Walton: Violin Concerto; Sonata for Violin and Orchestra; Two Pieces for Violin and Orchestra

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Walton
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Sonata for Violin and Orchestra; Two Pieces for Violin and Orchestra
PERFORMER: Lydia Mordkovitch (violin)London Philharmonic/Jan Latham-Koenig
CATALOGUE NO: Chan 9073 DDD
This orchestrated version of the Sonata for Violin and Orchestra is a masterly transcription by that champion of British music, Christopher Palmer. He has not tampered with the original text but has ‘dressed up’ the work in the bright colours of Walton’s orchestral palette while observing all the felicities of his style.

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Both the concerto and the sonata were inspired by Alice Wimborne, Walton’s close companion from the mid-Thirties to her death in 1948. When he composed the concerto Walton was blissfully in love — and it shows in the music. This new recording emphasises the softer, dreamlike sections of the work. Latham-Koenig’s tempi are often significantly slower than those of Previn, who accompanies both Kyung Wha Chung and Nigel Kennedy in oustanding rival versions, but there is plenty of tension and energy here. Mordkovitch conveys tenderness and excitement, but she is a shade too cool for this most romantic of violin concertos.

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The sound is first class in a beautifully lit sound stage with wide dynamics and perspectives. Ian Lace