Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 40817 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #180 on: August 20, 2017, 03:04:55 AM »
Me too, am even a bit shocked to see this list.  ???
Happily, there are some differences, caused no doubt by different listening experiences; namely:
1. I love Respighi, especially his later pieces, but found the Vetrate a bit bombastic at first hearing (comparable to other war horses like the Pini and Feste Romane) and never played much attention to it since then; my Respighi favourites are the Fontane, Trittico botticelliano, Lauda per la nativitá del Signore, Metamorphoseon Modi XII, Belfagor Overture, Concerto gregoriano, La Primavera, Ciaccona, Antiche danze ed arie per liuto III, Maria egiziaca. Tell me: what am I missing (nodding at Jeffrey too: yes, it must be completely my fault).
2. The same with Tubin: find his symphonies one of the finest cycles that I know and love them dearly; but almost all more so than the trepid Fifth (that I even heard live, in Utrecht, just as I heard the Sixth and (unfinished) Eleventh in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Why not 4, 6, or 8?  ;)
3. For me, Miaskovsky is No. 6 and No. 27. Please tell me more about No. 17.
4. Franck, really?  :D
I like all those work by Respighi too but must confess to enjoying the technicolor/Hollywood aspects of 'Church Windows', especially 'Gregory the Great'. 'Ballad of the Gnomes' is also fun. As for Tubin I enjoy the end of the slow movement of Symphony 5, especially in the Jarvi recording, but my favourites are 1-4 and 10. I know that Robert Layton thinks that no.8 is the greatest but it is not my favourite. As for Miaskovsky's 17th Symphony, written during the Stalinist Purges, it is one of my favourites too. It has a beautiful slow movement and great ending, which I find both triumphant and oddly defiant although there is no suggestion that he was following a subversive agenda. You could always get hold of the Alto CD of Symphony 17 coupled with perhaps Miaskovsky's finest symphony - the poetic and concise No.21 - and then you can read the brilliant booklet notes all about it.  8)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 03:06:49 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #181 on: August 20, 2017, 01:17:57 PM »
Me too, am even a bit shocked to see this list.  ???
Happily, there are some differences, caused no doubt by different listening experiences; namely:
1. I love Respighi, especially his later pieces, but found the Vetrate a bit bombastic at first hearing (comparable to other war horses like the Pini and Feste Romane) and never played much attention to it since then; my Respighi favourites are the Fontane, Trittico botticelliano, Lauda per la nativitá del Signore, Metamorphoseon Modi XII, Belfagor Overture, Concerto gregoriano, La Primavera, Ciaccona, Antiche danze ed arie per liuto III, Maria egiziaca. Tell me: what am I missing (nodding at Jeffrey too: yes, it must be completely my fault).
2. The same with Tubin: find his symphonies one of the finest cycles that I know and love them dearly; but almost all more so than the trepid Fifth (that I even heard live, in Utrecht, just as I heard the Sixth and (unfinished) Eleventh in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Why not 4, 6, or 8?  ;)
3. For me, Miaskovsky is No. 6 and No. 27. Please tell me more about No. 17.
4. Franck, really?  :D


I was a little bit moved when I wrote that (I had a overdose of shocking music) :)

About Tubin, any of the 1-7 are splendid, all of them I like so MUCH!!!
The Miaskovsky's 17th has a magical slow movement, one of his finest ones.
Franck... Le Chasseur Maudit is great (maybe not bombastic), his most succesful attempt in the tone poem.


I share your views on nearly all those works and am encouraged to listen to the Novak again. For my brother the Walton is about despair turning to defiance and I like that analysis. It remains one of the greatest British symphonies along IMHO opinion with the two (or three) by Elgar, Vaughan Williams's 4-6,Bax Nos.3 and 5,Arnold No.5, Moeran's Symphony, Rubbra's No.4 and 1 and 8 by Havergal Brian.
Haitink's recording is an epic performance of an epic symphony.

That recording is slower comparing with others. I find it more solemn, the climaxes are overwhelming, there is slightly more time to enjoy. In some works I prefer slower performances to catch some details in a better way. Fortunately, this symphony has had many excellent recordings.

Some time ago I did not listen to it and I was pleasantly shocked. It can't fail!!!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 02:55:33 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #182 on: August 20, 2017, 01:34:21 PM »
This is also a fine performance IMO:

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Offline Omicron9

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #183 on: August 23, 2017, 05:55:42 AM »
Big big big (big) fan of his string quartets.  Highly recommended.

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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #184 on: August 23, 2017, 11:41:33 AM »
Big big big (big) fan of his string quartets.  Highly recommended.

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The string quartet in A minor is interesting. I prefer the version for string orchestra, though.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #185 on: November 01, 2017, 03:50:26 AM »
Very much enjoying this new release - the opening of the First Symphony conveys the urgency and tension missing, IMHO, from many other versions, including, in my view, the famous Previn LSO version.


The performance of Symphony 2 is the best I have heard, darker, more intense and beautifully recorded. One jazzy section reminded me of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story'. Symphony 2 appears a much greater work in this performance.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 04:31:41 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #186 on: November 18, 2017, 01:00:40 AM »
Last night the concert I attended in London featured 'Henry V: A Shakespeare Scenario', Christopher Palmer's adaptation of Walton's magnificent score for the war-time film 'Henry V'. It was such fun to hear it live. It was a great evening of British music as 'Riders to the Sea' by Vaughan Williams was featured in the first half. I rarely attend a concert where I greatly enjoy every work featured.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #187 on: December 26, 2017, 08:44:59 AM »
Very much enjoying this new release - the opening of the First Symphony conveys the urgency and tension missing, IMHO, from many other versions, including, in my view, the famous Previn LSO version.


The performance of Symphony 2 is the best I have heard, darker, more intense and beautifully recorded. One jazzy section reminded me of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story'. Symphony 2 appears a much greater work in this performance.

I echo your enthusiasm for this recording of the 1st Symphony, Jeffrey (I haven't listened to the 2nd on this disc yet). I also prefer it to the Previn RCA recording, which I don't really understand all the hype about.

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the con malizia scherzo of the Walton 1st isn't really that malicious? Don't get me wrong - it's a great movement, but it sounds more mischevious than malicious to me. I can think of many scherzi in the symphonic repertoire that are more "malicious" - Mahler 7 and 9, Shostakovich 8 and 10, Vaughan Williams 4, 6, and 9, even Elgar 2.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 09:17:42 AM by kyjo »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #188 on: December 26, 2017, 12:38:08 PM »
I echo your enthusiasm for this recording of the 1st Symphony, Jeffrey (I haven't listened to the 2nd on this disc yet). I also prefer it to the Previn RCA recording, which I don't really understand all the hype about.

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the con malizia scherzo of the Walton 1st isn't really that malicious? Don't get me wrong - it's a great movement, but it sounds more mischevious than malicious to me. I can think of many scherzi in the symphonic repertoire that are more "malicious" - Mahler 7 and 9, Shostakovich 8 and 10, Vaughan Williams 4, 6, and 9, even Elgar 2.
I keep reading very good reviews of this disc Kyle, especially Symphony 1. The lack of mystery at the start of the much famed Previn LSOerformance ruins it for me. The oboe should IMHO sound much more 'fragile' and tentative (as it does in Boult's earlier recording) than it does in Previn's performance when it sounds too confident and matter-of-fact for my taste. Only my personal reaction of course. The Mackerras and Bryden Thomson versions are also excellent in my view. As to those who think that the final movement is an anti-climax, I disagree although none of the other movements are as good as the opening one. I prefer the slow movement of Symphony 2 to Symphony 1.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #189 on: December 26, 2017, 01:08:16 PM »
As to those who think that the final movement is an anti-climax, I disagree although none of the other movements are as good as the opening one. I prefer the slow movement of Symphony 2 to Symphony 1.

Indeed, the first movement sets a very high bar and I agree that it is the strongest movement (the finale is very good as well despite its rather awkward ending). I also prefer the slow movement of Symphony 2 (quite magical).
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #190 on: February 23, 2018, 09:25:52 AM »
Walton is a new composer to me, even though I've been familiar with his name for years. But only during the last couple of weeks did I start to really listen to his music and - quite frankly, he just might be my favorite British composer so far. Belshazzar's Feast and Henry V are my favorite works from him so far. He is a truly masterful orchestrator.
"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."

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #191 on: February 23, 2018, 01:00:12 PM »
Walton is a new composer to me, even though I've been familiar with his name for years. But only during the last couple of weeks did I start to really listen to his music and - quite frankly, he just might be my favorite British composer so far. Belshazzar's Feast and Henry V are my favorite works from him so far. He is a truly masterful orchestrator.
Have you tried Symphony 1 and the Viola Concerto yet? Both fabulous works IMHO and the latter better than the more famous Violin Concerto.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #192 on: February 24, 2018, 03:39:07 AM »
Have you tried Symphony 1 and the Viola Concerto yet? Both fabulous works IMHO and the latter better than the more famous Violin Concerto.

I have, actually, and liked them very much.
"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."

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #193 on: February 24, 2018, 03:50:22 AM »
I have, actually, and liked them very much.
Excellent! Glad to hear that.

Other recommendations:

Sinfonia Concertante: a kind of piano concerto which I like very much.
'As You Like It' Film Music and 'Hamlet' film music (you can find them on the same CD).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline amw

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #194 on: February 27, 2018, 02:19:34 AM »
The one piece by Walton that I like is the Piano Quartet, 1921. It was the 19 year old composer's first real success iirc, and it has a youthful energy and elegance and approachability that I don't think he ever managed to achieve again.

Does anyone have any recording recs? I have the Nash Ensemble on Hyperion, which is very fine, and have been eyeing the Maggini Quartet w Peter Donohue.

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #195 on: March 01, 2018, 09:03:47 AM »
My favorites of Walton's are the string quartets.  Yet they seem to somehow get overlooked in his body of work.

Edit: oops... I see I previously mentioned his quartets.  My brain can be rather sieve-like. 
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #196 on: March 03, 2018, 03:40:57 PM »
I had never listened to Belshazzar's Feast until recently, and it really blew me away! It gets off to a rather slow start, but it eventually becomes a really thrilling work. The jazzy, syncopated rhythms throughout are absolutely infectious, and the orchestration and choral writing is superb. I listened to this excellent recording:

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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #197 on: March 04, 2018, 03:41:18 AM »
I had never listened to Belshazzar's Feast until recently, and it really blew me away! It gets off to a rather slow start, but it eventually becomes a really thrilling work. The jazzy, syncopated rhythms throughout are absolutely infectious, and the orchestration and choral writing is superb. I listened to this excellent recording:



Glad you liked it, my favorite work from Walton and quite possibly my favorite composition from British composer, ever.
"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 #198 on: March 04, 2018, 07:03:51 AM »
I had never listened to Belshazzar's Feast until recently, and it really blew me away! It gets off to a rather slow start, but it eventually becomes a really thrilling work. The jazzy, syncopated rhythms throughout are absolutely infectious, and the orchestration and choral writing is superb. I listened to this excellent recording:



It's a nice coupling as well! Glad you liked it Kyle.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #199 on: June 28, 2018, 04:47:56 AM »
Glad you liked it, my favorite work from Walton and quite possibly my favorite composition from British composer, ever.
Really!  :o
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