Opera Scotland

William Walton Suggest updates

Sir William Turner Walton.

Born Oldham, 29 March 1902.

Died Ischia, 8 March 1983.

English composer.

Sir William Walton became a hugely popular composer because of his 1940s film music for The First of the Few, Henry V, Richard III, etc. He also composed successful music for the Coronation in a somewhat Elgarian style. He eventually composed successful concertos and symphonies. His vocal output was dominated by two early pieces. Façade, for small ensemble and two reciters used verses by Edith Sitwell. It was followed in 1931 by a very grand cantata, almost an oratorio, with a biblical text adapted by Edith's brother Osbert. Belshazzar's Feast has remained a favourite work for performance by choirs when something is required to make a big impact in a short time. The operatic element of Walton's output ihas been less popular than these earlier works, but Troilus and Cressida, a full-length tragedy derived from Chaucer, and The Bear, a short comedy based on Chekhov, both contain much that is attractive and should be performed more often.

Works performed in Scotland are shown in bold:

1   Belshazzar's Feast (Leeds 1931) (O Sitwell)

2   Troilus and Cressida (London 1954; rev 1976) (Hassall)

3   The Bear (Aldeburgh 1967) (Dehn)

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