Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 40899 times)

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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #200 on: June 28, 2018, 04:53:31 AM »
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #201 on: June 28, 2018, 05:00:03 AM »
I need to revisit Belshazzar's Feast.  When I first heard it, as an undergrad, I embraced it enthusiastically.  When I revisited it years later . . . I was puzzled at the thought of my earlier enthusiasm  8)


I really do not know how I should react to it, today.  Could be worth trying it out . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Biffo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #202 on: June 28, 2018, 05:32:59 AM »
I need to revisit Belshazzar's Feast.  When I first heard it, as an undergrad, I embraced it enthusiastically.  When I revisited it years later . . . I was puzzled at the thought of my earlier enthusiasm  8)


I really do not know how I should react to it, today.  Could be worth trying it out . . . .

I think it makes a bigger impact in a live performance, even an amateur one, than in a recording though Previn is excellent.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #203 on: June 30, 2018, 08:13:02 AM »
Belshazzar’s Feast is a magnificent work, full of unbridled energy and irresistibly catchy rhythms. It gets off to a bit of slow start, but things eventually pick up in the third or fourth movement and it’s a nonstop, thrilling ride from there. I can fully understand why it’s possibly Alberich’s favorite work by a British composer!  :)
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #204 on: June 30, 2018, 03:43:14 PM »
I always like to play the "Slain!" bit to unsuspecting listeners. Always makes them jump.
 8)

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #205 on: June 30, 2018, 05:01:57 PM »
I always like to play the "Slain!" bit to unsuspecting listeners. Always makes them jump.
 8)

A creepy section indeed!  ??? 8)
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Biffo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #206 on: June 30, 2018, 11:32:20 PM »
I always like to play the "Slain!" bit to unsuspecting listeners. Always makes them jump.
 8)

At one of the Hoffnung Music Festival concerts Walton conducted an excerpt from BF - it was the single word 'Slain!'

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #207 on: July 01, 2018, 02:53:26 AM »
The whole 'Writing on the Wall' sequence can be very powerful and creepy if performed well.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #208 on: July 01, 2018, 04:43:05 AM »
My favorite section is the "Praise ye the God of x"-section. Fascinating, awe-inspiring orchestral effects.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #209 on: July 01, 2018, 05:50:48 AM »
My favorite section is the "Praise ye the God of x"-section. Fascinating, awe-inspiring orchestral effects.

Yes, that's a very exciting section of the score.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #210 on: July 01, 2018, 01:38:27 PM »
There aren’t too many scores in the choral tradition that begin with invoking castration anxiety:

“Thus spake Isaiah: the sons that thou shalt beget shall be taken away and be eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon”

 :-[

My other favourite bit is the exhultation over fallen Babylon. Magnificently pitiless.

cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #211 on: July 04, 2018, 02:42:13 AM »
I enjoyed listening to the 1943 recording of Belshazzar's Feat with Dennis Noble,yesterday. I also listened to the recording of his First Symphony by Hamilton Harty. I hadn't listened to the 1943 recording of Belshazzar before (Well,not properly!). I must admit I got the recordings off one of those vinyl blogs. I will buy cd's of them,when I've got enough spare dosh. I find myself enjoying Walton's music more and more these days. I even like his Facade! The one with Constant Lambert is my favourite! I like it without the words,too! I also listened to his Scapino Comedy Overture,which I've always liked,and his Sinfonia Concertante,which is new to me! I believe these were conducted by Walton,too? I'll have to look. They sounded old! I don't find his Second Symphony a let down after the First. I think it's a very fine symphony. I particularly like the second movement. They're both great,imho! :)

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #212 on: July 04, 2018, 06:55:48 AM »
The two symphonies are products of two totally different eras, so they shouldn't really be compared to each other. They should be appreciated as their own individual creations.

I agree about Belshazzar's Feast, in that it takes a while for it to get going, but when it does, hold on to your hats! The "Praise ye" section provides opportunity for Walton to pull out the orchestral effects, including the anvil, and striking a tam-tam with a triangle beater, and I love the anecdote about Beecham (I think) telling Walton that "as you're not going to hear the work very often, you might as well chuck in a couple of brass bands!"

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #213 on: July 04, 2018, 09:51:34 AM »
I've learnt to appreciate the Second Symphony more in recent years, especially the slow movement. I do, however, think that the First Symphony is an incomparably greater work. Having said that I don't think any of the other movements is the equal of the opening movement which could be a short symphony in itself along the lines of Samuel Barber's First Symphony - in his case I now enjoy his Symphony 2 as much as Symphony in One Movement. I don't regard the last movement of Walton's First Movement as some kind of 'after thought' as he had trouble completing the score. I think that it represents a fine conclusion to a great work. I prefer the slow movement of Symphony 2 to the one in the First Symphony. Cilgwyn is right about those pioneering early recordings of British symphonies. Hamilton Harty's recording of the First Symphony has an urgency unlike any other version and it was linked on Dutton with a fine version of the Viola Concerto which I think is a much better work than the better known Violin Concerto. That Harty version ranks with Heward's recording of Moeran's Symphony and Barbirolli's of Bax's Third Symphony as perhaps the greatest performances of this works on disc.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #214 on: July 05, 2018, 03:33:19 AM »
By the way,was the Szell recording of the Second symphony the first commercial recording? If so,what was the first British (commercial) recording? I was reading just now,that the initial reception was so lukewarm,that emi cancelled a planned recording. Who was going to conduct that? I've only,recently,found myself really getting "into" Walton,although I have known allot of his music,for years. I think I was more into other composers like VW,Elgar,Bax,Moeran,Brian (among others). I think the emi cd (recommended by you) of his First and Second symphonies (Sargent/Previn) was the one that finally,"did it" for me?!

cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #215 on: July 05, 2018, 04:06:38 AM »
I'm going to look these things up when I've got the time. I'll hazard a guess,it was the Szell? If I wasn't so busy I'd look it up. I haven't heard the Szell. I wonder what vandermolen thinks of that recording? I must admit,I tend to be put off some of his recordings by the dry acoustic . His Beethoven symphonies,which are highly rated by some,also felt a bit under-powered after Wyn Morris' fiery readings. I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about?! The box is in a nice slimline case,though! That said,I did enjoy his Ninth! But I digress!! ::)

Offline Biffo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #216 on: July 05, 2018, 04:30:21 AM »
The two symphonies are products of two totally different eras, so they shouldn't really be compared to each other. They should be appreciated as their own individual creations.

I agree about Belshazzar's Feast, in that it takes a while for it to get going, but when it does, hold on to your hats! The "Praise ye" section provides opportunity for Walton to pull out the orchestral effects, including the anvil, and striking a tam-tam with a triangle beater, and I love the anecdote about Beecham (I think) telling Walton that "as you're not going to hear the work very often, you might as well chuck in a couple of brass bands!"

The first performance of Belshazzar shows two sides of Beecham's character. The BBC commissioned Walton to write a chamber cantata and refused to perform the result. Beecham stepped in and raised the finance to perform the work at the Leeds Festival. The Berlioz Requiem was also being performed at the festival and Walton asked Beecham if he should use extra brass as it was available. Beecham replied with something along the lines of 'why not, you'll never hear it again'.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #217 on: July 05, 2018, 05:18:09 AM »
By the way,was the Szell recording of the Second symphony the first commercial recording? If so,what was the first British (commercial) recording? I was reading just now,that the initial reception was so lukewarm,that emi cancelled a planned recording. Who was going to conduct that? I've only,recently,found myself really getting "into" Walton,although I have known allot of his music,for years. I think I was more into other composers like VW,Elgar,Bax,Moeran,Brian (among others). I think the emi cd (recommended by you) of his First and Second symphonies (Sargent/Previn) was the one that finally,"did it" for me?!

The Szell LP was available in the UK. Other than that Previn I guess. I think the Szell was the first available recording.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

cilgwyn

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #218 on: July 05, 2018, 08:29:12 AM »
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.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #219 on: July 05, 2018, 08:47:41 AM »
I am not hearing any want of inspiration in the second symphony.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot