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01Bright Young Thing2010020120120206Donald Macleod on how Walton became known as the 1920s' most precocious British composer.
William Walton is perhaps best defined by a series of paradoxes: the pillar of the British Musical Establishment who lived in voluntary exile; the king of the grand, filmic gesture who harboured deep insecurity; the socialite and ladies' man who often preferred to be alone. Walton hid himself behind an acerbic wit- a statement which has also been made about his writing. Donald Macleod follows him through the distinct eras of his life and explores the many sides to the man and his music.
Snatched by the Sitwells from what they saw as an ignominious future as a schoolteacher in Oldham, William Walton became known in London as the most precocious British composer of the 1920's. Donald Macleod delves into the curious world with which Walton became involved.
PROMO NOTE
DESCRIPTION
Façade
Reciters: Peter Pears & Edith Sitwell
English Opera Group Ensemble
Conductor: Anthony Collins
ALTO ALC 1026
The Winds
Felicity Lott: Soprano
Graham Johnson: Piano
COLLINS 14932 TRACK 1
Siesta
English Northern Sinfonia
Conductor: David Lloyd-Jones
NAXOS 8.555868 Track 8
Portsmouth Point
London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andre Previn
EMI 0777 7 64723 2 4 Track 11.
01Luck And The London Set20150803 William Walton's journey from modest roots to being at the heart of the 1920s London set.
Donald Macleod looks at William Walton's modest roots and how his talent and some opportune meetings saw him placed right at the heart of the social scene of 1920s London.
Born in Oldham, when the town was the biggest spinning centre in the world, it was William Walton's vocal talents that offered him the opportunity to leave. His chance was almost blown by his father who went on a pub crawl the night before the potentially life changing audition.
Whilst studying music at Oxford, Walton had the fortune to meet a certain Sacheverell Sitwell. It was the start of a long friendship with famously flamboyant and eccentric Sitwell clan; Sacherverell and his siblings brought Walton into their social circle and introduced him to the stars of the London set. The young composer threw himself into this world and enjoyed the attention of various women, not always happily. Lauded by the critics in his mid-twenties after the premiere of Façade, William Walton later composed a stunning Viola Concerto that placed him as the leading composer of the day.




Walton: Façade - an entertainment (Fanfare - hornpipe)
Peter Pears, vocalist
Anthony Collins, conductor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Walton: Piano Quartet 4th mvt, Allegro molto
Maggini String Quartet
Peter Donohoe, piano
Walton: Façade - an entertainment (excerpts)
Dame Edith Sitwell, vocalist
Walton: Portsmouth Point Overture
Bryden Thomson, conductor
Walton: Viola Concerto, 1st mvt, Andante comodo
Nigel Kennedy, viola
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
André Previn, conductor
Producer: Chris Howells.
01Luck And The London Set20150803  
02Happy Prince2010020220120207Donald Macleod discovers how Walton became the pre-eminent British composer of the 1930s.
Once the slightly risque enfant terrible of the roaring 20's, Walton established himself as the pre-eminent British composer of the 1930's, garnering critical accaim and popular recognition. Donald Macleod plays some of the music which made his name.
Once the slightly risque enfant terrible of the roaring 20's, Walton established himself as the pre-eminent British composer of the 1930's, garnering critical acclaim and popular recognition.
Donald Macleod plays some of the music which made his name.
Viola Concerto: First Movement- Andante comodo
Viola: Nigel Kennedy
Conductor: Andre Previn
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
EMI CDC 7 49628 2 Track 1
Belshazzar's Feast
Thus spake Isaiah
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem
By the waters of Babylon
Baritone: John Shirley-Quirk
London Symphony Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
EMI 0777 7 64723 2 4 Tracks 1-3
Escape Me Never
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Bernard Herrmann
LONDON 448 954-2 Track 10
Symphony No.
1
Third movement- Andante con malinconia
Fourth Movement- Maestoso- Brioso ed ardentemente
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Bryden Thomson
CHANDOS CHAN 8862.
02His Crowning Decade20150804 Walton's greatest period: capped by a commission for the coronation of King George VI.
Donald Macleod looks at possibly William Walton's most successful period - a decade capped by a commission to compose for the coronation ceremony of King George VI.
By the end of the 1920s Walton had become the talk of London's music world, mixing easily with the city's cultural elite. After a variety of strange liaisons, Walton started to display a special fascination for high-born women. Progress on his new symphony was stalling, as was his latest relationship with a German baroness. By the time he had reached the final movement, a new girlfriend was on the scene and his music became much brighter and more festive.
The 1930s saw Walton producing choral works, orchestral pieces and film music of the very highest quality. He was at the height of his powers, and recognised as Britain's pre-eminent composer.




 
02His Crowning Decade20150804  
03Music For The Masses20150805 Donald Macleod explores Walton's war years.
As wartime loomed, in the summer of 1939, Walton composed what was to be his last work of significance until after the war. He described his first Violin Concerto as a declaration of love for his partner. Then, at the age 40, William Walton was conscripted. After a period of driving ambulances, rather badly it seems, he was exempted from military service so he could write music for propaganda films for the Ministry of Information.
One of his most popular works, the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, was composed for the film, The First of the Few, about the story of Spitfire designer, RJ Mitchell. The film's popularity saw Walton being asked to provide music for a screen version of Shakespeare's Henry V starring Laurence Olivier, one of the most successful films in the history of British cinema. Olivier said, "The music has more guts, more attack and more venom than one would have thought was hidden in Walton's personality." The collaboration saw Walton and Olivier become life-long friends.
03Wartime Favourite2010020320120208Donald Macleod how Walton's career took a new turn in the wartime era.
Walton's career took a new turn in the wartime era: his music was behind some of the greatest patriotic films ever made.
Donald Macleod looks at the composer's increasing national importance- and official recognition.
Went the day Well" Opening sequence from the film
Spitfire Prelude
Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Sir William Walton
EMI 7243 5 65007 2 3 Track 13
Christopher Columbus: A Musical Journey
Scenes 8-12
Speaker (Christopher Columbus): Julian Glover
Speaker (Ironic Spirit/Herald): Jamie Glover
Speaker (Sailor/Voice): Philip Lloyd Holtam
Soprano (Isabella): Caroline Carragher
Mezzo (Beatriz): Jean Rigby
Tenor: Tom Randle
Baritone: Roderick Williams
Guitar: Craig Ogden
BBC National Chorus of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Conductor: Richard Hickox
CHANDOS CHSA 5034 Tracks 22-32
Henry V- Scenes from the film
Prologue, Once more unto the breach, Agincourt, Epilogue
Speaker: Sir Laurence Olivier
EMI 7243 5 65007 2 3 Tracks 17,18, 24-28
Orb and Sceptre
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Adrian Boult
EMI 7243 5 65584 2 7 Track 13."
Walton's career took a new turn in the wartime era: his music was behind some of the greatest patriotic films ever made. Donald Macleod looks at the composer's increasing national importance- and official recognition.
04A Post-war Fight20150806 How Walton struggled to prove his place as Britain's pre-eminent composer post-WWII.
Donald Macleod explores how Walton struggled to prove his place as Britain's pre-eminent composer, as new rivals came to the fore.
The emergence of Benjamin Britten, whose dazzling successes culminated in 1945 with the opera Peter Grimes, saw Walton under pressure to prove that he hadn't fallen out of fashion. There was a suspicion that Walton's work during the war writing propaganda music for the Ministry of Information had dulled his powers. Walton started on a his first stage work reasoning that "I thought it was not a good thing for British opera to have only one opera by one composer".
As he fought to restore his reputation, Walton was also suffering great personal grief; the love of his life was terminally ill and her death would haunt him for the rest of his days.
04Ischian Labourer2010020420120209Donald Macleod explores Walton's most difficult years as a composer.
Critical failure was something Walton had long foreseen: after the war came his most difficult years as a composer, although this was tempered by his blissful self-imposed exile, with his new wife, on the Italian island of Ischia.
Troilus and Cressida
Act 2 Sc 1(end of) and 2
Cressida: Judith Howarth
Troilus: Arthur Davies
English Northern Philharmonia
Conductor: Richard Hickox
CHANDOS CHAN 9370/1 Tracks 17-19
Cello Concerto
Cello: Tim Hugh
Conductor: Paul Daniel
NAXOS 8.554325 Tracks 4-6
Symphony No. 2
Last Movement: Passacaglia: Tema-Risoluto
NAXOS 8.553402 Track 7.
05Reputation Restored?20150807 Donald Macleod looks at William Walton's later years, a period that became a time of ease and prosperity for him.
Walton's reputation may have fallen in Britain, but he was still respected in the USA and enjoyed regular commissions from orchestras in New York, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago.
During the 1960s, Walton and his wife Susana built a stunning place of their own on the Mediterranean island of Ischia. In her words: "...it was now time to let the music speak for itself...". But still the British critics hammered his work. Suspicious of his jet-setting, expatriate life they could not bring themselves to appreciate his compositions as much as they had twenty years earlier. Not only did Walton clash with classical music journalists he also fell out with the BBC.
Eventually Walton's work was to become appreciated again. His achievements were recognised with gala concerts in London arranged for his 75th birthday and then his 80th, a year before he died in 1983.
05 LASTNational Treasure2010020520120210Donald Macleod surveys Walton's legacy and plays music from his final years.
In his later years, Walton was seen as a pillar of the musical establishment- despite living in Italy- although he continued to think of himself as only a partial success. Donald Macleod surveys his legacy and plays music from the composer's final years.
In his later years, Walton was seen as a pillar of the musical establishment- despite living in Italy- although he continued to think of himself as only a partial success.
Donald Macleod surveys his legacy and plays music from the composer's final years.
A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table
Soprano: Felicity Lott
Piano: Graham Johnson
COLLINS 14932 Track 14
Missa Brevis
Kyrie
Sanctus and Benedictus
Agnus Dei
Gloria
Choir of St.
John's College, Cambridge
Organ: Christopher Whitton
Conductor: Christopher Robinson
NAXOS 8.555793 Tracks 13-16
Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten
London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andre Previn
EMI 0777 7 64723 2 4 Track 13
MUSIC: Spitfire Music- Battle in the Air
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Carl Davis
EMI CDC 7 47944 2 Track 5
Five Bagatelles for Guitar
5.
Con slancio
Guitar: Tom Kerstens
EMI 7243 5 55404 2 3 Track 11
Passacaglia for Solo Cello
Paul Watkins
Hyperion CDA67340 Track 12
March for A History of the English Speaking Peoples
EMI CDC 7 47944 2 Track 15.

Duration

  • 01 Hours

Genre

  • Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: p02dzcg2 / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: p02dzcg2 / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: p02dzcg2 / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: p02dzcg2 / Genre: Classical, Music / Genre: p02dzcg2

Genome: [r4 bd=19900806] contributors

  • Stories By: Richmal Crompton
  • Read By: Martin Jarvis.
  • Producer: Pete Atkin