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  Founder: Len Mullenger

Walton (1902-83) - Popular Song and Tango from 'Facade'

The original Façade, an outrageous cabaret entertainment utterly characteristic of its time, brought the 20-year old Walton fame and notoriety. Walton was a newcomer to the Big City and still a bit green behind the gills, so it comes as no surprise that the driving force behind the “façade” (!) was Edith Sitwell. Considering that he used a mere six instrumentalists (shades of Stravinsky's slightly earlier The Soldier's Tale), the palette of colours elicited by the talented youngster was nothing short of breathtaking. Nevertheless, he went on to produce two concert suites scored for normal orchestral forces, inevitably sacrificing sinful intimacy at the altar of richer resonance. This, in its turn, again earns our admiration, because his orchestral scoring successfully retains a chamber-music transparency and much of the sheer cheekiness of the original. 

The Popular Song is a catchy tap-dance, which in Frederick Ashton's ballet of 1931 was danced by two gangly young men sporting blazers and straw boaters. Nowadays, when we face this music, it will more likely evoke the dear, departed Joseph Cooper and his (far from silent!) “silent keyboard”. And, well, why shouldn’t it?. 

In the Tango-Pasodoble, Walton wittily transforms a certain well-known tune, though tune and style are so incongruous I can't be sure which is being parodied.

© Paul Serotsky
29, Carr Street, Kamo, Whangarei 0101, Northland, New Zealand


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