Walton - Violin Concerto, Partita, Hindemith Variations
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Cat No: CDA67986
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 30th June 2017
WorksPartita for Orchestra
Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
Variations on a Theme by Hindemith
ArtistsAnthony Marwood (violin)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
‘Marwood is a vivacious soloist in the Violin Concerto and particularly compelling in its magnificent Passacaglia, which is expertly paced … we are left in no doubt about the levels of searing commitment’ - BBC Music Magazine (CDA67801: Britten - Violin Concerto, Double Concerto)
‘The whole disc is a credit not only to the conductor but also to the quality of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, which can stand comparison with any rival’ - Gramophone (CDA67794: Walton - Symphonies)
The orchestra are on their mettle, too, in a engaging performance of the 1957 Partita, originally commissioned for the fortieth anniversary of the Cleveland Orchestra, with George Szell conducting the premiere as well as making the first recording. This new recording stands up well to such comparisons, and again it captures the Italianate languor, passion and spirit that infuses the entire score. The duet for oboe and viola that opens the Pastorale siciliana central movement is particularly cherishable, and Brabbins brings out all the vividness of Walton’s colourful scoring. In the outer movements, the pinpoint precision of the BBC SSO’s brass is exactly what this music needs.
Just as fine are the Variations on a theme of Hindemith, commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1963, and serving as homage to the forty-year friendship between Hindemith and Walton. From the lugubriously mysterious opening through a series of brilliantly inventive and contrasting variations, this is one of Walton’s most refined scores, every bit as collectively virtuosic as the Partita, and Brabbins coaxes from his musicians one of the most assured and memorable accounts for many a year, with radiant strings and dazzlingly incisive wind, brass and percussion. The fugal Finale emerges as a tour de force, and the reflective coda has a gorgeous warmth to it.
Rounding off proceedings is a thoroughly uplifting traversal of the 1943 Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, extracted from Walton’s film score for The First of the Few, which traced the development and construction of the first Supermarine Spitfire aircraft prior to the Battle of Britain. The Prelude has just the right degree of Elgarian nobility and expansiveness to it, while the Fugue (which originally accompanied the construction of the prototype) has moments of exquisite delicacy to balance the general bustle. It’s a rousing conclusion to a hugely enjoyable disc. Admirable sound from the City Halls, Candleriggs (Glasgow) and detailed notes from Robert Matthew-Walker complete a splendidly attractive package.
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