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Walton: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 / Martyn Brabbins

Audio Samples

>Walton, William : Symphony no 1 in B flat minor
>Walton, William : Siesta
>Walton, William : Symphony no 2

Album Summary

>Walton, William : Symphony no 1 in B flat minor
>Walton, William : Siesta
>Walton, William : Symphony no 2
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

On this new disc, Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra offer invigorating and authoritative performances of William Walton's two symphonies. The musicians balance stunning control with breathtaking energy and character. Following the resounding success of his Belshazzar's Feast, Walton spent three years perfecting his dramatic first symphony. The immensely virtuosic work displays an astounding range of colors and emotional volatility, reflecting the turbulence of Walton's private life. The second symphony is more concise and refined. Somewhat out of kilter with the austerity of its time, this masterpiece was slow to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor. Also included on the disc is Walton's intimate orchestral work Siesta, written in 1926.

"Nobody since has managed to match [Previn's] combination of snarling menace and orchestral brilliance on disc, and it's a real achievement that Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony come as close as they do to emulating it. Brabbins's account is a reminder that for all its derivative elements and bombast, Walton One is a powerful musical statement in its own right." -The Guardian

"The Second — unhappily premiered 25 years later, in 1960 — has not been much heard. One reason may be that its fizzing syncopations and phantasmagorical textures are fiendish to conduct and play. Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish are thrilling champions." -The Times

The Arts Desk
Good performances do convince you that [The First] a masterpiece, and Martyn Brabbins's account is very, very good. There's plenty of savagery when needed, and the bombast is slightly underplayed but with no loss of energy or momentum...Brabbins's performance [of the Second] really delivers, notably in the eerie slow interlude in the last movement, and the final brass-drenched minutes. It's that good.

The Telegraph
The dazzling brilliance and menacing darkness in Walton's First Symphony are astutely caught here by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins. The sensible coupling is the Second Symphony, not so warmly received when it was new but here attesting to its originality and emotional power.

Sunday Times
Neglected in the concert hall, Walton's Second Symphony (1956-60) makes an ideal foil on CD for his more familiar First...Brabbins makes the strongest possible case for the work...Anyone tempted by both symphonies on a single disc need not hesitate.

Gramophone Magazine
What is so good about the new Hyperion performances is the control of tension...The whole disc is a credit not only to the conductor but also to the quality of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra which can stand comparison with any rival, not least in the quality of the woodwind solos.

International Record Review, July/August 2011
Unlike on many other recordings, both conductor and orchestra know one another's work and working methods well, and it shows here in many points of detail...As for the performances, it is impossible to imagine anything better than this, by turns so very exciting and very moving. Brabbins's tempos are absolutely spot-on...I have no doubt that this disc enshrines great conducting of a great orchestra in great music; the result is a record in a thousand.

Classic FM Magazine
Brabbins brings a focused, tautly unified concept to each symphony, with great empathy shining out of the Lento of the Second.

BBC Music Magazine
Brabbins never lets [the First] off the tight rein it requires, so that it sounds all the more powerful as a result: the ferocious climaxes are built and sustained with control, while the Andante con malinconia convincingly resists its usual tendency to sprawl. The playing - featuring what must be the finest trumpet section in these islands - is top-flight.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow.



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Works Details

>Walton, William : Symphony no 1 in B flat minor
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (12/04/2010-12/05/2010)
  • Running Time: 44 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1931-1935

>Walton, William : Siesta
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (11/20/2010-11/21/2010)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926-1962

>Walton, William : Symphony no 2
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (11/20/2010-11/21/2010)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1957-1960