Walton & Lambert - Facades | Somm SOMMCD0614

Walton & Lambert - Facades


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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD0614

Barcode: 0748871061422

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 1st May 2020



SOMM Recordings explores one of the most significant partnerships in 20th-century British music with Façades, a disc of piano-accompanied songs and music for four-hand piano by William Walton and Constant Lambert. The two shared a friendship of nearly 30 years until Lambert’s death in 1951, aged 45.

Façades takes its title from Walton’s era-defining “entertainment”, heard here in arrangements for four-hand piano of its two orchestral Suites by Lambert – regarded by Walton as the definitive reciter of Edith Sitwell’s nonsense verses.

Lambert’s Trois pièces nègres pour les touches blanches for piano duet are a kaleidoscopic, jazz-accented tour de force exploration of the piano’s white keys. Described by the composer as an “idyll”, Walton’s Siesta (also for two-player piano) is, says Ronald Woodley in his entertaining and informative booklet notes, “infused with the clear light and open charm of Italy”.

The eight song settings by Lambert of poems by the eighth-century Chinese poet Li Po are “exquisitely crafted, restrained and often enigmatic miniatures [marked by an] elusive and allusive musical style”.

Completing the recital, a selection of songs by Walton range from Tudor pastiche (Under the Greenwood Tree) to the atonal-inflected Tritons and lyrically captivating Beatriz’s Song.

Making their SOMM debuts are tenor James Geer and his accompanist in the songs, pianist Ronald Woodley. The latter is joined at the keyboard in the four-hand piano arrangements by Andrew West whose previous SOMM recordings include three acclaimed volumes of Parry’s English Lyrics (SOMMCD 257, 270 and 272).

SOMM has also released two volumes of Constant Lambert conducting: a compendium of his last recordings including Walton’s Façade Suites (SOMMCD023) and ballet music by Tchaikovsky, Meyerbeer and Rossini (SOMMCD080). SOMM’s Walton discography includes Sir Adrian Boult conducting the First Symphony and Belshazzar’s Feast (SOMMCD094).

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