Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast, Symphony No 1

London Symphony Orchestra

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Belshazzar’s Feast originated in 1929 with a BBC commission for a small-scale choral work. Walton accepted, and turned to Osbert Sitwell for a libretto, but found that his material quickly outgrew his original conception. We should not overlook the essential part played by Osbert Sitwell in the success of Belshazzar, for in working the Biblical words into a compact and vivid libretto, he removed it from the world of extended and wordy Victorian settings of the same story and encapsulated the dramatic images of the story in a form that allowed Walton’s emergent genius a canvas on which it could work. Indeed Walton’s tight control of his material is underlined by his remark that he regarded the work less as an oratorio than a three-movement choral symphony.

Tracklist

1.
"Belshazzar's Feast: i. ""Thus spake Isaiah"""
05:25
2.
"Belshazzar's Feast - ii. A tempo - ""If I forget thee"""
02:28
3.
"Belshazzar's Feast - iii. ""By the waters of Babylon"""
02:56
4.
"Belshazzar's Feast - iv. ""Babylon was a great city"""
04:03
5.
"Belshazzar's Feast - v. ""Praise ye the god of Gold!"""
05:01
6.
"Belshazzar's Feast - vi. Allegro molto - ""Thus in Babylon"""
02:05
7.
"Belshazzar's Feast - vii. ""Thou, O King, art King of Kings"""
01:06
8.
"Belshazzar's Feast - viii. ""And in that same hour"""
06:07
9.
"Belshazzar's Feast - ix. ""The trumpeters and pipers"""
01:03
10.
"Belshazzar's Feast - x. Allegro - ""Then sing aloud to God our strength"""
03:59
11.
Symphony No 1 - Allegro assai
14:45
12.
Symphony No 1 - Scherzo: Presto, con malizia
06:40
13.
Symphony No 1 - Andante con malinconia
11:40
14.
Symphony No 1 - Maestoso - Brioso ed ardentemente - Vivacissimo - Maestoso
12:51

Total time: 01:20:09

Additional information

Label

SKU

LSO0681

Qualities

, ,

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Artists

Composers

Genres

,

Conductors

Original Recording Format

Producer

James Mallinson

Recording Engineer

Neil Hutchinson (Classics Sound)

Recording location

Barbican, London England

Recording Software

Merging

Recording Type & Bit Rate

DSD64

Release Date January 15, 2016

Press reviews

AllMusic.com 4 out of 5

This release from the London Symphony Orchestra’s own LSO Live label has several big things going for it and may make a good choice for those wanting a single disc of William Walton’s orchestral music in their libraries on their hard drives. The DSD live sound is top-notch, with the massive percussion batteries of the oratorio coming through.

Most important of all, each work is consistent, technically clean, nicely shaped, and entirely satisfying, with good articulation by the London Symphony Chorus in Belshazzar’s Feast (texts are also included in the booklet). The Symphony No. 1 has a remarkable sense of presence and momentum in its slow movement.

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