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Walton: Viola Concerto, Sonata for Strings, Partita / Gardner, BBC Symphony

Release Date: 04/06/2018 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5210  
Composer:  Sir William Walton
Performer:  James Ehnes
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos: Walton: Symphony 1, Violin Concerto / Little and Walton: Symphony No 2, Cello Concerto / Watkins

In this third volume of Edward Gardner’s Walton series with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, James Ehnes leaves his violin to tackle the taxing soloist role in the Viola Concerto. In a recent Strad interview, Ehnes confesses: ‘This is a piece I have loved since I was a teenager, so it is wonderful that the opportunity has come my way to record it... With Walton’s Viola Concerto,
Read more none of the writing is impossible but a lot of it is close. And in a way that is exactly where you want it to be: on the edge of technical limitations. There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in that.’ This album in surround sound also features two much later works: the 1957 Partita for Orchestra and the Sonata for String Orchestra, adapted in 1971 from the String Quartet in A minor of 1945 – 47. There is a striking contrast between the uncomfortable modernism of the up-and-coming young composer’s Viola Concerto and the relaxed brilliance of the mature Partita. But the Sonata shows Walton late in his life re-engaging as an arranger with his earlier manner, and so with the characteristic vein of restless unease that runs through most of his output.


Ehnes and Gardner take us back to pre-Menuhin tempos, only a fraction slower than William Primrose’s pioneering 1946 recording. There’s a grand sweep to the performance which is wholly engaging in its refusal to wallow. Ehnes’s burnished viola tone is noble and warm. Gardner conducts a lithe performance of the Sonata for string orchestra, and a suitably boisterous Partita to fill out the disc.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Viola by Sir William Walton
Performer:  James Ehnes (Viola)
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929/1961; England 
Sonata for String Orchestra by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971-1972; England 
Partita for Orchestra by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Ehnes & Gardner shine in Walton's music April 29, 2018 By Art Music Lady See All My Reviews "Ehnes’ viola dances and sings, skittering through the music with tremendous verve, stylish legato and a bright tone. Maybe the viola contingent out there would prefer a darker tone, but in this specific piece I certainly don’t. The way he plays it is just fine by me. And once again, the BBC Symphony under Gardner plays extremely well. This is clearly one of the finest discs in Gardner’s Walton series for Chandos. --Lynn Rene Bayley, read my full review at https://artmusiclounge.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/ehnes-gardner-shine-in-walton/" Report Abuse
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