Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 41649 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #300 on: May 22, 2019, 08:10:20 PM »



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]
Joking aside this is a fabulous performance of both works and probably my favourite version of the symphony. My brother had it on LP with a rather garish cover:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #301 on: May 22, 2019, 10:57:47 PM »
Joking aside this is a fabulous performance of both works and probably my favourite version of the symphony. My brother had it on LP with a rather garish cover:


Until you posted the LP cover, Jeffrey, I didn't realise I had that performance of the 1st Symphony on my shelves. I honestly think I have not listened to it. I will now!

On the subject of LP covers I like the old-fashioned one of Shakespeare film music on The World Record Club but my absolute favourite is the Spitfire.

The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #302 on: May 22, 2019, 11:38:48 PM »
Joking aside this is a fabulous performance of both works and probably my favourite version of the symphony. My brother had it on LP with a rather garish cover:


I get rather confused with iterations of Boult's Walton 1 recordings!  My father had the Golden Guinea LP that you have copied here.  Is that different from the Nixa performance.  I assume it IS the same as this CD version



then there is the live Boult here:



which I think is the same performance as this one here.......!



(frustrating when Amazon doesn't conjure up an image!)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #303 on: May 23, 2019, 01:38:58 AM »
Nixa was a brand name owned by Pye and Golden Guinea was Pye's bargain classical re-issue label (similar to Decca's Ace of Clubs).  But generally I associate Pye much more with popular music, including some big 'trad' jazz hits.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:52:15 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #304 on: May 23, 2019, 04:23:52 AM »
What does everyone think of Walton’s chamber music? I listened to his Violin Sonata for what have only been the second-time last night and really enjoyed, but I know I’m going to have to revisit it as I was rather tired when I listened to it.
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #305 on: May 24, 2019, 10:17:33 AM »
I get rather confused with iterations of Boult's Walton 1 recordings!  My father had the Golden Guinea LP that you have copied here.  Is that different from the Nixa performance.  I assume it IS the same as this CD version



then there is the live Boult here:



which I think is the same performance as this one here.......!



(frustrating when Amazon doesn't conjure up an image!)

Yes, you are right. The top image with the green border is the old Pye/Nixa version. The others are, not so good IMO live versions. The PYE version is also available on the Somm label (posted above - my favourite transfer as it sounds more like an improved version of the LP sound although the critics think that the 3CD set with Elgar, Britten etc is the one to have):
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #306 on: May 24, 2019, 10:21:54 AM »
Until you posted the LP cover, Jeffrey, I didn't realise I had that performance of the 1st Symphony on my shelves. I honestly think I have not listened to it. I will now!

On the subject of LP covers I like the old-fashioned one of Shakespeare film music on The World Record Club but my absolute favourite is the Spitfire.



Not seen the WRC recording before but I share your love for the Spitfire cover which I have somewhere in the attic I think. These two LPs had a big influence on my younger self (look out for the Globe theatre on the film music LP) They added the Spitfire Prelude for the HMV Concert Classics release:

« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 10:39:31 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #307 on: May 24, 2019, 10:24:09 AM »
What does everyone think of Walton’s chamber music? I listened to his Violin Sonata for what have only been the second-time last night and really enjoyed, but I know I’m going to have to revisit it as I was rather tired when I listened to it.

I'm ashamed to say that I hardly know it John. I think that I enjoyed the Sonata for Strings which is based on one of Walton's chamber works.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #308 on: May 24, 2019, 01:19:41 PM »
I'm ashamed to say that I hardly know it John. I think that I enjoyed the Sonata for Strings which is based on one of Walton's chamber works.

Yes, the Sonata for Strings is excellent, it is based on Walton's string quartet. Neville Marriner himself suggested that Walton transcribe his string quartet for a small string orchestra. Marriner with his Academy recorded the work for Argo.
The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #309 on: May 24, 2019, 06:46:59 PM »
I'm ashamed to say that I hardly know it John. I think that I enjoyed the Sonata for Strings which is based on one of Walton's chamber works.

You must give the Violin Sonata a listen, Jeffrey. I think you’ll enjoy immensely.
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #310 on: May 24, 2019, 09:11:07 PM »
You must give the Violin Sonata a listen, Jeffrey. I think you’ll enjoy immensely.
Definitely! Thanks for the recommendation John.
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #311 on: May 25, 2019, 12:37:32 AM »


Listening to Francescatti playing the Walton Violin Concerto brings to light how styles of playing have changed, mostly for the better. A really good interpretation with recording to match is spoilt by an excessive vibrato from Francescatti in the first movement. At one point I actually felt queasy listening to a vibrato too wide and rapid.

Menuhin has his detractors and I have not heard his Walton - clever to issue both violin and viola concertos in tandem - but although from same generation I have not heard Menuhin overdoing it in this area of technique.     
The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #312 on: May 25, 2019, 02:16:27 AM »
I remember a recording of Francescatti playing the Sibelius violin concerto - similar impression.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #313 on: May 25, 2019, 04:36:03 AM »


Listening to Francescatti playing the Walton Violin Concerto brings to light how styles of playing have changed, mostly for the better. A really good interpretation with recording to match is spoilt by an excessive vibrato from Francescatti in the first movement. At one point I actually felt queasy listening to a vibrato too wide and rapid.

Menuhin has his detractors and I have not heard his Walton - clever to issue both violin and viola concertos in tandem - but although from same generation I have not heard Menuhin overdoing it in this area of technique.     

Kyung-Wha Chung is the one to beat in the Violin Concerto, IMHO.
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #314 on: May 26, 2019, 05:44:34 AM »
What does everyone think of Walton’s chamber music? I listened to his Violin Sonata for what have only been the second-time last night and really enjoyed, but I know I’m going to have to revisit it as I was rather tired when I listened to it.

I like the Violin Sonata quite a bit, as well as the Piano Quartet. I don’t know either of the string quartets (yet).
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #315 on: May 26, 2019, 05:55:55 AM »
I like the Violin Sonata quite a bit, as well as the Piano Quartet. I don’t know either of the string quartets (yet).

The first SQ is ‘okay’ nothing special, but the second one, in A minor, is the one to hear and has Walton’s distinctive sound all over it. My understanding was the first SQ was withdrawn or wasn’t a work Walton was particularly proud of.
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #316 on: May 26, 2019, 05:59:50 AM »
Kyung-Wha Chung is the one to beat in the Violin Concerto, IMHO.
I would say everything she has done is pretty much must-listen to material. In recent years I would say Janine Jansen come closest to her in terms of bringing out the heart and soul of every work they played.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #317 on: May 26, 2019, 06:09:38 AM »
I would say everything she has done is pretty much must-listen to material. In recent years I would say Janine Jansen come closest to her in terms of bringing out the heart and soul of every work they played.

Perhaps we should email Janine Jansen asking her to record the Walton VC? That would be something.
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #318 on: May 26, 2019, 07:53:14 AM »
Perhaps we should email Janine Jansen asking her to record the Walton VC? That would be something.

We should! Janine Jansen is an incredible violinist.

Last night I listened to what is one of Walton’s last works, the Passacaglia for solo cello (1980). It’s brief but very effective: https://youtu.be/0oRyPLnPeFw
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #319 on: May 26, 2019, 10:36:45 PM »
Kyung-Wha Chung is the one to beat in the Violin Concerto, IMHO.

Chung is next on my list. Yesterday was the turn of Ida Haendel who shows the Walton violin concerto in the best possible light. Not as languorous as some in the first movement but she and Berglund are brilliant at the sudden changes of mood and tempo during the concerto as a whole. I am coming around to the thought this is a finer violin concerto then I gave credit for. More suited to Haendel then the coupling I think.

The familiar rat-a-tat of enemy machine-guns joined the melee. It was like an orchestra from hell, it’s tune being played out by the instruments of death. - The Sun Will Always Shine, John R McKay.