Walton's greatest works and his greatest interpreters
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 30/10/2012 12:44:14
This is a brand new release by Decca on double CD of the most significant works by Walton at an impressive price.
It is an opportunity for Walton's fans to own his major works on one double album and for people new to his works to have a very good taster of his greatest works for cello, viola, violin performed by some of the best interpreters of his music.
Walton's works on this album span from the late 20s-30s (symphony n 1, violin concerto, viola concerto) and the mid 50s (symphony n 2 and cello concerto).
The Cello Concerto was written between February and October 1956, in Ischia, on a commission from the Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, to whom he dedicated it.
The concerto has been described as subdued, lyrical, bittersweet and introspective. And it is!
Many cellists have recorded the concerto since Piatigorsky including Pierre Fournier, Paul Tortelier, Janos Starker, Ralph Kirshbaum, Yo-Yo Ma, Raphael Wallfisch, Lynn Harrell, Pieter Wispelwey, Paul Watkins but Decca has chosen Julian Lloyd Webber's performance with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin's in the Fields for this album. This was not a casual choice. Julian Lloyd Webber shows a great uderstanding of the complexity and luxuriance of Walton's music and the slightly smaller orchestral resources make the soloist's expressive warmth and passion for British music really stand out.
The Symphonies are presented here by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton.
The Symphony No. 1 in B-flat minor by the English composer William Walton was commissioned by Sir Hamilton Harty, and completed in 1935.
The symphony was the subject of harsh press criticism on account of its seemingly conservative style at a time when the European avant-garde style was in its ascendance. With time, however, it has been recognised as a mature, subtle and superbly crafted work with many refinements of orchestration, a characteristic of this composer.
The Violin Concerto of William Walton was written in 1938-39 and reorchestrated in 1943. It is played here by the great violinist Kyung Wha Chung.
Among the works written by Walton around the same time are the march Crown Imperial and In Honour of the City of London for double chorus and orchestra (both 1937) and the Second Orchestral Suite from Facade (1938). The violin concertos of Samuel Barber, Ernest Bloch, Benjamin Britten, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Paul Hindemith, and Walter Piston are contemporary, and Berg's, Schoenberg's, Sessions's, Bartok's second, and Prokofiev's second violin concertos were completed within the three years preceding the start of Walton's composition.
The Viola Concerto by William Walton was written in 1929 for the violist Lionel Tertis at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Beecham. The concerto carries the dedication "To Christabel" (Christabel McLaren, Lady Aberconway).
The concerto was modelled on Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto, which Walton admired.
The orchestration of the concerto was revised in 1961 by Walton
Walton did not withdraw the earlier version, but did express a preference for the revised orchestration. Consequently, it is this version that is typically performed.
Numerous other recordings have been made of the piece, by such violists as Yuri Bashmet, Nobuko Imai, Paul Neubauer and William Primrose. Many soloists better known for their violin playing have also recorded the concerto, including Nigel Kennedy, Maxim Vengerov, and Yehudi Menuhin.
On this Decca album, the concerto is played by the great violist Paul Neubauer.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: miki1975 on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.