#Classical365: 25 – Walton Symphony No.1

Opted for Walton 1 (another work I haven’t heard before) for today’s workout. Walton’s technicolour orchestral palette is a exhilarating listening experience.

I always associate him with the 1950s, a late Twentieth Century rose-tinted view of post-war optimism transmogrified into a wall of orchestral sound. That’s probably down to Crown Imperial more than anything else.

Just as Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches wallow in comparison with his symphonies, so too Walton’s ever-popular marches and overtures should be overlooked in favour of his longer-form works. I won’t comment now on Belshazzar’s Feast as I don’t know that very well either, but his first symphony proves the point on one listen.

I’m sure I heard elements of Sibelius and Copland in the third and fourth movements respectively. John Barry and John Williams must surely have nabbed some Walton colour for their own subsequent orchestrations too.

No matter. Walton 1 is (largely) loud, driving, intricate and dazzling. Not words which could be used to describe the workout it accompanied. Full of good intent, but the second circuit of exercises was way out of reach. A challenge for tomorrow.

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