GEORGE WALKER (b.1922): Sinfonia No. 1, Sinfonia No. 3, Address, Overture: In Praise of Folly, Hoopla (A Touch of Glee).
Catalogue Number: 10K072
Reference: TROY 1061
Description: Address is a thoroughly structured, substantial three-movement work, boldly orchestrated and somewhat neo-romantic in style. The first movement is a vigorous allegro in constantly shifting meter, interrupted by lyrical episodes, with something of Shostakovich or Prokofiev about it. A melancholy, sparsely scored slow movement follows, and then a somber passacaglia with 15 variations, which increase in density and drama. The overture begins with a portentous opening a là Dohnanyi's Nursery variations, but soon undermines its own sense of importance through the incorporation of a variety of transmuted but perfectly recognizable fragments of musical Americana. The Sinfonia No.1 consists of two strongly contrasting movements, the first tense and dramatic, the second a high-energy scherzo incorporating increasingly insistent percussion, which finally threatens to overwhelm the texture. The three-movement Sinfonia No.3 begins with a tautly structured first movement followed by a slow movement of somewhat astringent harmony which builds a powerful climax before subsiding to make way for the increasingly insistent and powerful finale which alternates propulsive brass-driven music with moments of static tension, not unlike a typical Sallinen finale. Hoopla is an occasional piece, a noisy, bustling celebration of the centennial of the city of Las Vegas. Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson.