Symphony No 1
By the time he began working on his First Symphony, William Walton had already established himself as the most exciting young British composer of the day. The work proved to be one of the twentieth century's greatest symphonies. Volcanic sentiments simmer beneath its surface and the music conveys the tensions of the 1930s whilst always remaining consistently timeless in its appeal.
1件中1 - 1件目のレビューを表示
It's clear from listening to the opening movement and the closing that Walton wrote this, in part, as devotion to Jean Sibelius. Indeed, the entire first movement and final pages of the closing mimic the famous closing sequence from the Sibelius Symphony No. 5. Elsewhere, the music alternately reflects the jazz era influences of the 1920s and 1930s, Walton's acumen as a composer of scores for flims and the theater, and tonal postromantic notions still in vogue in opposition to the 12-tone experiment that had taken root elsewhere in Europe.
Colin Davis, a noted interpreter of both Walton and Sibelius, executes the score with some energy although I can imagine this work being more urgently interpreted (Ashkenazy, for one) and, as a result, more dramatic than the resulting recording. The composer proposed a 43-minute performance; Davis does it in 46.
Arranged from concerts during September and December 2005, the SACD recording is excellent. The soundstage has realism, depth and definition, especially the fourth movement conclusion that shows off Walton's extra scoring for timpani and percussion. The London Symphony playing is similarly excellent but sometimes labored, reflecting the conductor's measured approach. While the recording lacks brilliance, it always sounds clean and clear in broadband SACD.
While a satisfactory performance in excellent modern sound -- some people derided the SACD sound; I like its clarity and openness -- there is no sugar-coating this: for $18.98 ($9.99 for "club" members, whomever they are), you get a new recording of an English masterpiece on CD of 46 minutes' duration. Even in the super audio format this is not very good value. I played it in standard stereo in the car; the elocution and depth was not as great but it still sounded good. If money is an issue, you may want to explore this in stereo format where the cost is more in keeping with the content of the issue. Or join the "club".
Compared to Previn, Davis plays down the motor rhythms and snarling raw chords that shocked earlier audiences. Even with some of the edges smoothed, this is aggressive music in the opening movement and finale. In the wrong hands it can sound crude and blatant, not for its modern idiom but in the composer's intentions--is he driving hard just for the sake of driving hard? We've heard a lot fiercer music since then, of course. The LSO plays with the kind of enthusiasm and extra flair one expects in concert. The engineers place us up close, and I'd say overall this new CD beats even Previn's remake on Telarc for natural, detailed sound. The absence of a filler, however, makes for a stingy timing of 45+ min.
Davis hasn't ventured into Walton's music before this to my knowledge, and there are plenty of people who don't like this brash, unsettling work, but if you want to hear a committed, very musical reading in excellent sound, here it is.