Author Topic: Sir William Walton  (Read 61209 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #560 on: July 20, 2020, 09:46:52 AM »
This nice boxed set restored Sargent's recording of Symphony No.1 after many years of absence. If I say so myself, and at the risk of seeming more of a big head that usual, it was partly due to me. I pestered my nice contact at EMI to reissue the Sargent and also suggested some other music for the boxed set, including Fremaux's great disc of the marches, Gloria, Te Deum etc and the Nigel Kennedy Violin and Viola concertos. He even very kindly gave me a credit in the booklet. The only release by a major company that I have had anything to do with:


That’s pretty interesting, Jeffrey. I believe this is the set I own or it may be the Sargent Icons set, which I think is more likely as I had bought that EMI Collector’s Edition when it was released. Looking at your example, I may have to pester BIS, CPO, Naxos or some other enterprising label into getting them to record Chávez’s symphonies, which are in dire need of a modern update. If I could get some kind of petition together and signed, a Chávez symphony cycle could be underway, but I’m not holding my breath. :)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #561 on: July 20, 2020, 10:10:14 AM »
That’s pretty interesting, Jeffrey. I believe this is the set I own or it may be the Sargent Icons set, which I think is more likely as I had bought that EMI Collector’s Edition when it was released. Looking at your example, I may have to pester BIS, CPO, Naxos or some other enterprising label into getting them to record Chávez’s symphonies, which are in dire need of a modern update. If I could get some kind of petition together and signed, a Chávez symphony cycle could be underway, but I’m not holding my breath. :)
Thank you my friend. Your Chavez idea sounds like a great plan and you should pursue it. I'm currently enjoying, more than ever before, the reduced orchestra version of Henry V with John Nettles. His narration, compared with Oliver, Plummer and Sheen is understated but more intimate and more like being in an actual performance. Also, the CD includes our much admired 'As You Like It':
"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 #562 on: July 20, 2020, 10:47:57 AM »
Thank you my friend. Your Chavez idea sounds like a great plan and you should pursue it. I'm currently enjoying, more than ever before, the reduced orchestra version of Henry V with John Nettles. His narration, compared with Oliver, Plummer and Sheen is understated but more intimate and more like being in an actual performance. Also, the CD includes our much admired 'As You Like It':

 8)
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Offline Brian

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #563 on: July 20, 2020, 11:22:50 AM »
Personally I do not conceive of the opening oboe theme as fragile.  Instead I think the whole movement as one enormous arc of driven certainty starting from quiet determination through to final exultant resolution.

Agreed - I don't think of the opening oboe theme as fragile or vulnerable. In fact I don't really think of it as having intrinsic emotional content at its initial statement - I think the motoric violin accompaniment and the cello motif, when added on, create the frenetic energy that drive the whole movement as those three ideas tug at each other and fight for domination.

Listened to Karabits/Bournemouth this morning. Only real letdown bit was right at the very end of the scherzo, where there could be a bit more whooping savagery (as in Previn/LSO). Extremely good finale and especially the fugue section; very clear sound too. All around, a winner.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #564 on: July 20, 2020, 09:58:45 PM »
Do you mean sort of being ominous, prophetic, and/or ghostly? I will check the performance later. I am listening to the Judd disc every day and I love it.
I think that in the Boult performance (Pye LP) which I first heard, as my older brother had the LP, it sounded very fragile and vulnerable - just a personal reaction and one that has stayed with me.
"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 #565 on: July 20, 2020, 10:05:54 PM »
Agreed - I don't think of the opening oboe theme as fragile or vulnerable. In fact I don't really think of it as having intrinsic emotional content at its initial statement - I think the motoric violin accompaniment and the cello motif, when added on, create the frenetic energy that drive the whole movement as those three ideas tug at each other and fight for domination.

Listened to Karabits/Bournemouth this morning. Only real letdown bit was right at the very end of the scherzo, where there could be a bit more whooping savagery (as in Previn/LSO). Extremely good finale and especially the fugue section; very clear sound too. All around, a winner.

The points made by you and Roasted Swan about the oboe at the start are, of course, entirely valid. I'm not saying that the oboe theme has to be played a particular way but just that it means much more to me if it sounds more tentative and hesitant, but that is entirely my own response. The Boult and Previn recordings are IMO quite different in that respect. To me that oboe, in Boult's recording, conveys a sense of sadness and vulnerability which I find very moving and which, again IMO, is missing from Previn's LSO recording.  That is such a great symphony that different recordings bring out different qualities.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 10:08:12 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 Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #566 on: July 21, 2020, 02:52:54 AM »
I think that in the Boult performance (Pye LP) which I first heard, as my older brother had the LP, it sounded very fragile and vulnerable - just a personal reaction and one that has stayed with me.

Thank you, Jeffrey. I think I understand your description. “That” oboe in the Boult is arresting and unforgettable (like the jacket art!). Was it in the 60s? I believe the stereo systems were expensive at that time. A record player $1000, a combo $2000 minimum in todays value? Maybe more.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #567 on: July 21, 2020, 03:04:14 AM »
Thank you, Jeffrey. I think I understand your description. “That” oboe in the Boult is arresting and unforgettable (like the jacket art!). Was it in the 60s? I believe the stereo systems were expensive at that time. A record player $1000, a combo $2000 minimum in todays value? Maybe more.
The recording is from 1957. I guess that my brother must have got the LP in the 1960s and I probably became interested in it in the very early 1970s. Our record players were not that expensive. The maintenance manager at the block of flats (apartments) where I grew up had a connection with an audio hi-fi company and we obtained our stereo systems comparatively inexpensively.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2020, 08:24:28 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 Brian

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #568 on: July 21, 2020, 07:15:48 AM »
The points made by you and Roasted Swan about the oboe at the start are, of course, entirely valid. I'm not saying that the oboe theme has to be played a particular way but just that it means much more to me if it sounds more tentative and hesitant, but that is entirely my own response. The Boult and Previn recordings are IMO quite different in that respect. To me that oboe, in Boult's recording, conveys a sense of sadness and vulnerability which I find very moving and which, again IMO, is missing from Previn's LSO recording.  That is such a great symphony that different recordings bring out different qualities.
Oh yeah - part of the definition of great art is that it can withstand a variety of interpretation and response, and be meaningful through all of them.  :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #569 on: July 23, 2020, 02:24:49 AM »
Listening to this today. One of my favourite Walton CDs, especially for Laurence Olivier narrating Henry V.
"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 Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #570 on: July 23, 2020, 03:58:27 AM »
Listening to this today. One of my favourite Walton CDs, especially for Laurence Olivier narrating Henry V.


Great album. Although the Olivier Henry V is in the 12cd box, I bought the album for Richard III and Spitfire. In the EMI box, the latter are the versions conducted by Groves. While the Groves recording are fine, the recording of Walton/Philharmonia is colorful and lively.
I am listening the famous Szell album this week. Wonderful. I read that Partita was composed for Szell.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #571 on: July 23, 2020, 04:02:13 AM »
Here is a comparative review of some famous recordings of Symphony No.1:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/jun99/walton.htm
His comment (although relating to the Haitink recording) that the oboe solo 'has a sense of resignation and desolation rather than brilliance' sums up, to me, the difference between, on the one hand Boult and Sargent, and on the other hand Previn (LSO) and explains why I prefer the former recordings to the latter recording.

Not that I intend to go on and on and on about it.  8)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 04:04:40 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 #572 on: July 23, 2020, 04:08:55 AM »
Great album. Although the Olivier Henry V is in the 12cd box, I bought the album for Richard III and Spitfire. In the EMI box, the latter are the versions conducted by Groves. While the Groves recording are fine, the recording of Walton/Philharmonia is colorful and lively.
I am listening the famous Szell album this week. Wonderful. I read that Partita was composed for Szell.
Best recording of both works DBK - another Walton classic. On LP Olivier's Henry V recording was backed with Olivier reciting Hamlet. As far as I know the Hamlet never was issued on CD. Apparently the CD featuring Olivier doing Henry V contains more music than the LP as there was too much for one LP side. I'll find the LP cover in a moment.

Here it is. As far as I'm aware the Hamlet has never appeared on CD:
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 04:11:15 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 Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #573 on: July 23, 2020, 04:13:43 AM »
Best recording of both works DBK - another Walton classic. On LP Olivier's Henry V recording was backed with Olivier reciting Hamlet. As far as I know the Hamlet never was issued on CD. Apparently the CD featuring Olivier doing Henry V contains more music than the LP as there was too much for one LP side. I'll find the LP cover in a moment.

Here it is. As far as I'm aware the Hamlet has never appeared on CD:


On Amazon, a few people complained about the disc for not having the Hamlet recording in question. Thomson’s Richard III are very good too, I think. Thomson recorded Palmer’s Hamlet as well.

Magnificent jacket art!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #574 on: July 23, 2020, 04:17:12 AM »
On Amazon, a few people complained about the disc for not having the Hamlet recording in question. Thomson’s Richard III are very good too, I think. Thomson recorded Palmer’s Hamlet as well.

Magnificent jacket art!
True. Yes, Thomson recorded Hamlet but I would much prefer Olivier than the aged Gielgud in the role.
"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 #575 on: July 23, 2020, 05:41:56 AM »
True. Yes, Thomson recorded Hamlet but I would much prefer Olivier than the aged Gielgud in the role.

The Chandos versions of Richard III & Hamlet were conducted - as with the Henry V and BoB etc - by Marriner.....

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #576 on: July 23, 2020, 05:46:32 AM »
The Chandos versions of Richard III & Hamlet were conducted - as with the Henry V and BoB etc - by Marriner.....

Sounds right. I got mixed up!

Thank you for the correction  :) :)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 05:48:16 AM by Dry Brett Kavanaugh »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #577 on: July 23, 2020, 06:58:35 AM »
The Chandos versions of Richard III & Hamlet were conducted - as with the Henry V and BoB etc - by Marriner.....
Yes, my mistake - sorry.
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #578 on: July 23, 2020, 07:07:56 PM »
I’d say the only concerto I have trouble with is the Cello Concerto, but even now, I’m beginning to understand more than I have in the past. It’s kind of a gnarly sounding work.

The Cello Concerto gnarly? That lush, mysterious first movement is anything but "gnarly" to my ears. ;) It's one of my favorite concerti for the instrument and my admiration for it has only grown since playing in the orchestra for a performance of it earlier this year (I hope to learn the solo part soon). Have you heard Paul Watkins' superb recording (with the BBCSO under Gardner) on Chandos, John?
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Re: Sir William Walton
« Reply #579 on: July 23, 2020, 07:12:46 PM »
The Cello Concerto gnarly? That lush, mysterious first movement is anything but "gnarly" to my ears. ;) It's one of my favorite concerti for the instrument and my admiration for it has only grown since playing in the orchestra for a performance of it earlier this year (I hope to learn the solo part soon). Have you heard Paul Watkins' superb recording (with the BBCSO under Gardner) on Chandos, John?

I’ve got the Watkins/Gardner recording somewhere, but, yes, I do own it, but my objection is the work itself not the performances I’ve heard, which have all been quite good. I was just listening to the Isserlis/Järvi performance of this concerto not too long ago.
"I believe that Strauss will remain one of the characteristic and outstanding figures in musical history. Works like Salome, Elektra and Intermezzo, and others will not perish.” - Arnold Schoenberg on Richard Strauss