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Symphonic Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
This recording by British violinist James Ehnes, moving up a weight class for the Viola Concerto of William Walton, fits into a larger revival of critical fortunes for Walton, who suffered along with Vaughan Williams at the hands of the modernist nomenklatura. It's a fine outing for Ehnes, who brings out several of the qualities that made Walton appealing in the first place. He takes brisk tempos throughout the Viola Concerto, upping the technical challenges to himself but also giving the work an edge it lacks in more languorous interpretations. Sample the finale, which is ebullient fun here, and in which Ehnes doesn't let you hear any of the stress involved. Conductor Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra build on the concerto with two rarely heard (to date) late orchestral works that each relate to the concerto in different ways. The Sonata for String Orchestra of 1971 is an arrangement by Walton and Malcolm Arnold of Walton's String Quartet in A minor, and the delightful Partita for Orchestra of 1957 is a brisk neoclassic work with a lovely slow movement. The BBC Symphony has a characteristic precise and self-effacing quality, and the program is engaging from beginning to end, enhanced by excellent Super Audio sound from Chandos. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 6, 2014 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
This release offers a pair of top-notch William Walton compositions in technically sharp performances adorned by absolutely superb recorded sound that makes the central feature of Walton's orchestration, the transparency of winds and brass even in loud, dense passages, completely apparent. Violinist Tasmin Little turns in an unimpeachable performance in the technically punishing Violin Concerto, composed in 1939 for Jascha Heifetz and heard here in a revised version of 1943. But the album is really the work of conductor Edward Gardner, who has excelled in performances of opera and of large late Romantic and early 20th-century works from other countries. He seems to have drilled the BBC Symphony Orchestra within an inch of its life, and the result shows in the angular outer movements of the Symphony No. 1, where the brass work is crisp indeed. Some might find recordings where the contrast between tension and noble lyricism is more affectingly drawn (André Previn's classic reading comes to mind), or a violin concerto with a more commanding solo presence (the old Zino Francescatti is a favorite), but you're not going to get it all rendered in Chandos Super Audio sound, and the bottom line is that this is a good choice for a basic collection of music by a composer whose star is on the way up. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 31, 2015 | Chandos

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The works on this album come from the later part of William Walton's career, in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, with modernist absolutism in full swing, they were negatively reviewed, but now, with a neo-Romantic language mixed with hints of jazz, at least in the Symphony No. 2, they sound pretty prescient and worthy of revival. They get strong performances here. Rarest of all are the Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten, composed in 1969, and an intriguing example of a tribute by an older composer to a younger one. The work is a short passacaglia-like treatment of the substitute Impromptu movement theme of Britten's Piano Concerto, putting it through changes that transform it from Britten into Walton. The Cello Concerto, the only one of the three works that fits the stereotype of Walton's later work as relaxed and autumnal, receives a warm and engaging performance from Emerson Quartet cellist Paul Watkins. The jazz elements in the Symphony No. 2 are actually deemphasized by conductor Edward Gardner, leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but his rather dry blocks of sound also work well and bring out the many small touches of orchestration in this work. An attractive release that's well worth the time of Walton fans and those of British music in general. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released November 27, 2020 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet
These four works represent all of Sir William Walton’s chamber music involving both violin and piano, as well as being a microcosm of his compositional output between 1918 and 1950. They offer a fascinating glimpse of Walton’s stylistic journey, from the youthful exuberance of the early Piano Quartet and the Toccata to the unconventional but masterful Violin Sonata, and the Two Pieces with their connection to his music for films. Matthew Jones and Annabel Thwaite’s pevious recording of works by Benjamin Britten was summed up as "superb" by BBC Music Magazine. © Naxos
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Symphonic Music - Released October 20, 2017 | PM Classics Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet
Walton’s First Symphony burst onto the musical scene in 1935 and quickly became recognised as a masterpiece. By contrast, his Second Symphony, commissioned by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, struggled to escape the shadow of its older sibling with its first performance 25 years later. Influences of Sibelius and Beethoven can clearly be heard in the First Symphony, but it is Walton’s brilliant use of the orchestra and grasp of form that shines through and marks a remarkable achievement for a composer of 33 years. The second symphony has never had an easy time, in both escaping the shadow of its older sibling, and in overcoming the hostility of the late 1950s and early 60s when avant-garde was in, and this symphony was viewed as out of date. Fortunately it is now recognised as a masterpiece to rank alongside No.1. It is assured, mature and confident, subtle and refined – a composer at the top of his game. (Onyx)
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Quartets - Released March 1, 2011 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released August 5, 2014 | Chandos

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Cinema Music - Released August 1, 1990 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 1992 | Chandos

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Classical - Released June 13, 2011 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 25, 2005 | Warner Classics

William Walton enjoyed a long and fruitful career as a composer, but was rather less well known to the general public as a conductor -- unlike his contemporary Benjamin Britten, who was allowed (and savored the opportunity) to record works by other composers, Walton's recording career was confined to interpretations of his own work, which he generally did superbly. The results, from the mono, pre-magnetic tape era of the 1930s through the mid-'60s, were generally well-received by the public and critics, and his recording activity after 1945 was exclusively for EMI. Strangely, this CD was a long time coming in the digital era, given the fact that the LP edition of these same recordings was among EMI's hundred best-selling catalog items in the United States. But it was worth the wait, assembling as it does the composer's most well-known and well-received film-related work, in versions for the concert hall and the home-playback medium of their time. The first two-thirds of this CD is made up of Walton's music for Laurence Olivier's Shakespearean films Richard III (1956) and Henry V (1944), and the Leslie Howard-directed wartime drama First of the Few (1941) (known in America as Spitfire). The CD opens with his Prelude from Richard III, followed by the suite from the main body of the score (both arranged by Muir Mathieson, who had conducted the music for both movies). The 1963-vintage recordings sound crisp and rich, far more so than they did even on the British EMI LP edition of the 1960s, which was mighty impressive in its time -- these are finely nuanced performances by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the composer's baton, richly evocative not only of the movie for which the score was written but the historical and musical period whence it derived. The Henry V material is no less impressive, though it has always suffered somewhat from the fact that Walton and producer Walter Legge confined their forces exclusively to an orchestra -- a choir for the "Agincourt Song" movement that concludes the suite would have made it perfect. But it's damn close as it is. The "Spitfire Prelude and Fugue" displays exactly the opposite characteristics from the Shakespearean material out of the same sessions -- where Walton approaches the latter somewhat more broadly than he did in the original film versions, for the prelude and fugue he elicits lean playing, presenting the piece with the kind of precision one would more expect from the likes of Toscanini. The last third of the CD is filled out with Walton's 1946-vintage recording of the Henry V score in conjunction with Olivier for a commercial record release, and here he does employ a choir -- the results were satisfying in their time (and far more vivid today, with a good digital transfer), but the compression of the pre-magnetic tape source material does limit the enjoyment that one can derive from hearing this material. The annotation is extremely thorough, and the entire release extremely generous, even if it did take almost 15 years into the digital era for the CD to appear. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1960 | BnF Collection

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Concertos - Released September 1, 1990 | Chandos

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Classical - Released January 22, 2016 | Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released November 1, 1993 | Chandos

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Classical - Released April 1, 1987 | Telarc

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Chamber Music - Released June 1, 1994 | Chandos

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Classical - Released December 21, 1986 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released June 18, 2009 | Past Classics