|ORCHESTRA: Three Elfin Dances; Hampton Wick; The Broad Highway.|
|CHAMBER MUSIC: String Quartet in C- Minor; Three Fantasies for String Quartet; Suite Pixy-Ring for String Quartet; Rhapsody for Viola Solo and String Quartet; Three Arias for String Quartet; Piano Trio; Piano Quintet.|
About H. Waldo-Warner:
Cobbett W. W. Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber-Music.
WILLIAM TURNER WALTON, who with Constant Lambert represents the rising generation of important younger English composers, was born in Oldham, Lancashire, on March 29, 1902. The Walton family had for centuries been associated with music. William Walton's father and mother were both well known as teachers of singing, and his brother was also a professional musician. It was, therefore, to be expected that William should turn to musical study from early childhood. As a child, he studied the violin because he detested the piano, and made rapid strides with the instrument. He learned to sing Handel even before he could speak, and Handel has remained the most profound musical influence in his artistic career.
He entered Christ College, Oxford, as a chorister in his tenth year, where he succeeded in failing in all subjects except musical ones. At thirteen he began composition for the first time. Three years later, he received his baccalaureate degree in music--probably the youngest man ever to receive the degree. Shortly thereafter, he revealed obvious talent for composition for the first time and, convinced that he desired to become a composer, he began to fill in the gaps in his technique by studying theory and harmony by himself.
He did not become known as a composer until 1923 when his First String Quartet was selected for performance at Salzburg by the International Society for Contemporary Music. This composition aroused some curiosity among musicians concerning William Walton. With his next work, Façade--a setting of a number of poems by Edith Sitwell-William Walton more than satisfied their curiosity by revealing himself definitely as a composer of enormous talent.
"As a spirited and lively work, it is without a modern English rival," writes Hubert J. Foss, "so full of pace and vivacity and humor is it. Its chief technical interest lies first in its brilliant rhythmic pattern which, touched by the tricks of jazz-writers, far exceeds mathematically anything they have ever heard of; and secondly, in its ability to state a plain and obvious melody in a significant way without accompaniment. . . . The Façade is an amusement of the high-jinks kind, but well shows that music to be amusing must first be satisfactory and (particularly) skilful as music."
During the next few years--with Portsmouth Point, performed at the Zurich Festival of Modern Music in 1926, the Piano Quartet, and the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra--William Walton made sure his important position as one of the major younger composers of England. He has succeeded in these works in introducing an altogether new idiom into modern English music.
" Walton's tendency"--Edwin Evans thus explains Walton's technique in these works--"is to surround his material with a wealth of contrapunal arabesque and a profusion of rhythms. But it is such clean writing that clarity suffers but rarely. Up to now, Walton seems to have shared the self-conscious fear of relapsing into the romantic which haunts so many young composers and tempts them to be unnatural, lest they should appear sentimental. But in the step from the Sinfonia to the Concerto, Walton has acquired confidence that, when he is so disposed, he can allow a subjective emotion to rise to the surface without any fear that it will float there like an oil-stain."
With Belshazaar's Feast, performed at the Modern Music Festival in Vienna in 1931 and since that time by leading symphony orchestras in Europe and the United States, William Walton's