When it comes to sheer choral chutzpah there’s little to rival Walton’s biblical blockbuster. Two vibrant cityscapes and a Te Deum fit for a Queen crown a night of jubilation writ large.
Walton Portsmouth Point Overture
Walton Coronation Te Deum
Elgar Cockaigne (In London Town)
Walton Belshazzar’s Feast
Conductor Adrian Partington
Chorus Director Hilary Campbell
Baritone David Soar
A frisky overture, a dash of ecclesiastical pomp and circumstance, and Elgar’s ‘steak and stouty’ portrait of Edwardian London set the scene for a choral stalwart that takes no hostages. “Why not throw in a brass band?” suggested conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Walton added two to Belshazzar’s Feast – along with an anvil and an ear-popping battery of percussion. Little wonder that after its 1931 premiere one critic wrote of “red hot conception… finding red hot means”. An energised and energising Babylonian feast. Tuck in!
David Soar’s “lofty projection and unstinting eloquence” (Gramophone) are to the fore as Bristol Choral Society and the Philharmonia reconvene to chart Belshazzar’s downfall – chillingly foretold by the writing on the wall. Its exuberant coda adds a glittering climax to Adrian Partington’s final concert conducting Bristol Choral Society.
This concert is supported by a generous donation from the estate of Sir Charles and Lady MacKerras.
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