Façades - Music By William Walton And Constant La
Label: SOMM RECORDS
Catalog: SOMMCD 0614
West, Andrew; Woodley, Ronald; Geer, James
SOMM Recordings explores one of the most significant partnerships in 20th-century British music with Façades, an album of piano-accompanied songs and music for four-hand piano by William Walton and Constant Lambert. Façades takes its title from Walton’s era-defining “entertainment”, heard here in arrangements for four-hand piano of its two orchestral Suites by Lambert – regarded by Walton as the definitive reciter of Edith Sitwell’s nonsense verses. Lambert’s Trois pièces nègres pour les touches blanches for piano duet are a kaleidoscopic, jazz-accented tour de force exploration of the piano’s white keys. Described by the composer as an “idyll”, Walton’s Siesta (also for two-player piano) is, says Ronald Woodley in his entertaining and informative booklet notes, “infused with the clear light and open charm of Italy”. The eight song settings by Lambert of poems by the eighth-century Chinese poet Li Po are “exquisitely crafted, restrained and often enigmatic miniatures [marked by an] elusive and allusive musical style”. Completing the recital, a selection of songs by Walton range from Tudor pastiche (Under the Greenwood Tree) to the atonal-inflected Tritons and lyrically captivating Beatriz’s Song. Making their SOMM debuts are tenor James Geer and his accompanist in the songs, pianist Ronald Woodley. The latter is joined at the keyboard in the four-hand piano arrangements by Andrew West whose previous SOMM recordings include three acclaimed volumes of Parry’s English Lyrics.