Walton: Viola Concerto, Sonata for Strings, Partita / Gardner, BBC Symphony

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Also available from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos: Walton: Symphony 1, Violin Concerto / Little and Walton: Symphony No 2, Cello...


Also available from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Chandos: Walton: Symphony 1, Violin Concerto / Little and Walton: Symphony No 2, Cello Concerto / Watkins

In this third volume of Edward Gardner’s Walton series with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, James Ehnes leaves his violin to tackle the taxing soloist role in the Viola Concerto. In a recent Strad interview, Ehnes confesses: ‘This is a piece I have loved since I was a teenager, so it is wonderful that the opportunity has come my way to record it... With Walton’s Viola Concerto, none of the writing is impossible but a lot of it is close. And in a way that is exactly where you want it to be: on the edge of technical limitations. There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in that.’ This album in surround sound also features two much later works: the 1957 Partita for Orchestra and the Sonata for String Orchestra, adapted in 1971 from the String Quartet in A minor of 1945 – 47. There is a striking contrast between the uncomfortable modernism of the up-and-coming young composer’s Viola Concerto and the relaxed brilliance of the mature Partita. But the Sonata shows Walton late in his life re-engaging as an arranger with his earlier manner, and so with the characteristic vein of restless unease that runs through most of his output.

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Ehnes and Gardner take us back to pre-Menuhin tempos, only a fraction slower than William Primrose’s pioneering 1946 recording. There’s a grand sweep to the performance which is wholly engaging in its refusal to wallow. Ehnes’s burnished viola tone is noble and warm. Gardner conducts a lithe performance of the Sonata for string orchestra, and a suitably boisterous Partita to fill out the disc.

– Gramophone


Product Description:


  • Release Date: April 06, 2018


  • UPC: 095115521021


  • Catalog Number: CHSA 5210


  • Label: Chandos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: ""


  • Composer: Sir William Walton


  • Conductor: Edward Gardner


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: BBC Symphony Orchestra


  • Performer: James Ehnes