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Walton : The Quest (Complete Ballet) [CD]

English Northern Philharmonia Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £4.76 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: English Northern Philharmonia
  • Conductor: David Lloyd-Jones
  • Composer: William Walton
  • Audio CD (5 Jun 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000066HJH
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,994 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. The Quest: Scene 1: Outside the house of ArchimagoEnglish Northern Philharmonia 9:23Album Only
Listen  2. The Quest: Scene 2: Near the Palace of PrideEnglish Northern Philharmonia 7:07£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Quest: Scene 3: The Palace of Pride: Opening sceneEnglish Northern Philharmonia 1:41£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The Quest: Scene 3: The Seven Deadly Sins: Variations 1 - 7English Northern Philharmonia 5:36£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Quest: Scene 3: The Palace of Pride: Concluding sceneEnglish Northern Philharmonia 4:28£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. The Quest: Scene 4: Near the Palace of PrideEnglish Northern Philharmonia 4:19£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The Quest: Scene 5: The House of HolinessEnglish Northern Philharmonia 7:10£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. SiestaEnglish Northern Philharmonia 5:11£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: What God hath done is rightly done (Cantata 199)English Northern Philharmonia 2:30£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen10. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: Lord, hear my longing (Chorale Prelude, 'Herzlich tut mich')English Northern Philharmonia 2:18£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen11. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: See what His love can do (Cantata 85)English Northern Philharmonia 3:56£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen12. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: Ah! How ephemeral (Cantata 26)English Northern Philharmonia 1:57£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen13. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: Sheep may safely graze (Cantata 208)English Northern Philharmonia 5:53£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen14. The Wise Virgins: Ballet Suite: Praise be to God (Cantata 129)English Northern Philharmonia 1:34£0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description


William Walton was drawn into the world of ballet through collaborations with the choreographer Frederick Ashton, whose work defined a period of English dance that came and went and took the Walton/Ashton projects with it: their Façade lived on but not much else. Chief victim of this shift in fashion was The Quest, a patriotic wartime ballet that historians dismiss as hastily conceived, with an uneven score. And yes, the score is patchy, with much of its 45 minutes steeped in music of un-special functionality. But there are also ideas of genius here, and they flower in a finale that crescendos through the repetitions of a passacaglia, opening out from a soft homage to Vaughan Williams to a cinematic grandeur that signals what Walton would be writing next: the film score for Henry V. On this recording, the latest in a commendable Walton series from Naxos, the English Northern Philharmonia doesn't quite shine with virtuosity but does deliver strong, secure, persuasive playing, with a decent string sound that's especially important for the other Walton/Ashton ballets on the disc: The Wise Virgins (orchestral arrangements from Bach) and Siesta (adapted from a charmingly seductive early score of 1926 that supposedly speaks Walton's youthful love of Italy but sounds more like an American-pastoral take on Façade).--Michael White

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduced me to a new set of music 8 May 2009
Format:Audio CD
I have known Walton's film and brass music for a number of years and bought this on spec. Excellent music and performance, I didn't know that Walton had written such great music. I would recommend this to anyone.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Aspects of Walton's Art Emerge 26 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've always admired William Walton in a modest way, now more so than ever, thanks to Lloyd-Jones's stimulating series of recordings on Naxos. The present CD is no exception. "The Quest," whose score was "lost" or rather misplaced for a number of years, emerges here as a major score. Written during World War II and based on Spenser's "The Faerie Queene," it is a ballet that betrays Walton's debt to other 20th-century ballet composers, notably Ravel and Stravinsky, though the ripe and piquant orchestration with its colorful use of percussion is Walton's own a la "Belshazzar's Feast." None of the jazzy interpolations from that score here, however. There are brief references to popular music and dance, but this is a more straight-laced work, as befits the spiritually weighty subject matter. Certainly the finest of its several fine scenes is the last, which takes place at the House of Holiness. The music works up to a grand apotheosis that recalls the last moments of Ravel's "Ma Mere L'Oye" and Stravinsky's "The Firebird," though the strange, flatted, carillon-like descending figure that dominates the very end--in a din of tubular bells--is pure Walton. It has that deliciously acid quality even his most triumphal music sometimes has--vide the First Symphony's finale.
Much more familiar is "The Wise Virgins," one of Walton's greatest hits, a reorchestration of music from Bach's cantatas designed for a ballet based on the parable of the wise virgins from the Gospels. Lloyd-Jones and his ensemble, abetted by Naxos' fine sonics, do it full justice.
"Siesta," a work written in the 20's that Walton apparently had a fondness for throughout his life, is a strange little affair. Sort of like Bartok's "Interrupted Intermezzo" from the Concerto for Orchestra, Walton's languid little piece is punctuated by petulant thrusts from the orchestra. Bad dreams? Anyway, "Siesta" sounds like an outtake from Walton's satiric gem "Facade."
All in all, some very accomplished music by an intriquing modern master.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second-rate, but still attractive Walton, in very good performances 4 April 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Quest, composed in 1943, was Walton's only ballet, and is a somewhat neglected work. The music is reminiscent of the music of his first symphony, wistfully atmospheric and consistently thematically inventive. It is, in the end, perhaps not one of his most memorable creations, but it is certainly skillfully wrought and thoroughly enjoyable with many interesting touches - not the least in terms of the excellent, light and airy orchestral textures. The Wise Virgins is overall less appealing, consisting as it does of arrangements of Bach (mostly from his cantatas and not always the most famous of Bach's works). It is, indeed, sensitively orchestrated, but doesn't really invite to repeated listening. Siesta is probably the most well-known work here, and it is an appealing little piece.

The performances by the English Northern Philharmonia under David Lloyd-Jones are uniformly excellent. The brisk and lively rhythms are superbly realized with snappy, characterful winds and brass and brilliantly light and clear string textures. Sound quality is also excellent, and this issue - while not containing any first-rate Walton - can be safely recommended.
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