Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Symphony No 1

  • Catalogue Number LSO0681
    UPC 822231168126

    James Mallinson producer
    Neil Hutchinson for Classic Sound Ltd balance engineer
    Neil Hutchinson and Jonathan Stokes for Classic Sound Ltd audio editors

    Belshazzar's Feast recorded September 2008, Barbican, London
    Symphony No 1 recorded September and 4 December 2005, Barbican, London

    DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording
    Notes in English / en français / auf Deutsch
    Text in English
    Sung in English

  • Disc of the Week 'An outstanding bargain ... The LSO Chorus give Walton’s grateful choral writing all they have, and the orchestra revel in his brilliant and unconventional orchestration. Davis, too, proves an absolutely authentic performer.' Sunday Times

    9/9 'It comes in tandem with an absolutely smoking version of Belshazzar's Feast, easily the finest performance in a decade or so, and the combination of the two earns this particular pairing a firm recommendation.' ClassicsToday

    ***** Audiophile Audition

    **** Prise de son homogène, dynamique, bien définie ‘Sir Colin en signe une des meilleures versions modernes… une approche qui le démarque nettement de la plupart de ses confrères… profondément originale, avec un orchestre au meilleur de sa forme.’ Classica

    '(Belshazzar's Feast's) effervescent choruses are meat and drink to a top-flight choir such as the LSC ... the LSO at its virtuoso best.' Financial Times

    ‘If you like your Walton unleashed at full and scalding voltage, look no further. The LSO’s trademark virtuosity and panache are so great, and the players’ unravelling of Walton’s demanding part-writing in the First Symphony so clear, that their performance penetrates straight to the heart of the music.’
    BBC Music Magazine

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

    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

    ‘"No one has exposed its troubled heart with greater care than Sir Colin" I wrote. He had a way, too, of making the course of this powerful symphony sound inevitable.’ Classical Companion

    'Outstanding performance.'


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Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra

Walton’s Symphony No 1 and Belshazzar’s Feast, which were written consecutively, helped him 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 coloured by the orchestral forces, including two brass bands. Similarly effervescent, volcanic sentiments simmer beneath the surface of the First Symphony, the music conveying the tensions of the 1930s, whilst remaining timeless in its appeal.

Composer   Walton
Conductor   Sir Colin Davis
Performers   London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra
Soloist   Peter Coleman-Wright 

Track list
1. Belshazzar's Feast: I. "Thus Spake Isaiah"
2. Belshazzar's Feast: II. A Tempo - "If I Forget Thee"
3. Belshazzar's Feast: III. "By the Waters of Babylon"
4. Belshazzar's Feast: IV. "Babylon Was a Great City"
5. Belshazzar's Feast: V. "Praise Ye the God of Gold!"
6. Belshazzar's Feast: VI. Allegro Molto - "Thus in Babylon"
7. Belshazzar's Feast: VII. "Thou, O King, Art King of Kings"
8. Belshazzar's Feast: VIII. "And in That Same Hour"
9. Belshazzar's Feast: IX. "The Trumpeters and Pipers"
10. Belshazzar's Feast: X. Allegro - "Then Sing Aloud to God Our Strength"
11. Symphony No I: I. Allegro assai
12. Symphony No I: II. Scherzo - Presto, con malizia
13. Symphony No I: III. Andante con malincolia
14. Symphony No I: IV. Maestoso - Brioso ed ardentemente - Vivacissimo - Maestoso

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