For the second straight time (and for his second Astor Place release), pianist Cedar Walton sticks to his own compositions for this recording. What is different from his debut on the label is that, in this case, many of the songs have been around awhile, including his classic, "Boliva," "When Love Is New" and "Mode for Joe." Walton and his trio (bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash) are joined by a five-man horn section (which includes trumpeter Don Sickler), percussionist Ray Mantilla and, on three songs apiece, a featured guest: tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and/or guitarist Mark Whitfield. Everyone plays up to par (Redman, in particular, is in fine form), and overall, this is a solid, modern hard bop date that reaches its potential.
Ida Haendel’s sinewy and athletic reading of the often under-rated Britten combines toughness with a cumulative dramatic impetus which is hard to resist. Berglund and the Bournemouth players respond with a terse and argumentative vigour, suitably balanced between resignation and defiant rhetoric, especially in the closing Passacaglia. The Walton Concerto, also dating from 1938-9, is played with an apposite blend of inscrutable panache, as in the irrepressibly brilliant central movement, and elsewhere, a sensuous, if occasionally over-indulgent languor. Rare lapses in the finale can be safely overlooked, in a performance of eloquence and undisputed stature.
This is an album of modern commercial, radio friendly, finely crafted rock n roll / country tunes. Do not expect wild sounding rockabilly or a pastiche of 50’s rock n roll. Bo and his team have cleverly put together a collection that while it remains steeped in the roots of the rock n roll genre it gathers influence from all of the many and varied elements that make up the 50+ year history of this music. Then they add a dash of modern sounding country, sixties pop, etc stir and shake it all together and produce a sound that is highly listenable with songs that sound fresh and firmly of the now. Kicking off with the strong Hangin’ On, an instantly catchy country rock tune the album then tears into I Like It Like That, a straight out rock n roll number with a catchy sing along car radio chorus and a great guitar sound.
Hyperion has reissued on its midpriced Helios label this fine program of English works for string quartet, recorded in 1994. The composers, born approximately 20 years apart in the order given in the headnote, offer an insight into the evolutionary trends in British music before, throughout, and after the 20th century’s two Great Wars.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Martyn Brabbins gives invigorating and authoritative performances of William Walton’s masterful symphonies. The musicians balance stunning control with breathtaking energy and character. Following the resounding success of Belshazzar’s Feast, Walton spent three years perfecting his dramatic first symphony. The immensely virtuosic work displays an astounding range of colours and emotional volatility, reflecting the turbulence of Walton’s private life. Despite its fraught gestation—the first performance in 1934 by the London Symphony Orchestra was missing the finale—this work met with an ecstatic critical reception and has remained popular ever since.
Few people think of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Walton as composers of chamber music; nevertheless, the small number of works of this classification which they published is highly characteristic, personal and significant.
The Wise Virgins – complete ballet (1940) by William WALTON (1902-1983) after J.S. BACH (1685-1750) arranged by Philip LANE (b.1950) ; Horoscope – complete ballet (1938) by Constant LAMBERT (1905-1951). Both these ballets from a vintage period of the Sadler's Wells ballet company at the beginning of the second world war, have till now appeared on disc only in truncated form as orchestral suites. William Walton's ballet, the Wise Virgins, using movements from Bach cantatas, was quickly dropped in the theatre, with the score of three of the movements lost or destroyed. Philip Lane has now reorchestrated those, using the original Bach scores, in a style near enough to Walton's. Similarly, Constant Lambert's Horoscope, a colourful piece on an astrological theme, here appears for the first time with four extra items.