Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 38971 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #280 on: May 19, 2019, 06:36:27 AM »
I never could count myself in the Ormandy camp, so I wouldn’t bother listening to his Belshazzar’s Feast. The Walton-led performances do look interesting, but I don’t like Menuhin’s violin playing so I would definitely skip over his performances. Another problem I might have is the fidelity of those Walton-led performances. I’m not sure how they sound.

Oddly enough I rather liked the American accents in the Walton, especially the phrase '...traffic in the city'. I miss it when I hear it enunciated by a British chorus. Yes, I know that some people don't like Menhuhin's playing but I enjoy his performance of the Viola Concerto, which some find controversially slow. I hardly ever listen to the Violin Concerto.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 06:40:15 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #281 on: May 19, 2019, 06:39:38 AM »
Oddly enough I rather liked the American accents in the Walton, especially the phrase '...traffic in the city'. I miss it when I hear it enunciated by a British chorus.

I seldom pay attention to the vocal parts of Belshazzar’s Feast to be honest as I’m so enamored by the orchestral accompaniment that I forget everything else. :)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #282 on: May 19, 2019, 06:43:08 AM »
I seldom pay attention to the vocal parts of Belshazzar’s Feast to be honest as I’m so enamored by the orchestral accompaniment that I forget everything else. :)

I think that it was my teenage encounter with this recording which influenced me. Previn is one of my favourite conductors, although I don't especially like his 'legendary' performance of either Walton's First Symphony, which is over-hyped in my view, or his Belshazzar's Feast. I prefer his later RPO recording of the symphony.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #283 on: May 19, 2019, 06:49:58 AM »
I think that it was my teenage encounter with this recording which influenced me. Previn is one of my favourite conductors, although I don't especially like his 'legendary' performance of either Walton's First Symphony, which is over-hyped in my view, or his Belshazzar's Feast. I prefer his later RPO recording of the symphony.

Ah, so the Ormandy is a sentimental favorite? Well, there’s nothing wrong with that as I have many sentimental favorites. I think the first time I heard Walton’s Symphony No. 1 was probably Previn’s with the LSO (the one you don’t enjoy that much). I can’t say how I feel about Previn’s performance nowadays, but I’ll be honest and say that I think Thomson is much better in the symphony than Previn. This isn’t to discount what Previn has done for Walton’s music of course, because he certainly seemed to be regarded a champion of his music, especially having conducted so much of it.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #284 on: May 19, 2019, 08:09:24 AM »
Ah, so the Ormandy is a sentimental favorite? Well, there’s nothing wrong with that as I have many sentimental favorites. I think the first time I heard Walton’s Symphony No. 1 was probably Previn’s with the LSO (the one you don’t enjoy that much). I can’t say how I feel about Previn’s performance nowadays, but I’ll be honest and say that I think Thomson is much better in the symphony than Previn. This isn’t to discount what Previn has done for Walton’s music of course, because he certainly seemed to be regarded a champion of his music, especially having conducted so much of it.
Yes, 'sentimental favourite' (British spelling  8)) is a good term for it John. I think it brings back a particular time in my life when I was discovering classical music. Of course the wide-eyed wonder of youth is long gone but some of these recordings meant a lot to me at the time. I loved the cover of the LP as well.
 :)
Here is another fine recording of the First Symphony:
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 08:40:37 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #285 on: May 19, 2019, 08:53:01 AM »
Yes, 'sentimental favourite' (British spelling  8)) is a good term for it John. I think it brings back a particular time in my life when I was discovering classical music. Of course the wide-eyed wonder of youth is long gone but some of these recordings meant a lot to me at the time. I loved the cover of the LP as well.
 :)
Here is another fine recording of the First Symphony:


Very nice to hear, Jeffrey. Nothing like recapturing the sights and sounds of our youth.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #286 on: May 19, 2019, 12:16:00 PM »
Sometimes I play a cruel trick on people around at my house. if they don't know BF I play them the passage 'In that same night was Belshazzar the King slain. [Chorus] SLAIN!'. They jump every time!

(The final bars of Mahler's Sixth also work in the same way).

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #287 on: May 19, 2019, 02:38:03 PM »
In my view, I don’t see how anyone could best Kyung-Wha Chung in the Violin Concerto. For me, it just doesn’t get any better than her performance.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Daverz

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #288 on: May 19, 2019, 05:16:52 PM »
In my view, I don’t see how anyone could best Kyung-Wha Chung in the Violin Concerto. For me, it just doesn’t get any better than her performance.

Here she is playing the Concerto for Walton's 80th birthday celebration:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/elCxwrGAoVs" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/elCxwrGAoVs</a>

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #289 on: May 19, 2019, 05:26:32 PM »
Here she is playing the Concerto for Walton's 80th birthday celebration:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/elCxwrGAoVs" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/elCxwrGAoVs</a>

Very nice, daverz. Looks like Walton enjoyed the performance, too.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Online kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #290 on: May 20, 2019, 10:57:56 AM »
In my view, I don’t see how anyone could best Kyung-Wha Chung in the Violin Concerto. For me, it just doesn’t get any better than her performance.

James Ehnes’ recording (coupled with the Barber and Korngold VCs) is also superb. Maybe Jeffrey just hasn’t heard the right recording of the work? ;)
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #291 on: May 20, 2019, 12:36:01 PM »
James Ehnes’ recording (coupled with the Barber and Korngold VCs) is also superb. Maybe Jeffrey just hasn’t heard the right recording of the work? ;)
Haha - I don't really dislike the Violin Concerto, it's just that I prefer the Viola Concerto  ;)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline JBS

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #292 on: May 20, 2019, 12:44:36 PM »
Here’s a question for everyone: what is/are your favorite performance(s) of Belshazaar’s Feast?


Offline André

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #293 on: May 22, 2019, 02:23:06 AM »



The 1956 stereo sound in the symphony is quite amazing. Apart from a slightly exaggerated left/right separation and a smidge of residual hiss, this is a clear, well balanced, deep soundstage with a big dynamic range. The 1953 mono Belshazzar is just as effective. Superb clarity, with the words more clearly caught than in the 2008 Colin Davis disc. A stunning choral/orchestral balancing act from the engineers.

As interpretations go, it seems hard to improve on them, although I find Haitink and the Philharmonia to be on the same level, with excellent sound. Boult ratchets up the tension from the get go and the first movement crackles with electricity. Breathtaking. There is a slight ease in voltage thereafter and the finale, however dramatic is not as cathartic as under Haitink. Boult however disguises the movement’s seams much better than Davis, whose central fugue in IV sounds dutiful in comparison. The Davis LSO disc is still one to be reckoned with, a less jagged, spiteful and venomous view of the score. His bouncing, tensile, luminous interpretation is played to perfection by the LSO. The coda of IV packs a huge punch.

Belshazzar under Boult is heard to better effect than on the Davis disc - or the Rattle. It is tightly knit and theatrical in the best sense. John Noble is a commanding presence, the voice powerful and well focused. He is more striking than Hampson (Rattle) and way firmer of tone than the sometimes wobbly Coleman-Wright (Davis). Again, the text is sung so crisply and clearly by the LPO chorus that one can almost dispense of the booklet.[/img]

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #294 on: May 22, 2019, 04:22:48 AM »
Boult’s Symphony No. 1 is cracking. Would I say it’s my favorite? No, but, as with a lot of Boult’s performances, they’re admirably performed. For someone who doesn’t look like he’s hardly even moving on the podium, he sure does know how to whip the orchestra up into a frenzy. His secret: it’s all in the baton. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #295 on: May 22, 2019, 05:51:20 AM »
Boult’s Symphony No. 1 is cracking. Would I say it’s my favorite? No, but, as with a lot of Boult’s performances, they’re admirably performed. For someone who doesn’t look like he’s hardly even moving on the podium, he sure does know how to whip the orchestra up into a frenzy. His secret: it’s all in the baton. :)

It is long (the baton ;)).
And behind the slime and the croaking there was , sure enough, like an old master beneath a layer of dirt, the noble outline of that divine music. - Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #296 on: May 22, 2019, 06:40:11 AM »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #297 on: May 22, 2019, 08:47:54 AM »
he sure does know how to whip the orchestra up into a frenzy. His secret: it’s all in the baton. :)

I think he quivers an eyelid occasionally as well.

Offline André

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #298 on: May 22, 2019, 02:28:38 PM »
And his left pinkie. Such an expressive pinkie !  :)

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #299 on: May 22, 2019, 02:58:22 PM »
I think is mainly done at rehearsal, where Boult repeatedly says, "that part should be louder," "that part should be faster," "that part should be louder and faster," "faster and louder, please," "play it faster and not so slowly."