I was listening to “Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin” on WQXR last night. This week, he’s featuring the music of William Walton. Here is how his website describes Walton & the programming for the week:
Inspired by a composer that was in the vanguard of British music in the 20th century, Benjamin Britten once wrote that hearing William Walton’s music was a “great turning point in his musical life.” We’ll trace the arc of Walton’s life and his associations with some of the greatest artists of his time.
Just before I turned in for the night, I heard him introduce “Façade” as a track that really captured the spirit of the 1920s—setting poems by the Sitwells to music. He said the whole thing sounds like a bunch of people who’ve gotten drunk on bathtub gin.
Well, the bathtub gin was in the US—there was no Prohibition in England—but I certainly agree that this is a trippy, drunken nutty piece. The online playlist lists the 10 minute suite as containing the following sections: Hornpipe, En Famille, Mariner Man, Long Steel Grass ,Through Gilded Trellises ,Tango – Pasodoble. It sounded to me like a mad mix of spoken word, Elgar and ragtime. You can buy the recording on Amazon or iTunes. I wish one of you would & would tell us what to think.