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Latest News from W. Walton Trust

12 CD Disks including: Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor Symphony No. 2 Violin Concerto Viola Concerto Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten Portsmouth Point Overture Scapino: A Comedy Overture Siesta Sonata for String Orchestra Cello Concerto Crown Imperial Orb and Sceptre Johannesburg Festival Overture Capriccio burlesco Spitfire Prelude & Fugue Battle of Britain Suite Variations on a Theme by Hindemith Henry V - Suite As You Like It: A Poem for Orchestra after Shakespeare Richard III Suite Façade The Wise Virgins Partita for Orchestra Sinfonia Concertante String Quartet in A Minor Piano Quartet Violin Sonata Five Bagatelles for solo guitar Belshazzar's Feast Troilus and Cressida The Bear A Queen's Fanfare

Dancing Henry Five is a reduction of Shakespeare’s Henry V incorporating theatre, narration, scenery, prop manipulation and dance to convey the story of Henry’s ascension to the throne of Britain and his defeat of the French at the Battle of Agincourt. Directed, choreographed and designed by postmodern icon David Gordon, the hour-long production provokes an ironic reflection on the (im)morality of war.

Robert La Fosse joins the ensemble of seven dancers including Karen Graham and (narrator) Valda Setterfield, who manipulate and interact with folding chairs, pieces of cloth, tables, a ladder and stuffed dummies, set to a score of musical excerpts by William Walton from the 1945 film version of Henry V, and recordings of performances of the play by Laurence Olivier and Christopher Plummer. MORE INFO >

Sir William Walton’s coronation march Crown Imperial will mark the end of the Royal Wedding Service of Prince William and Kate Middleton, it was confirmed today.

The orchestral score, published by Oxford University Press (OUP), was originally commissioned for the coronation of Prince William’s great-grandfather George VI in 1937.

A specially abridged version of the piece will now be performed at the conclusion of tomorrow’s wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton — marking the bride’s entrance into the royal family.

David Blackwell, Head of the Music Department at Oxford University Press, said: “Crown Imperial distils the essence of British regal ceremonial in music. It is an arresting piece ideal for a royal event such as tomorrow’s wedding, and we are extremely proud that it is being performed on this important day.”

Recorded live at Woolsey Hall, this full length commercial CD released on the Nimbus record labelshowcases the artistic mastery of the NHSO and Music Director William Boughton conductingWilliam Walton’s Symphony No. 1 and his Violin Concerto featuring internationally-renownedviolinist and Connecticut native Kurt Nikkanen. “These are splendidly idiomatic performances, displaying a natural understanding of the flexibilityneeded in interpreting Walton's jazzy syncopated writing...it adds to the attractions of the discthat this ideal coupling of two pre-war masterpieces is a rare, if not unique pairing.” GramophoneMagazine MORE INFO >

On March 21, Lady Susana Walton, widow of the composer Sir William Walton, and a charismatic figure in the world of gardening and music, passed away peacefully at her home, La Mortella, on the Island of Ischia. She was 83 years old. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1926, Susana might have led a quiet, comfortable life amid the haute bourgeoisie into which she was born, but she had other ideas. An independent-minded girl full of passion and curiosity about the world, she wanted to work, to challenge herself. At the age of twenty-two, despite the disapproval of her family, she took a job at the British Council in Buenos Aires. It was there that she met William Walton, a well-known British composer, who was then forty-six. He had traveled to Argentina to participate in a conference; Susana organized a press conference to introduce him to the Argentine press corps. There, he noticed this attractive and vivacious brunette with enormous gray eyes amid a crowd of journalists and decided on the spot that this was the woman with whom he wished to spend the rest of his days. That same evening, Walton asked for her hand in marriage. Despite her initial misgivings, after two weeks Susana accepted, much to the dismay of her own family and of Walton’s friends and colleagues, who were unconvinced by this tale of love at first sight. Dspite the naysayers, the two were married two months later, after which they departed for Europe. With Susana at his side, William was able to fulfill his dream of leaving England and making a life in Italy. In October of 1949, the couple moved to Forio d’Ischia. After renting a house for a few years, the Waltons bought a piece of land where they planned to build their own home. They asked the famous landscape architect Russell Page to help them design a garden on this wild plot carved out of volcanic rock. Page, a great admirer of Walton’s music, agreed, and it was he who designed the basic plan of the garden. But the practical realization of Russell Page’s project—the overseeing of the work, the selection and distribution of plants, in short, the actual creation of this wonderful garden of La Mortella—was left to Susana Walton. For over fifty years, she has devoted her legendary energy, her indefatigable enthusiasm, her passion, and her botanical wisdom to this garden. After Sir William Walton’s death in 1983, Susana transformed the property into a living monument to the life and genius of her husband, through the creation of the Fondazione William Walton e La Mortella, which has the twin objectives of promoting musical education and performance by young artists, and the protection of the garden with the purpose of promoting a love of nature and gardening. La Mortella opened its doors to the public in 1992; since then the number of visitors has increased yearly, reaching a peak of 70,000 in 2007. Many of those visitors had the unforgettable experience of encountering Lady Walton as she worked tirelessly in the garden, discussing projects with the gardeners, pulling the odd weed, stopping to admire a flower, or greeting a visitor and telling him a colorful story about a particular plant or about her life with William. Thanks to Susana’s efforts, the Fondazione now organizes visits to the garden and public concerts, courses for young musicians, music festivals, and masterclasses. Until recently, Lady Walton continued to manage every aspect of the garden and the Fondazione’s many projects, the most recent of which was the creation of the “Greek Theatre”, an open-air amphitheatre with a magnificent view of Forio, filled with aromatic plants. In this theatre, symphonic and operatic concerts, showcasing young artists, are held during the summer months. During her lifetime, several honors were conferred upon Lady Walton, including an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Nottingham in England, an MBE (Member of the British Empire), and the title of Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana. She is the author of two books: Behind the Façade, a biography of Sir William Walton, and La Mortella—an Italian Garden Paradise, a history of her garden at La Mortella. According to her wishes, her ashes will be buried in the “Nymphaeum” on the mountainside at La Mortella, near those of her husband. www.lamortella.org This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alessandra Vinciguerra writes:

“I would like to report about the sojourn of the small contingent from the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia. The experience has been totally positive and thrilling. The group arrived on May 17th and left on June 2nd. During these days a total of 6 students came here: a string quartet, the Vertigo Quartet, who stayed throughout the 2 weeks; then a pianist for the first few days, and a baritone for about 10 days. Two members of the Faculty accompanied the students: Dean Bob Fitzpatrick for the first 10 days, and the Head of the Voice Dept, Mikael Eliassen, for about a week. Finally Roberto Diaz, the new president (from June 1st), came for only one day and gave a masterclass on the Viola Concerto, attended by a student from the Fiesole School
(who appreciated it so much that she asked if she could attend more masterclasses by him!). The Curtis students performed in 6 concerts, 3 each weekend, with a very rich program (they never repeated a piece). The quality of the performances was really amazing, and the public was so enthusiastic that we had a full house for every concert. At the end of the last concert the baritone sang a serenade, a love song, in honour of Lady Walton to thank her for the hospitality!

The William Walton Trust awarded Italian musicologist Paolo Petrocelli a grant for his research on William Walton’s Violin Concerto.

The Trust is delighted to be supporting the RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival from 2nd to 6th May 2007. The ninth RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival has as its theme British music. Major cellists from around the world will be taking part. The Festival's most prestigious concert will be given at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Saturday 5th May 2007 by the BBC Philharmonic with their principal conductor, Gianandrea Noseda and will highlight the Walton Cello Concerto performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

A new book on William Walton has been published by the Cambridge Scholars Publishing. “The Resonance of a Small Voice: William Walton and the Violin Concerto in England between 1900 and 1940”, by Italian musicologist Paolo Petrocelli. This book constitutes both a study and a historical musicological analysis of Sir William Walton's Violin Concerto, treating the form of the violin concerto in general in England, as it developed between 1900 and 1940, taking into consideration the works of Charles Villiers Stanford, Edward Elgar, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Frederick Delius, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Somervell, Arnold Bax and Benjamin Britten.



The aim of this dissertation is to present a study and an historical-musicological analysis of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra of Sir William Walton, discussing more specifically the shape of the Concerto for Violin in England between 1900 and 1940, taking into consideration the works of Charles Villiers Stanford, Edward Elgar, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Frederick Delius, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Somervell, Arnold Bax and Benjamin Britten.

The thesis is divided in three parts:
- the first discusses the Concertos for Violin and Orchestra of the composers active in England between 1900 and 1920: Stanford*, Elgar, Coleridge-Taylor, Delius.
- the second discusses the Concertos for Violin and Orchestra of the composers active in England between 1920 and 1940: Vaughan Williams, Somervell, Bax, Britten.
- The third part discusses the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra of William Walton.

At the beginning there is a brief digression on the shape of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra between the XIX and XX century in Europe, aimed to provide base knowledge of the characteristics of this musical form and to initiate a comparison between the various national composing styles.

Each part is introduced by means of a generic historical-musical description of England and presents, after a biographical exposition of the composers, a formal, structural, harmonic and aesthetic analysis more or less extensive of the single concerts, along with a study of the technical aspects of the performance and a reflection on the composer-performer relationship. At the end of each part a comparative compendium is presented.

The first and second part are entirely developed in function of the third, that discusses exclusively and in a more detailed manner the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra of William Walton, the work that provoked the most interest in me.

To conclude the introduction, in the appendix there are some unpublished quotes, gained during the research work for this dissertation, given by well-known composers, regarding some of the discussed concertos, particularly in relation to Walton's. I believe this to be a precious contribution, that enriches and completes a reflection started in the dissertation, on the purely technical aspect of music for violin of British composers in the first half of the XIX century.

* Concerto in D major Op.74 (1899), last concerto for violin and orchestra of the XIX century in England.

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