Walton: The Complete Façades / Falletta, Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Orchestra

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Edith Sitwell’s invitation to William Walton to collaborate on an innovative, revolutionary new work came at a critical moment in the young composer’s career, and Façade proved to be his first great success. The peerless combination of a peculiarly English dry wit, genuine pathos and superlative technical skill remains an extraordinary achievement. Sitwell’s verses conjure a satirical and poignant world of bourgeois late-Victorian England, while Walton’s settings unfailingly enhance and enrich the texts in a work in which words and music are unquestionably of equal importance. This release includes the first recording of Small Talk (1922) and three numbers first performed in 1977 but subsequently rejected by the composer.

REVIEW:

JoAnn Falletta is to be congratulated for bringing us Walton’s revisit of the piece in 1978 when he was 76, featuring eight more poems (the work’s original subtitle, “An Entertainment,” became “A Further Entertainment:). Falletta also includes some additional material, beginning with “Small Talk” from 1922 and three numbers from 1977, “Daphne,” “The White Owl,” and “The Last Galop”—the late ones have never been recorded before.

The special charm of this release is to be found in the acting skills of the narrators, now expanded from two to three. Falletta realized that Sitwell’s poems contain actual characters who could be brought vividly to life, and she has chosen her cast well. Hila Plitman is extremely versatile, sounding at times Russian or German in her delivery (she is actually Israeli). Fred Child is a vocally nimble PBS narrator, and well-regarded bass-baritone Kevin Deas comes across richly with an arch demeanor suggestive of the childlike nature of some of the poems. The result is extremely satisfying. Of course, the performance necessarily emerges sounding less British, less reserved and less formal, but we Americans have our own silly Ogden Nash tradition, and Façade is none the worse for a more extroverted American approach. Jo Ann Falletta and her Virginians play with sass and spark.

-- Fanfare



Product Description:


  • Release Date: September 09, 2022


  • Catalog Number: 8574378


  • UPC: 747313437870


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: William Walton


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Orchestra


  • Performer: Hila Plitman, Fred Child, Kevin Deas, Joann Falletta



Works:


  1. Façade - An Entertainment

    Composer: William Walton

    Ensemble: Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players

    Performer: Hila Plitmann (Narrator), Fred Child (Narrator), Kevin Deas (Narrator)

    Conductor: JoAnn Falletta


  2. Façade - A Further Entertainment

    Composer: William Walton

    Ensemble: Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players

    Performer: Hila Plitmann (Narrator), Fred Child (Narrator), Kevin Deas (Narrator)

    Conductor: JoAnn Falletta


  3. Façade - Additional Numbers

    Composer: William Walton

    Ensemble: Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players

    Performer: Hila Plitmann (Narrator), Fred Child (Narrator), Kevin Deas (Narrator)

    Conductor: JoAnn Falletta