Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast; Coronation Te Deum; Choral Works; Songs

Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast; Coronation Te Deum; Choral Works; Songs
Georg Solti
Catalogue No.

This 2CD set reveals two sides of Walton, the composer of music for the voice. CD1 features the extravagant composer with multiple choirs and a huge orchestra for swaggering performances of the Coronation Te Deum and Belshazzar’s Feast, both with Sir Georg Solti conducting. CD2, with all items released on CD for the first time, features the more intimate side of the composer, with settings of choral miniatures, from the earliest setting (Drop, drop, slow tears of 1917) up to the 1972 Jubilate. Simon Preston’s LP was released on Argo to mark Walton’s 70th birthday. The remainder of the items come from a L’Oiseau-Lyre LP, coupling songs by Walton and Machonchy and performed by Heather Harper. A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for the first City of London Festival; the texts were chosen by the English dramatist and poet Christopher Hassall and the poems come mostly from 18th-century verse related to London. The collection is rounded off with Walton’s Three Songs to poems by Dame Edith Sitwell and date from 1932, all based on the composer’s Façade.


Coronation Te Deum
Salisbury Cathedral Choir
Winchester Cathedral Choir
Chichester Cathedral Choir

Belshazzar’s Feast
Benjamin Luxon, baritone
London Philharmonic Choir
John Alldis

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Georg Solti

CD 2
Jubilate Deo
Set me as a seal upon thine heart
Where does the unuttered music go?
Missa Brevis
The Twelve
A Litany ‘Drop, drop slow tears’
All this time
Make we joy in this fest
What cheer?
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Simon Preston

A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table
Three Sitwell Songs
Heather Harper, soprano
Paul Hamburger, piano


Recording information

Recording producers: James Mallison (Coronation Te Deum, Belshazzar’s Feast); Michael Bremner (CD2: Choral works); unknown (Songs)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, James Lock (Coronation Te Deum, Belshazzar’s Feast); Stanley Goodall (CD2: Choral works); unknown (Songs)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, U.K., March 1977 (Coronation Te Deum, Belshazzar’s Feast); The Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, U.K., April 1972 (CD2: Choral works); unknown (Songs)


‘Decca have done it again, transferring this highly spectacular choral work [Belshazzar’s Feast] with incredible aplomb. The Coronation Te Deum is hardly less impressive, the choral sound richer textured to suit the occasion, and there is a great bass pedal effect near the end. … Solti has come to Belshazzar’s Feast, a great British masterpiece, and in his refreshing way has given it a crisp, international look … It is certainly a most distinctive performance, sharply focused and helped by a recording of superb clarity and brilliance … Indeed the range and bite of the sound here is little short of miraculous’ (Belshazzar’s Feast, Coronation Te Deum) Gramophone

‘The disc thus gives a panorama of the composer’s choral development over five decades … Preston has welded the choir into a most expressive and flexible instrument … The disc does credit to all concerned and will add lustre to the already high standard of Argo recordings in this field.’ (Preston) Gramophone

‘Heather Harper’s singing […] is a constant pleasure. Paul Hamburger, a first-rate accompanist who has appeared far too little on records, plays the quite demanding piano parts with great skill and sensitivity’ (Harper) Gramophone