Rembrandt — Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker.
But if Belshazzar can appear wicked, raucous, barbaric and outlandishly exuberant to us now, what must it have sounded like to polite singers and audiences in Leeds schooled in the smooth oratorios of the Victorian era? Then there was the text itself. The other, that brilliance in him was glittering, clean, hard, rapier-like.
The pathos was not far removed from agony; the brilliance foreshadowed powers that might be devastating. The score What was commissioned by the BBC in as a short piece for modest instrumental and vocal forces and two soloists somehow metamorphosed into a monster.
Add to that a huge double chorus and a baritone soloist. The score falls roughly into three sections: Investing these transitions with a sort of natural, human gait — so the music appears to be collapsing almost literally — is one of the interpretative essentials in any recording of Belshazzar, and you know instantly whether a conductor has pulled it off or not.
There are exceptions to the rule where conditions you might not think are ideal actually work pretty well Winchester Cathedral for Andrew Litton; the Barbican Hall, London, for Colin Davisbut few recordings are entirely without blemishes that include curdling full-ensemble sound, missed detail or basic lack of presence.
A far bigger variable than orchestral characteristics are those of the choral singers. There are recordings with multiple choirs, single choirs and amateur choral societies with professional or semi-professional stiffeners. Perhaps the pay-off is the unbridled joy that amateur choirs tend to radiate in this roller-coaster score, not least in the string of triumphant alleluias that make up its final furlong.
A possible reason for that consistency was referred to earlier.
In the s Walton had been writing foxtrots for the Savoy Orpheus Band, and in he started work on a concerto for two pianos, jazz band and orchestra which was eventually abandoned.
Perhaps in the swing of Belshazzar — with its clattering percussion, strident piano, slippery trombones, wah-wah trumpets and grooving saxophone — we get a taste of that piece which never was. Walton and his time The gramophone was moving beyond its status as an expensive toy just as William Walton was coming to maturity.
That slightly dry and sonically shaky recording featuring the baritone Dennis Noble was followed up by the rather more secure, stereo version from The soloist Noble is just as stentorian as he was for Walton a decade previously.
The concentration or concern? Previn had made an audio recording a decade earlier for EMI, that time with the LSO and its chorus, which sounds notably more shrill than the later Philharmonia Chorus. More problematic is a general lack of definition to the choral sound that makes consonants indecipherable and words generally inaudible.
John Shirley-Quirk lacks the command that other soloists bring, and his vowels are indistinct. This is very much an account in which singing leads over playing.
The surprise package is from the middle of the decade: The miracle is that the resonant sound, in Winchester Cathedral, actually works: I hesitate to recommend a recording with the odd strange tempo and in which some of the more fascinating corners of the score can sound as if in the shadows.
The rhythmic impetus is alive and wriggling under Rattle too, and his baritone Thomas Hampson is clean and warm, perhaps without the final lining of drama that Terfel provides. The acoustic puts some space around the sound, but the forces have impact nonetheless.
Peter Coleman-Wright is a perfect baritone soloist who takes superlative care with the notes but sounds unfailingly evocative too.The first performance of Sir William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, at Leeds Town Hall on October 8, , reportedly set the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival ablaze.
However well you know the piece, it’s not difficult to sense why that might have been. But if Belshazzar can appear wicked. Buy Belshazzars Feast (Study Score) by William at ashio-midori.com Edited by Steuart Bedford. For baritone solo, mixed choir & orchestra Belshazzar's Feast.
William Walton/ed. Steuart Bedford - Oxford This edition combines the scholarship of the William Walton Edition with the practical benefits of the smaller format. Orchestral material. Belshazzar's feast, or the story of the writing on the wall The choral work Belshazzar's Feast by the English composer William Walton; "The writing on the wall" is sometimes also referred to by the use of some combination of the words "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin", as they were written on the wall in tale of Belshazzar's.
The first performance of Sir William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, at Leeds Town Hall on October 8, , reportedly set the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival ablaze. However well you know the piece, it’s not difficult to sense why that might have been. by William Walton ( - ), "Belshazzar's Feast" [baritone, chorus, brass bands, and orchestra] text verified 1 time Text added to the website: The story about Belshazzar's feast in the Book of Daniel is the basis of the phrase "The writing is on the wall".
People who have used "the feast" as inspiration include William Shakespeare, .