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  LSO Live -
  Walton: Symphony No. 1 - Davis
  Walton: Symphony No. 1

London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 15 show all

Reviews: 2

Site review by Polly Nomial May 12, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by Edvin June 9, 2006 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
There are times when I want to write a review saying: Oh how I love this music, and this recording made me love it even more. Fine.

My first Walton one was the Sargent. It came with the approval of the composer for some strange reason. I loved it dearly and it was not until I heard Previn/LSO a few years later that I really grasped the width of the symphony. Many have come since then and I still admire the Thomson and Haitink. The former beacuse of its sheer brutality and the latter for its breadth and vision.

Enter Sir Colin Davis, somewhere in between. This is a great performance in every way, but this symphony is so great that a definitive version will never surface. As in every masterwork there are as many views and opinions as interpretations. My first thought when this sacd arrived was that if a conductor can do Berlioz and Tippett better than anyone else, Walton should be pretty good also. And it is, it is pretty damn good.

This evening I listened to it a fifth time and I turned the volume up really high. The opening is jagged and nervous, full of expectations. The movement proper is very dramatic and at times very sensous. Those Waltonian lines are gorgeous and the lead up to the final pages are so dramatic I felt a sweat coming. No rest for the wicked, a malicious scherzo with horn playing of the highest order. Those trills! Virtuoso playing from the LSO and I almost felt as if I were present at a motor race. Or at least the Barbican.

A melancholy andante, well, I didn´t much care for the tone of the flute at the beginning. Apart from that the movement evolves gracefully and there is so much poetry in this music. When I listened to this I was reminded of why George Szell liked Walton so much, he really was a genuine composer. The ending so Sibelian with those C-sharps from no 4. Sometimes people put forth that the finale is a late addition and that it doesn´t sound as a natural finale. Rubbish I say. This is a grand finale and if Elgar had heard it he would have been proud of the inheratage. Everyone rises to the occasion and delivers a splendid conclusion.

I don´t know if Sir Colin have performed this symphony many times or not and there are minor details that could be improved. They are indeed minor and the total verdict is YES.

The sound is close and incredibly dynamic. I love it to bits because this is what a symphony orchestra sound like in the flesh. Can we now have a Tippett second symphony from these forces please. By the way, no gruntings from Davis. This is a gem.

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Works: 1  

William Walton - Symphony No. 1