Before buying this I already owned the EMI Classics Walton Collection Box set 8 CDs which is an excellent collection of EMI discs which can also be bought separately. Many of the pieces in the Walton Collection 8 CD set are actually duplicated in this excellent box set, but there's much that isn't as well. This isn't a definitive collection by any means, and there are some great performances to be found elsewhere for sure, but I carefully compared all the works and then decided to buy this box set as it is, without a doubt, a real bargain!
If you already own many of the EMI Classics Walton discs separately you'll definitely have some of the included works here, so check. I've compiled a complete list of all the works in this bargain of a 12 CD set, including the year each piece was written (just in case you need it for tagging FLAC rips etc.), and also the year given for each performance as given in the included box set booklet. I hope this info will help others compare and decide.
William Walton The Collector's Edition Box set contents: -------------------------------------------------------
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1959) London Philharmonic Orchestra Carl Davis, 1986
A Queen's Fanfare (1959) Bournemouth Sinfonietta Martin Neary, 1977
As You Like It - Suite (1936) London Philharmonic Orchestra Carl Davis, 1986
Belshazzar's Feast (1930-1, r. 48) Thomas Hampson (baritone) The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Sir Simon Rattle, 1997
Capriccio burlesco (1968) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1969
Carol - What Cheer (1961) Wordsworth School Choir Russell Burgess, 1968
Cello Concerto (1955-56) Lynn Harrell (cello) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Sir Simon Rattle, 1991
Coronation March - Crown Imperial (1937) London Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Adrian Boult, 1977
Coronation March - Orb and Sceptre (1953) London Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Adrian Boult, 1977
Coronation Te Deum (1952) Francis Grier (organ) Choristors of Worcester Cathedral, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Louis Frémaux, 1976
Façade - An Entertainment (1921-26) Fenella Fielding (reciter), Michael Flanders (reciter) Academy of St Martin in the Fields Sir Neville Marriner, 1971
Façade - Two Suites for Orchestra (1926-38) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Louis Frémaux, 1976
Five Bagatelles for guitar (1970-71) Tom Kerstens (guitar), 1994
Gloria (1961) Barbara Robotham (mezzo-soprano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Brian Rayner Cook (baritone) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Louis Frémaux, 1976
Hamlet - Funeral March (1947, 1967) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1983
Henry V - Suite (1963) - 1st. arr. Mathieson 2nd. arr. Sargent Philharmonia Orchestra Sir William Walton, 1963 London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir Carl Davis, 1986
Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten (1969) London Symphony Orchestra André Previn, 1972
In Honour of the City of London (1937) London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Richard Hickox, 1984
Johannesburg Festival Overture (1956) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1969
Partita for Orchestra (1957) Philharmonia Orchestra Sir William Walton, 1959
Piano Quartet (1919, r. 1921) Janice Graham (violin), Paul Silverton (violin), Moray Welsh (cello), Israela Margalit (piano), 1995
Portsmouth Point Overture (1925) London Symphony Orchestra André Previn, 1973
Richard III - A Shakespeare Suite (1955, r. 63) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1983
Richard III - Prelude (1955, 1963) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1983
Scapino, Comedy Overture (1940, r. 49) London Symphony Orchestra André Previn, 1973
Set Me as a Seal upon Thine Heart (1938) Gautam Rangarajan (tenor) Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury, 1991
Siesta (1926, r. 62) Northern Sinfonia of England Richard Hickox, 1989
Sinfonia concertante (1926-1927, r. 1943) Phyllis Sellick (piano) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Sir William Walton, 1945
Sonata for Strings (1971) City of London Sinfonia Richard Hickox, 1991
Spitfire Prelude and Fugue (1942) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Charles Groves, 1969
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor (1944-47) Felix Slatkin (violin), Paul Shure (violin), Paul Roby (viola), Eleanor Aller (cello) (Hollywood String Quartet), 1950
Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor (1932-35 r. 51) Philharmonia Orchestra Bernard Haitink, 1981
Symphony No. 2 (1957-60) London Symphony Orchestra André Previn, 1973
The Battle of Britain Suite (1969) London Philharmonic Orchestra Carl Davis, 1986
The Bear (1967) Monica Sinclair (mezzo-soprano) (Popova), John Shaw (baritone) (Smirnov), Norman Lumsden (bass) (Luka) English Chamber Orchestra James Lockhart, 1967
The Wise Virgins - Ballet Suite (1940) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Louis Frémaux, 1976
Troilus and Cressida (1947-54 r. 1972-76) Complete Richard Cassilly (tenor), Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Benjamin Luxon (baritone) et al. Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus Lawrence Foster, 1976
Troilus and Cressida (1947-54 r. 1972-76) Act 2. Sc 2. Interlude (orchestral piece) London Philharmonic Orchestra Carl Davis, 1986
Variations on a Theme by Hindemith (1962-63) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Vernon Handley, 1988
Viola Concerto (1928-29 r. 61) Nigel Kennedy (viola) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra André Previn, 1987
Violin Concerto (1936-39 r. 43) Ida Haendel (violin) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund, 1997
Violin Sonata (1949 r. 1950) Janice Graham (violin) John Alley (piano), 1995
Where Does the Uttered Music Go (1946) BBC Chorus Leslie Woodgate, 1946
I'd also like to recommend the following CDs to accompany this set. Of course there are just loads of terrific CDs available, but here I recommend just a few that I think may add to this collection:
Oh, and the first CD is actually my personal favourite version ever of Belshazzar's Feast.. Benjamin Luxon just nails it for me!
This collection is great value for money, particularly as the performances include Haitink's recording of the 1st Symphony, Nigel Kennedy playing the Viola Concerto, Ida Haendel's classic interpretation of the Violin Concerto, Rattle's 1997 Belshazzar's Feast, Previn's Symphony No.2 and the complete Troilus and Cressida, with Janet Baker. Not all of the recordings are digital, which may deter some buyers, but the quality of the analog sound is perfectly good.
The works contained are as follows:
CD1 Symphonies 1 & 2
CD2 Violin Concerto, Viola Concerto
Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten
CD3 Portsmouth Point, Scapino, Siesta
Sonata for Strings, Cello Concerto
CD4 Coronation Marches, Johannesberg Festival Overture
Capriccio Burlesco, Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
The Battle of Britain, Variations on a Theme by Hindemith
CD5 Music for Shakespeare films, Troilus and Cressida, Act II: Interlude
A History of the English Speaking Peoples
CD6 Facade, The Wise Virgins
CD7 Henry V - Suite, Partita for Orchestra
Sinfonia Concertante, String Quartet
CD8 Piano Concerto, Violin Sonata, Five Bagatelles for guitar
CD9 Belshazzar's Feast, In Honour of the City of London
Coronation Te Deum, Gloria
CD10-11 Troilus and Cressida
CD12 The Bear, Set me as a seal upon thine heart, What Cheer?
Where does the uttered music go?, A Queen's Fanfare
Overall, this collection is a great survey of Walton's music; all for less than the price of a couple of CDs.
An excellent collection of all Walton's major works and one or two minor ones which are less well known. Good to have Haitink's version of the First Symphony and Ida Haendel's of the Violin Concerto. Other orchestral works are conducted by Previn, Boult and Groves among others. Walton himself conducts the Henry V suite, the Partita and the Sinfonia Concertante (with Phyllis Sellick). This last item is in mono but, like the Hollywood Quartet version of the String Quartet, that's justified by its historical significance. Back in stereo there is Simon Rattle's account of Belshazzar's Feast with Thomas Hampson and Lawrence Foster's complete live recording of Troilus and Cressida in the version revised for Janet Baker. All in all, this is marvellous bargain.
At the price on Amazon this is an amazing set (£18.99!! on 19th Dec 2013). Walton deserves greater recognition and produced some great music. Not sure about the Trioilus and Cressida but everything else is just wonderful in my view.
Ah! this is a lovely CD and I am so glad I bought it! The music is truly wonderful and sums up the music of our British heritage and all that we love about our country. I would definitely recommend this CD and I therefore would give it five stars without hesitation!
I've always loved the expansive sound of Walton's orchestration, from the huge percussion section and two brass bands of Belshazzar's Feast (Slain!), to the film music and the symphonies. Now I can have all the rest. Great British music.
I have always enjoyed Walton's music,which is good considering he was born in Oldham just 4 miles from where I came from.What I've learned from the collection,however,is that there were some pieces that I had never heard before.