Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 44498 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #340 on: May 30, 2019, 12:47:19 AM »
Thanks for link, Jeffrey. Good to see he has built a career in the US which explains why he disappeared from the scene over here.

My pleasure Lol.

"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #341 on: May 30, 2019, 12:48:03 AM »
The New Haven Symphony is very good as is the Nimbus engineering.

Totally agree. I was very impressed with both of those Walton releases.
"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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #342 on: June 01, 2019, 07:03:55 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]

Andre - I picked up a copy of this in the light of your comments above.  Interesting - as I mentioned I remember this Symphony recording from the old Golden Guinea version in my Dad's LP collection and my memory of it is as distinctly underwhelming.  Clearly a function of the LP pressing because - as you say - this is in fact a very dynamic, purposeful and exciting reading.  To my ear the middle two movements especially successful with a scherzo that bristles with energy and venom and a superbly paced slow movement.  1950's percussion/timpani recording is always something of a disappointment - thuddy (almost pitchless) timps and a tam tam that sounds like a country house dinner-gong/large tray.

Was not nearly as impressed by Belshazzar.  Scrappy/small-sounding chorus..... "yea, we wep..p..p..t..t..t..t.  Denis Noble's diction is excellent but in the great list of Babylon's wealth he is very perfunctory especially on the chilling/sinuous "souls of men....."  Boult sets a cracking tempo for the following; "In Babylon the mighty city...."  Proof yet again that he never was just this patrician/"Edwardian" conductor.  Well worth adding to the collection!

Offline André

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #343 on: June 01, 2019, 03:00:56 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, RS  ;). I was not too disappointed with the percussion - mind you I enjoy old recordings as much as newer ones as long if the spirit and the execution are of a high level.

Cheers

André

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #344 on: June 01, 2019, 10:46:22 PM »
Andre - I picked up a copy of this in the light of your comments above.  Interesting - as I mentioned I remember this Symphony recording from the old Golden Guinea version in my Dad's LP collection and my memory of it is as distinctly underwhelming.  Clearly a function of the LP pressing because - as you say - this is in fact a very dynamic, purposeful and exciting reading.  To my ear the middle two movements especially successful with a scherzo that bristles with energy and venom and a superbly paced slow movement.  1950's percussion/timpani recording is always something of a disappointment - thuddy (almost pitchless) timps and a tam tam that sounds like a country house dinner-gong/large tray.

Was not nearly as impressed by Belshazzar.  Scrappy/small-sounding chorus..... "yea, we wep..p..p..t..t..t..t.  Denis Noble's diction is excellent but in the great list of Babylon's wealth he is very perfunctory especially on the chilling/sinuous "souls of men....."  Boult sets a cracking tempo for the following; "In Babylon the mighty city...."  Proof yet again that he never was just this patrician/"Edwardian" conductor.  Well worth adding to the collection!

There is nothing wrong with your memory. I have the "Golden Guinea" Boult Walton 1st on my shelves, and after the positive comments of the performance, I of course played it. In this case it is very much stick with the CD.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #345 on: January 27, 2020, 02:11:09 PM »
Just bought:



Looking forward to this box set as I really admire Litton’s conducting and I’ve always loved the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Litton and Bournemouth seem like a good match in Walton.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:13:02 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #346 on: January 27, 2020, 02:19:14 PM »
I have to be careful with Walton as I’ll end up listening to every recording of his music I have in collection if I’m not careful. Yes, his music is that addicting. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #347 on: January 27, 2020, 02:24:03 PM »
Just bought:



Looking forward to this box set as I really admire Litton’s conducting and I’ve always loved the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Litton and Bournemouth seem like a good match in Walton.

this is a very good set with excellent engineering backing up fine playing and interpretations - get ready for a Waltonian binge!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #348 on: January 27, 2020, 02:30:59 PM »
this is a very good set with excellent engineering backing up fine playing and interpretations - get ready for a Waltonian binge!

Very good to read, Roasted Swan. I’m trying to avoid the binge, but it may prove more difficult than I initially thought. Here’s a fun a question (maybe), but what are your ‘Top 5’ Walton recordings? And this question goes for everyone here who’s a fan of the composer.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:35:21 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #349 on: January 27, 2020, 03:02:10 PM »
this is a very good set with excellent engineering backing up fine playing and interpretations - get ready for a Waltonian binge!

Agreed - it's a very enjoyable boxed set.
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #350 on: January 27, 2020, 03:18:59 PM »
Agreed - it's a very enjoyable boxed set.

Excellent, Jeffrey. What work should I listen to first from this set?
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #351 on: January 27, 2020, 03:26:26 PM »
I suppose one reason why I love Walton’s music so much is, like Britten, there’s always this sense of the theatrical in his music (another reason why I love Bernstein’s own music as well).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 03:47:28 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Online vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #352 on: January 27, 2020, 03:38:53 PM »
Excellent, Jeffrey. What work should I listen to first from this set?
It's all good John although my highlights would be the Viola Concerto the Hindemith Variations and both symphonies. I prefer the Henry V music as arranged in the Carl Davis CD which you also have as, crucially, it features the opening choral prelude 'The Globe'  which is missing, as far as I recall, in the more familiar version recorded by Litton.

Here's my Amazon UK review of the Carl Davis disc:
If you want a single CD of Waton's film music, in a modern recording, I'd go for this one. The LPO and choir play wonderfully under Carl Davis. Above all, the selection from Henry V (Walton's finest film score) includes 'The Globe' - the wonderfully atmospheric, and in its wartime context, moving introductory sequence. It is usually excluded from the orchestral suites from Henry V and I was delighted to see it included here. Walton's 'Battle in the Air' was the best music featured in 'The Battle of Britain' movie (in fact the only part of Walton's original score included in the film). The other highlight here is the music for 'As You Like It', featuring the wonderfully atmospheric 'Fountain Scene' and 'Waterfall Scene'. Don't miss this - a must for all Walton fans and, indeed, all admirers of film music.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 03:46:31 PM 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 Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #353 on: January 27, 2020, 03:49:30 PM »
It's all good John although my highlights would be the Viola Concerto the Hindemith Variations and both symphonies. I prefer the Henry V music as arranged in the Carl Davis CD which you also have as, crucially, it features the opening choral prelude 'The Globe'  which is missing, as far as I recall, in the more familiar version recorded by Litton.

Here's my Amazon UK review of the Carl Davis disc:
If you want a single CD of Waton's film music, in a modern recording, I'd go for this one. The LPO and choir play wonderfully under Carl Davis. Above all, the selection from Henry V (Walton's finest film score) includes 'The Globe' - the wonderfully atmospheric, and in its wartime context, moving introductory sequence. It is usually excluded from the orchestral suites from Henry V and I was delighted to see it included here. Walton's 'Battle in the Air' was the best music featured in 'The Battle of Britain' movie (in fact the only part of Walton's original score included in the film). The other highlight here is the music for 'As You Like It', featuring the wonderfully atmospheric 'Fountain Scene' and 'Waterfall Scene'. Don't miss this - a must for all Walton fans and, indeed, all admirers of film music.

Great stuff, Jeffrey. I really enjoy that Carl Davis recording. I don’t own the original issue of the Davis recording, but the reissue found in this great set, which is OOP:

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Brewski

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #354 on: January 27, 2020, 04:43:51 PM »
I don't have 5 recordings, but I do like this one. Conductor, orchestra, and chorus are all excellent, but Bryn Terfel seals the deal.



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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #355 on: January 27, 2020, 05:03:47 PM »
I don't have 5 recordings, but I do like this one. Conductor, orchestra, and chorus are all excellent, but Bryn Terfel seals the deal.



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Cool, Brewski. 8) I’ve read good reviews about this recording.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #356 on: January 28, 2020, 10:07:57 AM »
Cool, Brewski. 8) I’ve read good reviews about this recording.

One of the things that certainly adds to the "theatrical" side of this performance is that it was recorded - I'm saying this from a failing memory! - in Winchester Cathedral where the big acoustic really adds to the drama (but rather blurs Henry V!).  I so much prefer Terfel's earlier recordings - not only was the voice in such fine fettle but also its less mannered, more straight forward.  I get a bit tired of every word having a 'colouring'..

Re Henry V - the common suite was "adapted for concert use by Muir Mathieson with the composer's authorisation" [that's a quote from the score] and of course it was this suite that Walton recorded himself with the Philharmonia.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #357 on: January 28, 2020, 10:28:02 AM »
One of the things that certainly adds to the "theatrical" side of this performance is that it was recorded - I'm saying this from a failing memory! - in Winchester Cathedral where the big acoustic really adds to the drama (but rather blurs Henry V!).  I so much prefer Terfel's earlier recordings - not only was the voice in such fine fettle but also its less mannered, more straight forward.  I get a bit tired of every word having a 'colouring'..

Re Henry V - the common suite was "adapted for concert use by Muir Mathieson with the composer's authorisation" [that's a quote from the score] and of course it was this suite that Walton recorded himself with the Philharmonia.

This is very good to know, Roasted Swan. I appreciate the feedback. Looking forward to hearing Litton’s Belshazzar.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #358 on: January 28, 2020, 11:17:50 AM »
This is very good to know, Roasted Swan. I appreciate the feedback. Looking forward to hearing Litton’s Belshazzar.

Another disc which includes the "standard" Henry V suite that I like very much is this one;



James Judd is a very very good conductor - but one who seems to have always skirted around the edge of getting a "big" job with a "big" orchestra.  But his discography is full of really fine versions of all kinds of repertoire.  This disc is a case in point.  Also, Aaron Rosand was one of my all-time favourite players.  Old-School big personality with bags of technique if not infallible in the way modern factory-prodigies often are.  Rosand's style and tone suit the Walton Concerto very well and the Florida PO rise to the challenge as well.  Shame about the silly market place price at the moment.....

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #359 on: January 28, 2020, 01:00:02 PM »
Another disc which includes the "standard" Henry V suite that I like very much is this one;



James Judd is a very very good conductor - but one who seems to have always skirted around the edge of getting a "big" job with a "big" orchestra.  But his discography is full of really fine versions of all kinds of repertoire.  This disc is a case in point.  Also, Aaron Rosand was one of my all-time favourite players.  Old-School big personality with bags of technique if not infallible in the way modern factory-prodigies often are.  Rosand's style and tone suit the Walton Concerto very well and the Florida PO rise to the challenge as well.  Shame about the silly market place price at the moment.....

James Judd is a good conductor, but like you mentioned, hardly one that gets the kind of exposure he deserves. I really like the recording he did of Sculthorpe on Naxos.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy