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Walton’s First Symphony and Violin Concerto on Chandos

Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto

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The Recording of the Month in the current (July) issue of Gramophone is a pairing of William Walton’s Violin Concerto and First Symphony featuring violinist Tasmin Little with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner. Gramophone’s critic Andrew Achenbach writes of this recording: ‘Edward Gardner presides over blisteringly eloquent and splendidly unbuttoned accounts of both these Walton masterworks, the First Symphony’s vehement opening Allegro assai in particular unfolding with a bite, purpose and snarling intensity to match any rival.’ The full review is now available to read in the Gramophone Reviews database.

This is Tasmin Little’s second recording of Walton’s Violin Concerto. The first, with conductor Andrew Litton and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for Decca was well-received, but, as Achenbach says in his review, ‘this Chandos successor is, I think, even more rewarding’.

The very first recording of the First Symphony was made by conductor Sir Hamilton Harty with the LSO in December 1935, shortly after the complete work’s premiere (now available on the Dutton label, reviewed by Gramophone here). But as Achenbach says in his review of the new recording: ‘Make no mistake, this exceptionally vital newcomer occupies a lofty position within this symphony’s distinguished discography’.