The Two Faces of Composer William Walton— A Jacobsen Series Concert

September 12, 2012


Walton’s extremes of musical expression can be heard Friday, Sept. 14


TACOMA, Wash. – English composer William Walton was a musical genius whose artistry could evoke a sense of scandal among audience members one evening, and draw sighs of reverence another.

Nine months into the 110th year since Walton’s birth, University of Puget Sound is celebrating the controversial composer with a Jacobsen Series concert titled Featuring William Walton: The Man Behind the Façade. The public concert, conducted by Gerard Morris, will be Friday, Sept. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Ticket information is below.

The concert will juxtapose two Walton compositions that show the opposing sides of his musical talent—from the levity of the avant-garde showman, to the depth of the technical master. An unusual collection of 10 individual instruments and a single voice will present the two works.

“The whole listening experience is akin to strange and colorful dreams that range from the nonsensical and silly to the ghostly sublime,” said Fred Winkler, affiliate artist, saxophone, who organized the concert.

The program will start with Walton’s String Quartet in a minor, a 1947 composition that has been described as one of his finest achievements.

“Listeners will be excited by its energy and refreshed by its beautiful, melodic lines,” Winkler said.

Façade—An Entertainment will follow. The 1923 piece was Walton’s first great success. Its initial public appearance, however, attracted some scathing reviews and spurred English playwright Noel Coward to walk out of the theater in outrage.

The public concert involved British poet Edith Sitwell reciting verses from her poem “Façade” though a megaphone from behind a screen, while Walton conducted a collection of six instruments. The Illustrated London News wrote afterward, “The audience was at first inclined to treat the whole thing as an absurd joke, but there is always a surprisingly serious element in Miss Sitwell’s poetry and Mr. Walton’s music ... which soon induced the audience to listen with breathless attention.”

Artists for the Jacobsen Series evening will include Timothy Christie, violin; Karla Flygare, flute; Gunnar Folsom, percussion; Erin Happenny ’13, piccolo; Gerard Morris, conductor; Jennifer Nelson, clarinet; Dawn Padula, mezzo soprano; Joyce A. Ramée, viola; David Requiro, cello; Maria Sampen, violin; Judson Scott, trumpet; and Fred Winkler, saxophone.

For tickets order online at http://tickets.pugetsound.edu, or contact Wheelock Information Center to purchase with a credit card by calling 253.879.3419. Admission is $12.50 for the general public; $8.50 for seniors (55+), students, military, and Puget Sound faculty and staff. The concert is free for current Puget Sound students with Puget Sound ID. Remaining tickets will be available at the door.

For directions and a map of the campus: www.pugetsound.edu/directions

Photo on page: William Walton, circa 1928, by Elizabeth Corcorran

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