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January 28, 2012 / C. J. Sperling

William Walton: “Sonata for Strings”

Why is Walton’s “Sonata for Strings” is so rarely mentioned when it’s about British classical music of the 20th century?

In my (clearly subjective) opinion it’s a masterpiece on par with e.g. Bartók’s “Divertimento for String Orchestra”, or the Dvořák and Tchaikovsky string serenades. It’s clearly outpassing Elgar’s string serenade. (Not reaching Shostakovich op. 110a, though – one of the all-time all-genre favourites of mine).

I must admit that I know next to nothing of Walton’s other works. Might this be the reason? A kind of national grudge, because Walton started great and then enjoyed life, rather than working hard and delivering dozens of great works? Wouldn’t change the worth of this stringQuartet-turned-stringOrchestra work, I think.

So: why?

Here’s the second movement on youtube (the only professional recording I found there, and they show only 2nd and 4th movement… clearly not overrepresented!)

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