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Walton: Henry V

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Rivaled only by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Neville Marriner was one of the most important of the early figures who spearheaded the reawakening of modern interest in Baroque and early Classical music. In the 1950s, he founded Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the first British early music ensemble to find a large international audience. Marriner has since become one of the most popular conductors ... Read more in Amazon's Sir Neville Marriner Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Walton: Henry V + Walton: Richard III, Macbeth, Major Barbara, Film Music Vol. 4 + Walton: Hamlet, As You Like It (Film Music vol 1)
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Product details

  • Performer: Giles Farnaby, Joseph Canteloube, Ian Watson, Celia Nicklin, Christopher Plummer
  • Orchestra: Westminster Cathedral Choir, Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chorus
  • Conductor: Neville Marriner
  • Composer: William Walton
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000ALO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 198,692 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Volume three of Chandos's invaluable Walton series returns to the composer's landmark scores for Shakespeare films. The entire programme of the disc is dedicated to Christopher Palmer's expanded arrangement of Walton's masterful score for Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1945). Arguably his finest effort, Walton's music was designed to assist Olivier in his desire to inspire the British public in preparation for D-Day manoeuvres in France. Though it pushes all of the proper patriotic buttons, the composer's score also makes a subtle impression at times. During the opening scene, Walton places a delicate flute solo over an exterior view of London, which then resolves into the Old Globe theatre. Indeed, Olivier pays respect to the film's theatrical origins throughout his production, which the composer enhances through Elizabethan pastiche. The score also features various classical styles, including a passacaglia ("Death Of Falstaff") as well as several examples of organum and plainsong. A Delius-inspired folk-song is a highlight, as are the extensive fanfares and orchestral crescendos for the "Battle Of Agincourt". Despite the occasional nod to styles of the past, Walton represents the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and Henry V mainly through his own contemporary style. Adding to the effect is actor Christopher Plummer, whose vital narration imparts presence and authority to the disc. Though the Chandos release is recommended, a budget version of this release has been issued by conductor Andrew Penny and the RTE Concert Orchestra on the Naxos label. --Kevin Mulhall

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Davis VINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a terrific disc. Walton's score was written to accompany Olivier's wartime morale boosting film and offers a moving and powerful listening experience.
Christopher Plummer is a first-rate narrator, producing an epic, yet unselfconscious style of delivery. The orchestral accompaniment is excellent and unlike the Naxos CD (where the narrators tend to dwarf the diminutive sounding orchestral accompaniment), the balance between Plummer and the orchestra is just right.
My favourite section is track 6 "The Night Watch" but the whole performance is wonderfully inspiriting in all respects. The CD ends with a charming extract from Canteloube's "Chants d'Auvergne".
I wouldn't be without the EMI recording with Lawrence Olivier and Walton in charge of the orchestra but a score such as this benefits from a modern recording and the Chandos engineers do themselves proud. As the Olivier/Walton version is at bargain price, I would do yourself a favour and buy both versions of Walton's greatest film score and one of his very finest compositions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger on 9 Feb. 2015
Format: Audio CD
But the reverberant acoustics of the church venue give the narration an unnatural sound and Christopher Plummer delivers his lines in the grand Victorian manner, which may not be to everyone's taste.
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By chris on 22 Jun. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wonderful music
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Walton 30 Aug. 2000
By Daniel G. Berk - Published on
Format: Audio CD
William Walton had a great ability for orchestral painting, a quality particularly suited to the composition of film music. Nowhere is that more important than in his score for the film, Henry V. The music ideally complimented the film and Laurence Olivier's masterful performance; however, the sound quality on the sound track recording (with Olivier) was significantly lacking by today's standards.
Neville Marriner and the orchestra and chorus of The Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields turn in an excellent performance, which also has the benefit of quality sound reproduction, much improved over the original sound track. Christopher Plummer also performs the narration quite well and almost makes one not miss Olivier.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Keep in Mind what this Really Is 12 Dec. 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Whether you might be interested in this release may hinge on what you seek from it. As the album itself proclaims, this is a Shakespeare Scenario, somewhat an analog to those releases that distill Wagner's Ring onto one disc. What we get is Walton's music for the Laurence Olivier's film version of Henry V teamed with excerpts from the play itself. Both text and music more or less hold equal sway for an hour -- by themselves or in unison. Three odd little extras bring up the end: harpsichord renditions of two Elizabethan pieces, Watkin's Ale and Rosa Solis by Farnaby; as well as a version of Obal, diniou Limouzi from Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne. To pick up on my opening, if you're seeking essentially music from the film, this is probably not the disc to get -- though it has more complete coverage of the score, including the extended form of the Prologue, you may be put off by Christopher Plummer's recitation from the play -- though it seems a bit odd to suggest that Shakespeare would put off anyone, but I hope you know what I mean. On the other hand, this is an excellent way to enjoy some of the prime verbal essences of the play in the company of Walton's fine music. For that purpose, it succeeds admirably.
Zounds! 3 Mar. 2014
By jjmmkk - Published on
Verified Purchase
I initially thought the narration might prove annoying - having to listen to that pesky Shakespeare - considering that Walton's Henry V is one of the greatest films scores in the history of cinema but I was proven quite wrong. We are taken on an utterly engrossing journey. This recording is far more detailed, vibrant and satisfying than that for the suites which Walton himself conducts with the Philharmonia. As for missing Olivier, as Daniel Berk posits as a possibility, have no fears. Plummer is today's Olivier and a total blessing. There is only one word to describe his contribution: superb! Although "stirring" and "moving" could fittingly be added. (For some reason this says I am reviewing an MP3. i am not. I'm reviewing the CD.)
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