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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, musical and very good value, 30 April 2002
Majkic (Leeds, U.K.) - See all my reviews
The English Northern Philharmonia give a spirited and very musical rendition of some of Walton's concert hall standards in this budget Naxos release. I particularly enjoyed the "Spitfire" Prelude and Fugue. The disc is well recorded with a big and convincing sound space, but marred a little (at least to my ears) by the rather excessively "swimmy" or reverberant acoustic of Leeds Town Hall (somewhat improved in refurbishments since this recording was made). The background noise level in the hall, whilst not problematic, is not of the very best either, but these are minor technical criticisms of an otherwise very enjoyable and good value recording.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine disc from Paul Daniel at bargain price, 12 Oct 2013
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This well recorded disc from 1996 is yet another example of high quality at low prices. This time paul Daniel brings four varied pieces by Walton vividly to life.

The disc opens and closes ion popular mood with the very familiar Spitfire Prelude and Fugue of 1942 which made use of the music Walton had written for the wartime film, First of the Few. This is despatched with appropriate vigour as is the final piece, the March or A History of the English Speaking Peoples which was written in 1959, but not used, for a television series. The themes and structure are very reminiscent of the earlier and very successful Crown Imperial March.

The second item on the disc is possibly the least known and therefore popular, the Sinfonia concertante for piano and orchestra (1927) which is played as well as can be imagined by Peter Donohoe. This piece, although well crafted, lacks the memorable nature of any of the other pieces on the disc and this probably accounts for its relative obscurity. This recording serves the admirable task of re-acquainting an new audience with the work in a good performance at a very affordable price.

The Variations on a Theme by Hindemith is the most substantial piece here and is an undoubted masterpiece. It combines a completely absorbing treatment of the Hindemith theme with a wonderful display of orchestral timbres. Once more this receives an excellent performance and one that stands up to the current competition very well. Although this piece was delivered with unmatchable virtuosity by Szell and the Cleveland orchestra many years ago, this new recording far out-paces it for truthful sound. Additionally, in the intervening years, international orchestral standards have risen to the point where any advantage the Cleveland orchestra had then has been seriously eroded by orchestras such as this English Northern Philharmonia.

I would suggest that this is a very attractive disc and well worth considering for purchase without any obvious provisos.
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