! Exciting!! I think the recording of Belshazzar's Feast is the most thrilling I've heard! I'm no expert on this composer,I might add! The Mene,Mene,Tekel bit is particularly gripping! I'm no expert on Walton,I might add;but I like what I'm hearing!

Which recording are you referring to?

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #238 on: July 13, 2018, 05:57:59 AM »
Which recording are you referring to?
Not addressed to me but this one I think:

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Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #239 on: July 13, 2018, 06:07:47 AM »
I'm sure the Groves recording is superior. The Nimbus recording is the only one I know,apart from Bliss' own recording,which I have on a cd-r. I'm not sure whether the Metamorphic Variations is Bliss at his best,but there are some moments of "stillness" that really do tickle the old ear drums. The timpani in the Nimbus recording is thunderous,to my ears. It's a "first" ever recording for me,so I'm bound to like it! Groves was a dab hand in music like this so I suspect it will be my favourite,soon! The stereo emi Boult recording of Job is certainly my favourite now. Previously,my only recording was the Vernon Handley,and I was quite happy with that.....until now! I think it's still a good recording,though. I like the way my emi cd allows you to focus your mind on the one work,too. (Which is why I,originally,bought it!) That said,the Job is paired with the Concerto for two pianos,which is a truly excellent choice for a companion,imo, (what do you think?) and the first recording of this work which has truly convinced me. I think it might even be one of my favourite VW compositions,now?!! And,oh dear,I digress!! ::)

I just saw your reply. The recording of the Walton symphony sounds quite stunning to my ears. The whole performance is thrilling,too! (I must stop using that word!!) I could be a Waltonian like you,before long (not the tv program!!! ??? ;D) at this rate!!

NB: I'm going to hazard a guess that Walton's operas are not on your "favourites" list?!! ;D
No, I'm not a great fan of Walton's operas but like the incidental music. I really like his film music and that wonderful old Lawrence Olivier Henry V etc CD would be a great supplement to your double CD set. Decades ago they were all part of a rather fab 'Walton Edition' EMI boxed set (I must stop using that word - sounds too 'down with the kids' for someone of my age   ::)) Just to clarify as well that I have been referring to Walton the composer and not to 'The Waltons' TV series throughout these exchanges. I don't like the latter but I'm sure that some find it fab (oh no, there I go again). Enough of this - that VW Double PC (Vronsky/Babin/Boult) and Job combination is terrific (nearly wrote 'fab' what is wrong with me?) Barry Wordsworth's 'Job' is being reissued on Alto (from a Collins original) in September. It is the only one I enjoy as much as Boult's final studio recording. I saw Boult conduct it on VW's 100th B'day (12th October 1972) as a tinsy adolescent ( me, not Boult).

I agree the double PC in that recording is my favourite version and I also agree that it's one of VW's finest works though little performed. I like the way that the percussive qualities of the piano are emphasised in the work, especially in the two piano version.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 06:14:34 AM by vandermolen »
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