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William Walton

March 29, 1902 - March 8, 1983
born in Oldham, England, composed during the Modern period
Occupying an important historical position between his better-known colleagues Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, William Walton is seen by many as the first modern British composer to approach the brilliance and vitality which characterized English music during Handel's day.

Born in northwest England during the first years of the twentieth century, Walton was the son of a choirmaster, and appropriately, served as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford from 1912 to 1918. Studies at the university itself proved unsatisfying, and William left Oxford without a degree in 1920, relying instead upon the patronage of the Sitwell family, who had befriended the young composer. Through the influence of this affluent and well-known family, Walton was able to break into the London music scene, and by 1922 his chamber piece Façade had achieved some popularity with the concert-going public. A performance of his comic overture Portsmouth Point in Zurich in 1926, and Paul Hindemith's championing of his Viola Concerto in 1929 helped introduce Walton music into the European music scene. The famous Belshazzar's Feast for chorus and orchestra soon followed, and the 1930s brought with commissions from well-known musical figures, including Jascha Heifetz, who asked the composer to write him a Violin Concerto in 1939.

Walton spent much of World War II composing music for films, including Next of Kin and The Foreman Went to France. In 1948, he moved to Ischia, a small island off of Naples, and he was knighted in 1951. In 1954, after many years of effort, his grand opera Troilus and Cressida was produced at Covent Garden; unfortunately, the work has not received the attention it deserves. Walton composed prolifically until the end of his life, fulfilling commissions for such notables as George Szell, Gregor Piatigorsky and Mstislav Rostropovich. In 1973, he conducted a fiftieth anniversary performance of Facade. While never again achieving the degree of public and critical acclaim which he enjoyed before the World War II, he was nevertheless able to live comfortably on Ischia, where he died in 1983.

Although he was overshadowed in the latter half of his career by Benjamin Britten, Walton was never the old-fashioned reactionary (a frequent, but unjust, accusation). Much like his contemporaries Poulenc and Prokofiev, Walton was at heart an expressive, lyric composer who refused to subjugate this natural ability to the "modernist" tendencies that the press berated him for not embracing. His music is a sparkling synthesis of old and new, the greatest examples of which can be found in the two Symphonies (1935 and 1960), and the Viola (1929), Violin (1939) and Cello (1956) Concertos. ~ Blair Johnston, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: English Song Series 1

Title: The Winds, For Voice & Piano

1. The Winds, For Voice & Piano: The Winds

Title: Tritons, For Voice & Piano

2. Tritons, For Voice & Piano: Tritons

Title: Beatriz's Song, For Voice And Guitar Or Strings (from Radio Music For "Christopher Columbus")

3. Beatriz's Song, For Voice And Guitar Or Strings (from Radio Music For "Christopher Columbus"): Beatriz's Song - Felicity Lott

Title: Under The Greenwood Tree, For Voice & Piano (from Film Score "As You Like It")

4. Under The Greenwood Tree, For Voice & Piano (from Film Score "As You Like It"): Under The Greenwood Tree

Title: Daphne, For Voice & Piano (from "Façades")

5. Daphne, For Voice & Piano (from "Façades"): Daphne

Title: Through Gilded Trellises, For Voice & Piano (from "Façade")

6. Through Gilded Trellises, For Voice & Piano (from "Façade"): Through Gilden Trellise

Title: Old Sir Faulk, For Voice & Piano (from "Façade")

7. Old Sir Faulk, For Voice & Piano (from "Façade"): Old Sir Faulk

Title: Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra

8. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: Fain Would I Change That Note

9. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: O Stay, Sweet Love

10. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: Lady, When I Behold The Roses

11. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: My Love In Her Attire

12. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: I Gave Her Caked And I Gave Her Ale

13. Anon In Love, Song Cycle For Tenor & Guitar Or Orchestra: To Couple Is A Custom

Title: A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra

14. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: The Lord Mayor's Table

15. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: Glide Gently

16. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: Wapping Old Stairs - Felicity Lott

17. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: Holy Thuhrsday

18. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: The Contrast

19. A Song For The Lord Mayor's Table, Song Cycle For Soprano & Piano Or Orchestra: Rhyme

Title: Work(s)

20. Work(s): Long Steel Grass

21. Work(s): Tango-pasodoble

22. Work(s): Popular Song

x

Track List: Walton: Belshazzar's Feast

Title: Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra

1. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Thus Spake Isaiah

2. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem

3. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Babylon Was A Great City

4. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Praise Ye

5. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Thus In Babylon

6. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: And In That Same Hour

7. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Then Sing Aloud To God

8. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: The Trumpeters And Pipers Are Silent

9. Belshazzar's Feast, For Baritone, Double Chorus & Orchestra: Then Sing Aloud To God (2)

Title: Crown Imperial, Coronation March For Orchestra

10. Crown Imperial, Coronation March For Orchestra: Coronation March, Crown Imperial

Title: Orb And Scepter, Coronation March For Orchestra

11. Orb And Scepter, Coronation March For Orchestra: Orb And Sceptre

x

Track List: Walton: Choral Music

Title: Coronation Te Deum, For Soloists, Chorus, Organ & Orchestra

1. Coronation Te Deum, For Soloists, Chorus, Organ & Orchestra: Extract

Title: A Litany, For Chorus ("Drop, Drop Slow Tears")

2. A Litany, For Chorus ("Drop, Drop Slow Tears"): Walton, A Litany: Drop, Drop Slow Tears

Title: Magnificat And Nunc Dimittis (Chichester Service), For Chorus & Organ

3. Magnificat And Nunc Dimittis (Chichester Service), For Chorus & Organ: Magnificat

4. Magnificat And Nunc Dimittis (Chichester Service), For Chorus & Organ: Nunc Dimittis

Title: Where Does The Uttered Music Go?, For Chorus

5. Where Does The Uttered Music Go?, For Chorus: Walton, Where Does The Uttered Music Go?

Title: Jubilate Deo, For Double Chorus & Organ

6. Jubilate Deo, For Double Chorus & Organ: Jubilate Deo

Title: Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson)

7. Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson): Touch Her Soft Lips And Part (Organ)

Title: Cantico Del Sole, For Chorus

8. Cantico Del Sole, For Chorus: Walton, Cantico Del Sole

Title: Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson)

9. Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson): Passacaglia "Death Of Falstaff" (Organ)

Title: The Twelve, Anthem For Chorus & Organ

10. The Twelve, Anthem For Chorus & Organ: Conclusion

Title: Set Me As A Seal Upon Thine Heart, For Chorus

11. Set Me As A Seal Upon Thine Heart, For Chorus: Set Me As A Seal Upon Thine Heart

Title: Antiphon, For Chorus & Organ

12. Antiphon, For Chorus & Organ: Walton, Antiphon

Title: Missa Brevis, For Double Chorus & Organ

13. Missa Brevis, For Double Chorus & Organ: Kyrie

14. Missa Brevis, For Double Chorus & Organ: Sanctus And Benedictus

15. Missa Brevis, For Double Chorus & Organ: Agnus Dei

16. Missa Brevis, For Double Chorus & Organ: Gloria

x

Track List: Walton: Henry V/Richard III

Title: Richard III

1. Richard III: Prelude

Title: Richard III - A Shakespeare Suite
Title: Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson)
Title: Spitfire Prelude & Fugue
Title: Henry V, Choral Suite (Arr. By M.sargent) And Orchestral Suite (Arr. By C.matthieson)
x

Track List: Walton: Orchestral Works

Title: Portsmouth Point, Overture For Orchestra

1. Portsmouth Point, Overture For Orchestra: Overture (Opening)

Title: Capriccio Burlesco, For Orchestra

2. Capriccio Burlesco, For Orchestra: Capriccio Burlesco

Title: The First Shoot, Ballet

3. The First Shoot, Ballet: I. Giocoso

4. The First Shoot, Ballet: II. Andantino

5. The First Shoot, Ballet: III. A Tempo Di 'Hesitation Waltz'

6. The First Shoot, Ballet: IV. A Tempo, Subito Vivace

7. The First Shoot, Ballet: V. Vivace

Title: Scapino, Comedy Overture For Orchestra

8. Scapino, Comedy Overture For Orchestra: Scapino

Title: Prelude For Orchestra (from "Granada" TV Music)

9. Prelude For Orchestra (from "Granada" TV Music): Prelude For Orchestra 'Granada'

Title: Prologo E Fantasia, For Orchestra

10. Prologo E Fantasia, For Orchestra: Prologo E Fantasia

Title: Johannesburg Festival Overture, For Orchestra

11. Johannesburg Festival Overture, For Orchestra: Johannesburg Festival Overture

Title: Music For Children, For Orchestra

12. Music For Children, For Orchestra: I. Andantino

13. Music For Children, For Orchestra: II. Vivo

14. Music For Children, For Orchestra: III. Adagio

15. Music For Children, For Orchestra: IV. Gaiamente

16. Music For Children, For Orchestra: V. Giocoso Deliberatamente

17. Music For Children, For Orchestra: VI. Allegro

18. Music For Children, For Orchestra: VII. Larghetto

19. Music For Children, For Orchestra: VIII. Leggerio

20. Music For Children, For Orchestra: IX. Largo

21. Music For Children, For Orchestra: X. Alla Marcia

22. Music For Children, For Orchestra: XI. Galop Final

x

Track List: Walton: Piano Quartet / String Quartet

Title: String Quartet No. 2 In A Minor

1. String Quartet No. 2 In A Minor: I. Allegro

2. String Quartet No. 2 In A Minor: II. Presto

3. String Quartet No. 2 In A Minor: III. Lento

4. String Quartet No. 2 In A Minor: IV. Allegro Molto

Title: Piano Quartet In D Minor

5. Piano Quartet In D Minor: Allegramente

6. Piano Quartet In D Minor: Allegro Scherzando

7. Piano Quartet In D Minor: Andante Tranquillo

8. Piano Quartet In D Minor: Allegro Molto

x

Track List: Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto

Title: Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor

1. Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor: I. Allegro Assai

2. Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor: II. Presto Con Malizia

3. Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor: III. Andante Con Malinconia

4. Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor: IV. Brioso Ed Ardentemente

Title: Violin Concerto

5. Violin Concerto: I. Andante Tranquillo

6. Violin Concerto: II. Presto Capriccioso

7. Violin Concerto: III. Vivace

x

Track List: Walton: Symphony No. 1; Orb & Sceptre; Crown Imperial

Title: Symphony No. 1 In B Flat Minor
Title: Crown Imperial, Coronation March For Orchestra

5. Crown Imperial, Coronation March For Orchestra: Coronation March, Crown Imperial

Title: Orb And Scepter, Coronation March For Orchestra

6. Orb And Scepter, Coronation March For Orchestra: Orb And Sceptre

Comments

Report as inappropriate
My Father loved this piece: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
Report as inappropriate
I'm guessing that this tenor is NOT Felicity Lott -- might be Peter Pears, but I can't see the album cover to be sure.

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