Edward Gardner, a Chandos exclusive artist, conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two great masterpieces by William Walton, his Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 1.
Walton burst onto the British musical scene in his twenties, the success of works such as Façade, the Viola Concerto, and Belshazzar’s Feast establishing him in both the avant-garde and the mainstream of British composers. The obvious next step for Walton was to compose a symphony and he was duly commissioned to do so by Sir Hamilton Harty in 1932. The first complete performance of his Symphony No. 1, in 1935, was a triumph, immediately gaining the work an honoured place in British music which it has never lost. It is a highly virtuosic work with a remarkable expressive range, in turns powerful and broad, malicious, melancholic, and majestic.
The Violin Concerto was written in 1938 in response to a commission from Jascha Heifetz. The solo part reflects not only the legendary virtuosity for which Heifetz was famous, but also the sweetness and purity of his playing of long lyrical lines. In this recording the soloist is Tasmin Little whose acclaimed recordings of concertos by Britten, Elgar, Delius, and Moeran on Chandos have already established her as one of the foremost interpreters of British music for the violin.