William Walton

March 22nd

Proceeding down-river yesterday, I just happened to catch a performance of Walton’s 1st Symphony on Afternoon Performance on Radio 3. What a great piece that is! It was a massive favourite of mine in my teens – I remembering boring everyone to death in a ‘general studies’ class at school by playing the whole of it on record; I remember Mr. Price, the Latin master, came in from the room next door to complain about the noise! Walton was such an original voice – we’ve got so used to the sound of his music we hardly notice its originality any more; hearing the piece unexpectedly and in unusual circumstances, pounding down-river, like that brought back something of the freshness of it when I first discovered the work all those years ago.

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3 Responses to William Walton

  1. When I was a teenager Waltom was like a God to me. I went up to the offices of OUP to buy his scores in the vague hope that he might come out of the shop as I went in _ a vain hope, of course, as he lived on Ischia! I watched his las appearances on TV – I remember one where Russel Harty , of all people , got him together with Gracie Fields, who lived on Capri… And I bought practically the first tickets on sale to his eightieth birthday concert at the RFH.

    I still find his music incredibly exciting and his gift for melody unsurpassed. Those gorgeous chains of suspensions in the second subject of th Violin Concerto, those driving rythms in the first movement of the Symphony no 1. above all those bitter-sweet major-minor touches, so typically English (false relations are a national characteristic!) and so melancholy.

    His wonderful but unknown String Quartet remains my favourite of his works. Another highly valued score is his ludcrously under-rated Second Symphony.

    Walton was a giant, His music will survive through its sheer force of personality and its crafted perfection.

  2. When I was a teenager Walton was like a God to me. I went up to the offices of OUP to buy his scores in the vague hope that he might come out of the shop as I went in _ a vain hope, of course, as he lived on Ischia! I watched his las appearances on TV – I remember one where Russel Harty , of all people , got him together with Gracie Fields, who lived on Capri… And I bought practically the first tickets on sale to his eightieth birthday concert at the RFH.

    I still find his music incredibly exciting and his gift for melody unsurpassed. Those gorgeous chains of suspensions in the second subject of th Violin Concerto, those driving rythms in the first movement of the Symphony no 1. above all those bitter-sweet major-minor touches, so typically English (false relations are a national characteristic!) and so melancholy.

    His wonderful but unknown String Quartet remains my favourite of his works. Another highly valued score is his ludcrously under-rated Second Symphony.

    Walton was a giant, His music will survive through its sheer force of personality and its crafted perfection.

  3. lahgbr says:

    Glad to hear of somebody else who rates Walton highly. And I very much agree about the 2nd Symphony – I was quite obsessed with the George Szell recording of that in my teens, and studied the score incessantly. (Incidentally, I’m also rather fond of Gracie Fields!)

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