LABELS: Carlton BBC Radio Classics
WORKS: Viola Concerto; Violin Concerto
PERFORMER: Peter Schidlof (viola), Iona Brown (violin); BBC SO/Colin Davis, LSO/Edward Downes
CATALOGUE NO: 15656 91732 ADD
The BBC Sound Archive is the source for these two live recordings, the Viola Concerto from a 1972 Prom and the Violin Concerto from Cheltenham in 1967. Both concertos are less well known than they should be, and this disc should heighten their popularity. The Viola Concerto was originally written for Lionel Tertis, but he failed to understand Walton’s style and Hindemith premiered it at a Queen’s Hall Prom in 1929. On this disc the late lamented Peter Schidlof (of Amadeus Quartet fame) gives a superb account which gets to the heart of the concerto from the languid outset, the scherzo taken at a fizzing tempo. Schidlof was a superb musician and this performance will stand as a worthy testimony to his talent.
The Violin Concerto, commissioned by Heifetz, took eight years to reach its final form in 1944. The solo part is highly demanding, but Iona Brown masters it effortlessly and eloquently, even if she is occasionally overpowered by the LSO. The concertos are sensitively guided by the safe hands of Davis and Downes, both excellent interpreters of Walton’s music in their own right. The remastering by Floating Earth also deserves praise. Highly recommended. Christopher Fifield