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Walton: Symphony No.1/Belshazzar's Feast

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Thomas Hampson
  • Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Sir William Walton
  • Audio CD (10 Aug. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000C2JG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

EMI 556592; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica contemporanea Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a brilliant disc this is - don't be put off by the awful cover design! Walton's First Symphony is, to my mind, one of the great works of the 20th century - a truly fantastic experience, as Simon Rattle's recent account with the LSO and added forces showed. It is so driven in the first movement, the rhythm just seems as if it is coming from the very heart of life. The slow movement has a searching depth, while the last movement seems to find a solution to the tensions of all that has gone before, almost cloud-free, but with some ambiguous note in there as well. The first two movements have a superb charge to them - and Rattle, who can sometimes seem more inclined to expansiveness, really has a tight grip on the drama, thrusting forward in ever-renewed intensity. There is also a subtext of yearning astringency under the angular explosiveness. The CBSO play brilliantly, as they always did for him; nevertheless this must be considered one of their crowning experiences under Rattle. Belshazzar also emerges as a thrilling drama, full of orchestral and choral colour, again with rhythmic verve much to the fore in spite of the size of the forces assembled. It has a kind of fleet monumentality, and is never abrasive except in a positive musical way. Soundscapes don't come much bigger than this, yet there are also chamber percussion effects and vital, elemental rhythmic figures carrying right through to the final impossible-to-predict chords. Set against this, Thomas Hampson tells of the amazing events with a strength to make you believe he is some kind of avatar himself ... Walton was one of the greats, even if it rests on a number of compositions in single figures.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a staggeringly good recording of two of Walton's most important works.

The symphony first appeared in EMI's British Composers series in 1992 coupled with the cello concerto and it immediately went straight in to my top ten favourite recordings where it has stayed ever since. It is a thrillingly exciting and thunderously powerful account of what I think is a criminally underrated work. The first movement, in particular, shows Rattle and the CBSO at their absolute best, completely in command of Walton's multiple rhythms and jazzy syncopations. The cumulative power from about 10mins30secs onwards as Walton piles layer upon layer of ostinato rhythms on top of each other, relentlessly screwing up the tension at every bar, is one of my favourite passages in all music and Rattle and his orchestra do it superb justice. The release into the coda is glorious with a volcanic flourish of brass and timpani at the conclusion. I really can't praise this movement too highly. Fantastic stuff!

The superlatives continue in the violent and fiery second movement which amply demonstrates that the CBSO, when at their virtuosic best, are second to nobody. So too in the third movement, probably the hardest part to pull off successfully. I've heard live performances lose their way here but Rattle's sense of melodic line and phrasing, not to mention his experience in 20th Century music, keeps the sparse scoring at the start hanging together as he builds patiently into a phenomenally powerful and spine-tingling central climax. This really is epic and profoundly accomplished music-making.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought as a present for someone. Great, thank you.
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By Ed on 7 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm kind of going off Simon Rattle - the more recordings of his I get that are just so-so - maybe he's better live ?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've never bought a used CD before and was delighted to discover that this one was as good as new. A very satisfied customer.
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