Symphony No. 2 (Walton)

The Symphony No. 2 known as The Liverpool Symphony was composed by the English composer William Walton was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Pritchard gave the first performance in 1960 at the Edinburgh Festival.

The work is in three movements.

  1. Allegro molto
  2. Lento assai
  3. Passacaglia: Theme, Variations, Fugato, and Coda-Scherzando

It is scored for a large symphony orchestra comprising 2 flutes,piccolo (doubling flute), 2 oboes, cor anglais (doubling oboe), 2 clarinets (second doubling clarinet in E flat), bass clarinet (doubling clarinet), 3 bassoons (third doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion instruments (four players), piano, celeste, 2 harps and strings. The symphony was the subject of harsh press criticism on account of its seemingly conservative style at a time when the European avant-garde style was in its ascendance. With time, however, it has been recognised as a mature, subtle and superbly crafted work with many refinements of orchestration, a characteristic of this composer. The finale is notable for its use of a twelve -tone Note-Row, a device used in Serial music.

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