While this should by no means be the first disc of the music of English composer William Walton one hears -- surely a disc of the magnificent First Symphony has that honor -- this disc will inevitably take its place on any fully representative Walton shelf. The reason is not so much the repertoire. Only the opening Portsmouth Point Overture is well known, while the rest of the works here range from the lesser known to the nearly unknown. The reason is the performances. With the composer himself on the podium, these performances are as close to definitive as makes no difference. Most of the music here is mostly the young Walton at his funniest and friskiest, and these performances are unfailingly witty and delightful. With the first-class playing of either the London Symphony Orchestra or the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the older Walton finds all the zest in Portsmouth Point, the verve in Siesta, the vigor in the Sinfonia Concertante, the energy in Scapino, A Comedy Overture, and the irony in Capriccio Burlesco. Better yet, he finds the childlike wonder in Music for Children and the coloristic marvels in the Suite from The Quest. Superlatively recorded in 1971 by Lyrita, the finest small English label of its time, this disc will charm, edify, and entertain those who already know Walton's better-known symphonies, concertos, operas, and oratorios.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Music for Children, for orchestra|
|The Quest, suite from the ballet for orchestra (arr. by V. Tausky)|
|Sinfonia concertante, for orchestra with piano obbligato|