George Walker: Sinfonia No. 5 “Visions” [DSD Single]

Gianandrea Noseda, National Symphony Orchestra


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Original Recording Format: DXD
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Sinfonia No. 5 “Visions” is a new DSD Single from Gianandrea Noseda conducting the National Symphony Orchestra. This is a DSD Exclusive, Not Available on SACD release at NativeDSD.Com

The DSD Single is the last of in a series of George Walker’s sinfonias in DSD.  The music is an unrelentingly modernist work from the pen of the 94-year-old composer who seemed to become ever more radical as he grew older. On June 27, 2015, a 21-year-old white supremacist shot nine African American members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Walker, who had visited Charleston shortly before, was profoundly shaken by the news of the massacre, and decided to make his latest orchestral composition into a protest against violence.  The work became more than that, however. According to Walker’s original concept, the music was supposed to be accompanied by a video of Charleston, created by the composer’s friend, photographer Frank Schramm, and by a series of poetic readings, in a multimedia presentation. However, the piece can also be performed as a purely orchestral composition.

After completing the work, Walker arranged for a studio recording with British conductor Ian Hobson and the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra in Poland. The concert premiere was given posthumously by Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony in April 2019. “Visions” is in a single movement and runs about 16 minutes in performance.

At the beginning of the score, Walker wrote the words “in memoriam..” In the words of composer Andrew Stiefel, “From the opening flourish in the orchestra, the music is agitated, restless, switching from idea to idea… through tevtures with outbursts of percussion declaratively punctuating each phrase.” Nervous scales, strong accents, and violent harmonic clashes express the tragic reality that in spite of all the progress that has been made, racial violence still couldn’t be eradicated from our world. The string, woodwind, and brass parts are all extremely demanding, and the work also includes several powerful piano solos, reminding us that Walker started his musical career as a concert pianist. Although the tempo is mostly on the moderate side, the piece has a strong rhythmic drive; the abundance of motifs and frequent changes in orchestration make the flow of the music utterly unpredictable. The work, as British conductor Edward Gardner put it, “is suffused with anger.” But it is a productive sort of anger: it will make us think and reflect.

National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda, Conductor


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
"Sinfonia No. 5, ""Visions"""

Total time: 00:14:12

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Original Recording Format

Release DateSeptember 22, 2023


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