Dudamel conducts Walton?

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Dudamel conducts Walton?

I was listening to Walton's 1st Symphony today and it suddenly struck me what Dudamel and his Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra might do with the piece. What do people think?

Their very sharp rhythmic sense and enthusiasm (this is young man's music...) I imagine would certainly pay dividends. Of course Walton's 1st isn't just about playing it as a showpiece - you need a strong grasp on structure and symphonic process too (especially in that magnificent quasi-Sibelian opening movement).

Still, I've heard a couple of recordings of Walton's 1st recently which are fine performances overall, with understanding of and feeling for the music, but which would have been all the more compelling if the actual playing had been more secure, rhythmically supple and sonorous.

On a tangential note, I think DG have really missed a trick in not recording Dudamel and the SBYO in the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. I thought it was immensely exciting (subtle as well as visceral) when they brought it to the Proms for that extraordinary concert a few years back.  

John

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

John Gardiner wrote:

I was listening to Walton's 1st Symphony today and it suddenly struck me what Dudamel and his Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra might do with the piece. What do people think?

Interesting. I own four Walton 1s and have heard about a dozen others on record and still haven't heard one that matches the version in my head. Previn runs it close in movements 1, 2 and 4 but sprawls a bit in the third. Daniel does a very good job but is let down by his recording and is a tad stiff. I agree, grasp of structure is essential (not a Previn strong point) as is a sort of jazz sense of rhythm - pinpoint but not angular, and with a little swing. It's also essential to cut loose at several points. This is tense, fiery, emotional music, young man's music as you say. A monumental work. Dudamel has the fire and sense of rhythm, I haven't heard enough of him to comment on his ability to convey structure. Too bad Bernstein didn't record it (to my knowledge). Perhaps he was jealous.

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

Tagalie, Have you heard Boult's live December 3, 1975  BBC Symphony performance of the Walton?  He does the 3rd movement in 7:13 minutes, much faster than his 1956 recording, which was 9:50 minutes, about the same as Walton took in his live August 23, 1959 performance with the Royal Philharmonic?  I'd be interested in hearing your view of the faster tempo.

Bliss
RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

It's hard to get right, I agree. I got to know it via the LPO/Slatkin recording, of which I'm still fond (the sound needs to be turned up a bit), and I like the CBSO/Rattle version too, slightly studied in places as it is. I was at one of the concerts from which the LSO/Colin Davis version on LSO Live was taken, and wasn't overly gripped then or on CD, although he certainly has the measure of the music's structure.

That's really the thing, I suppose: marrying fire and jazzy bite with symphonic pacing. I imagine Bernstein might well have done it brilliantly in the 1960s (rather as he did Shostakovich's 5th at that period, perhaps?), but I just bet that, as with the Previn Walton 1st on RCA, we'd now be stuck with a very good version in less than ideal sound.

John

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

7:13?!! I thought you meant the second movement at first. Even 9:50 is 40 seconds faster than my fastest version - Handley. I can't picture melancholy at that speed though I did hear one of the Boults at a friend's house about 40 years ago and recall being impressed. Looking at the timings on my versions I see Previn (RCA, I'd forgotten he did it again) clocks in at 11:19, exactly the same as Daniel yet he seems longer. Somehow he lets the balance between tension and hopelessness become something akin to lethargy.

As for Walton's own speed I'm inclined to take composers' recordings with a grain of salt. Most of them rip through their own works whether it's Elgar or VW reportedly trying to accomodate old recording parameters or Strauss anxious to get to his skat game.

I don't find the Previn RCA recording too bad, John. There's some noticeable fiddling with the controls at the end when the timpani cut loose but otherwise it sounds better on my equipment than either the Handley (very recessed) or Daniel (two-dimensional and edgy). 

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

Maybe a bit OT, but did any of you already play the Dudamel game?
It's hilarious! Total Guitar hero rip-off, but who cares :)

http://www.laphil.com/gustavo/bravo.html

Rolf

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

Ha ha. That's great fun, Rolf. I did very badly, but I like to think that that's because my beat is a little Furtwanglerian...

John

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

Hilarious stuff, I was very proud of myself to see I got over 5000, then I saw the leader board, umm.

On a serious note though there´s does seem to be a dearth of contributions lately, as Vic said, until that is somebody mentions a particular work or composer, as in the case of Walton´s First Symphony here or Bartok the other day. For that reason I´ve always thought that the forum could do with a composer of the week, or work of the week to focus discussion. What do you guys and gals think?

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

It was surprisingly hard work, wasn't it? I never quite worked out whether I was supposed to be simultaneously giving cues to different departments, and whether my keyboard was up to it... Even just trying to give one main cue I got into a pickle, despite flattering myself that I know the music. This march to the scaffold moves at a fair lick, doesn't it?

I like your idea, Durob, but I wonder who would regulate or suggest the topics? Part of the fun of the forum - part also of its frustration (because we post about things we feel interested in/passionate about) - is hopefully posting a topic and seeing whether anyone takes it up or not.

John

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

I couldn´t get any of the tuttis bang on, clearly this is young man´s music, or certainly someone with greater flexibility at the keyboard than me. As for my suggestion, I don´t know if it goes against house rules, but I would be more than happy to nominate a composer once a week completely at random based on what I happen to be listening to, if I thought others would be interested. Although if only one poster was responsible, the personal bias may get tiresome. I don´t for one moment think I am any more qualified than other posters to do this, in fact I´m sure the contrary is the case, it´s just I´m sad eniough to try it. If anyone has a better idea please say so.

RE: Dudamel conducts Walton?

Shoot! I just put together a long and unbelievably erudite post on dubrob's suggestion re. discussion of particular composers, and found the server had unlogged me. Technical problems on this site continue.

Can't be bothered doing it again, so the gist is: don't see why anything has to be official. I was delighted to see JG open this thread on what I consider to be one of THE great works and if anybody wants to dive into any other work or composer, I'm game.

Before dub opens up, I have to admit I know very little of Xenakis (Pete to Dud, "How much do you know?", Dud to Pete, "Noffink.") but just about anybody else works for me.

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