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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


WALTON, (Sir) William
b Oldham, 29 March 1902
d Ischia, 8 March 1983, aged eighty

At the age of ten he won a place as a chorister at Christ Church, Oxford, but he had little formal musical training. At Oxford he made a number of influential friends, particularly Sacheverell Sitwell, with whose family he lived for the next ten years. This connection immensely broadened his horizons in literature and the visual arts; it brought him also the friendship of Bernard van Dieren, Peter Heseltine and, most important, Constant Lambert, who was perhaps the greatest single influence on his career. The music he wrote to Facade, some experimental poems written by Edith Sitwell and intended to be read as a drawing-room entertainment with musical backing, became Walton's most popular work to date, and established him before the public. In 1948 he married in Buenos Aires, and made his permanent horn e in Ischia, off the coast of Naples. He was knighted in 1951. He travelled to many parts of the world to conduct his own compositions.

1916 (14)

Piano Quartet

1922 (20)

fp (privately)

Facade - An Entertainment, for reciter and chamber ensemble

1923 (21)

String Quartet (withdrawn)

1925 (23)

Portsmouth Point, overture

1926 (24)

Siesta, for orchestra

1927 (25)

Viola Concerto (soloist at fp was Hindemith, qv)

Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra

1931 (29)

fp Belshazzar's Feast, for baritone, chorus and orchestra

1934 (32)

fp Symphony No 1 (first three movements only, performed in full 1935)

Escape Me Never, ballet from the film

1937 (35)

Crown Imperial, coronation march for orchestra

In Honour of the City, for chorus and orchestra

1939 (37)

Violin Concerto

1940 (38)

The Wise Virgins, ballet (arranged from the music of J. S Bach)

1941 (39)

Scapino, overture

1942 (40)

Major Barbara, film score

The First of the Few, film score, including Prelude and Spitfire Fugue

1943 (41)

Henry V, incidental music for the film

The Quest, ballet

1947 (45)

Hamlet, incidental music for the film

String Quartet in A minor

1949 (47)

Violin Sonata

1953 (51)

Orb and Sceptre, coronation march for orchestra

Coronation Te Deum

1954 (52)

Troilus and Cressida, opera

1955 (53)

Richard III, incidental music for the film

Johannesburg Festival Overture

1956 (54)

Cello Concerto

1957 (55)

Partita for orchestra

1960 (58)

Symphony No 2

fp Anon. in Love, six songs for tenor and guitar

1961 (59)

Gloria, for contralto, tenor and bass soli, mixed choir and orchestra

1962 (60)

fp A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table, cycle of six songs for soprano and piano

1963 (61)

Variations on a Theme of Hindemith, for orchestra (theme from Hindemith's Nobilissima Visione)

1965 (63)

The Twelve, for choir and orchestra, or organ

1966 (64)

Missa Brevis

1967 (65)

The Bear, one-act opera for three solo voices and chamber orchestra

1968 (66)

Capriccio-burlesca, for orchestra

1970 (68)

Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten, for orchestra

1972 (70)

Jubilate Deo, for double mixed chorus and organ

Sonata for string orchestra, arranged from the String Quartet

Five Bagatelles for guitar

1974 (72)

Cantico del Sole

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

1982 (80)

Prologo e Fantasia, for orchestra

Passacaglia, for solo cello

Walton has also composed other incidental and film music.

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