Sir William Walton: A Centenary Celebration

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SOMM Recordings’ Sir William Walton – A Centenary Celebration marks the
100th anniversary of the first performance of Edith Sitwell’s era-defining
“entertainment” Façade, coupled with its composer’s thrilling score for
Laurence Olivier’s iconic 1944 film version of Shakespeare’s Henry V, on the
600th anniversary of the medieval warrior-king’s death.
Baritone and SOMM artist Roderick Williams pairs with mezzo-soprano
Tamsin Dalley for a joyful partnership in Façade, while star of television’s
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Inspector Morse and Lewis, Kevin Whately is the
bracing Narrator for Henry V.
The Stratford-based Orchestra of The Swan is conducted by the Royal
Shakespeare Company’s Head of Music, Bruce O’Neil.
First performed in private for a select audience of London’s glitterati in
January 1922, Walton adorned Sitwell’s “experiments in sound” Façade with
music of originality and vitality to match the absurdist-leaning poetry.
Within a generation, the exhilarating distractions of the Jazz Era had
given way to the bleak horror of the Second World War. With Britain at its
lowest ebb, Laurence Olivier’s morale-boosting 1944 film version of Henry
V was enhanced by one of Walton’s finest, most colourful, dramatic and
emotion-laden scores. It is thrillingly realised here in Edward Watson’s
chamber version for 11 players. Arranging the work for this relatively small
ensemble, Watson creates a remarkable sound brimming with cinematic
impact that has been much admired for its blending of the concert platform
and theatrical stage.
SOMM’s previous Walton releases include his widely admired Symphony
No.1 and Belshazzar’s Feast with Adrian Boult conducting the LPO (SOMMCD
094), and the pairing of Walton with his lifelong friend Constant Lambert,
Façades (SOMMCD 0614), hailed by The Telegraph as “an album that brings
the Roaring Twenties to life”, and MusicWeb International as “an absolute
gem of a disc in every regard”.
Item number SOMMCD 277
Barcode 748871227729
Release date 21/01/2022
Label SOMM Recordings
Media type CD
Number of units 1
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