Walton: Symphony No. 1; Spitfire Prelude and Fugue

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LABELS: ASV Quicksilva
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
PERFORMER: RLPO/Vernon Handley; ECO/Steuart Bedford
CATALOGUE NO: CD QS 6093 ADD/DDD (1978/87)
The violin rhythm at the start of this symphony, though ppp, should be taut, springy and sharply focused. Here it’s spiritless and drowned by the horns and woodwind. Indeed, much of the first movement is marred by foggy detail and unheeded dynamics. Things improve later, but not sufficiently to challenge Mackerras and the LPO on EMI Eminence. With the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue the disc suddenly springs to life, displaying the assurance the symphony mostly lacks. Wadham Sutton