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Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Symphony No.1 [Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import]

Peter Coleman-Wright , London Symphony Chorus , London Symphony Orchestra , Sir Colin Davis , William Walton Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Price: $17.08 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2011 $8.99  
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Product Details

  • Performer: Peter Coleman-Wright
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
  • Composer: William Walton
  • Audio CD (March 8, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Lso Live
  • ASIN: B004JP8OJ6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,331 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. i. Thus spake Isaiah (Belshazzar's Feast)
2. ii. A tempo-If I forget thee
3. iii. By the waters of Babylon
4. iv. Babylon was a great city
5. v. Praise ye the God of Gold!
6. vi. Allegro molto- Thus in Babylon
7. vii. Thou, O King, art King of Kings
8. viii. And in that same hour
9. ix. The trumpeters and pipers
10. x. Allegro- Then sing aloud to God our strength
11. i. Allegro assai (Symphony No. 1)
12. ii. Scherzo: Presto, con malizia
13. iii. Andante con malincolia
14. iv. Maestoso - Brioso ed ardentemente- Vivacissimo-Maestoso

Editorial Reviews

Review

''Belshazzar's Feast manages both to be unusually operatic in its approach and also essentially symphonic, which can make it a tricky balancing act. Sir Colin Davis demonstrates his understanding of this conundrum in these concert performances in 2008 with Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright in commanding form, and full-blooded commitment from the LSO & LSC... a gripping performance, only slightly softened by the balance in the Barbican. It's coupled with Symphony No.1, and that's brilliantly played as well.'' --BBC Radio 3 CD Review

''Sir Colin and his LSO forces are in sizzling form in this truly revolutionary take on the often turgid oratorio form.'' --Limelight Magazine (Australia)

9/9 - ''An absolutely smoking version of Belshazzar's Feast, easily the finest performance in a decade or so...'' --ClassicsToday.com

Product Description

In 2006, LSO Live released Walton s First Symphony conducted by Sir Colin Davis. The disc received widespread acclaim it was an Editor s Choice in Gramophone and voted CD of the Year by listeners of BBC Radio 3 s CD Review. It is now being re-released, coupled with a new recording of Walton s spectacular oratorio Belshazzar s Feast. These works, which were written consecutively, helped Walton consolidate his reputation as the most exciting British composer of his generation. Belshazzar s Feast, a superbly crafted oratorio, vividly depicts the story of Babylon s excesses and subsequent downfall, brilliantly colored by the orchestral forces, including two brass bands. Similarly effervescent, volcanic sentiments simmer beneath the surface of the symphony, conveying the tensions of the 1930s whilst remaining timeless in its appeal.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cigar March 9, 2011
Format:Audio CD
I must confess I have awaited this recording with both anticipation and trepidation. Why? Anticipation, because I love this music; and trepidation because of the track record of poor sound quality in LSO Live recordings at the Barbican.

Let's see how it turned out. Let me first say I will focus here on the Belshazzar; the symphony has already been released on this label. In a nutshell, I found that 2005 performance good but not great- it lacked the raw electricity of the best Previn or Mackerras recordings. And the sound was dismal: dry, up-front and unappealing, in worst `LSO Live' tradition.

So, what of Belshazzar? I have loved this piece ever since hearing it performed live in a historic 1976 (July 4th!) performance the LSO and Previn at the Festival Hall. I have written about this elsewhere, so won't bang on about this again here...

Belshazzar's Feast is an extravagantly extrovert romp of a piece. Its gestation was fascinating. The story is told of the young Walton, who had been commissioned to write a choral piece for the Leeds Festival in 1931, seeking advice from Tommy Beecham. He advised Walton that the massive Berlioz Requiem was also to be performed at this event. With such gargantuan musical forces available, asked Walton, why not use them for his new piece? `Why not' grumbled Tommy, `you'll never hear the work again'.

Needless to say, he was wrong. So here we have a block-buster of a piece with large orchestra and double choir, off-stage brass bands, baritone soloist, more percussion you can shake a stick at, and an organ. Plus the kitchen sink. Needless to say, this is an ideal piece for SACD, although large acoustic spaces are essential for the piece to breathe and make its fullest impact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than adequate for anyone wanting this coupling. March 18, 2011
Format:Audio CD
I've been accused of 'grade inflation' by friends and foes alike. But I really do feel that this coupling deserves a solid four-star rating. Yes, it's true that the symphony here isn't a match for the old Previn/LSO one on RCA (personally, I like the entire Andrew Litton cycle of Walton orchestral works on Decca). But on the other hand, there's plenty of noise and frenetic energy in "Belshazzar's Feast" to sustain ANY performance and this one isn't bad by any standard. The sound on "Belshazzar" is adequate considering that the source is London's dry and boxy sounding Barbican Center. So, yes; with a bit of digging around, you could come up with better performances of both works, but certainly not by much for the big, noisy choral work (I should talk; I like Mahler's 8th). But for anyone wanting these two important works on one disc, look no further.
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Format:Audio CD
The coupling of these two works is fitting as they were written in succession, and it is no surprise they are amongst his most popular compositions. Belshazzar's feast has also established itself as a firm stable amongst the English choral repertoire. Jazz and pop are obvious influences on Walton's compositional style, and it is that element that for me makes his music all the more interesting and exciting. Peter Coleman-Wright has a beautifully velvety tone to his voice that I crave in a baritone. The LSO, led by the fantastic Sir Colin add colour and vitality to the recording along with the LSC. Superb performances all round.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Recording August 25, 2014
By Ben
Format:Audio CD
Brilliant piece of music. Highly recommended and a must have for modern music lovers.
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