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Walton: Lilly O’Grady

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: saying silly songs seriously…

Just as some composers probably brag out of proportion about their academic achievement, others, like William Walton, go to the other extreme and play up their self-taught qualities.

In fact, Walton had exemplary educational opportunities. Entering Christ’s Church, Oxford as a chorister at the age of ten, Walton hung around for a bachelor’s degree that he never finished.

After failing several important exams, Walton dropped out at the age of eighteen, living for a time on the largesse of his friends Edith, Osbert, and Sacheveral Sitwell.

Brilliant, talented, and quite wealthy, the Sitwells were the ideal patrons for a blossoming modernist like Walton. Edith’s rather bizarre poetry animates “Façade,” a piece that Walton called an “entertainment” for reciter and chamber ensemble.

The original vocalist was Edith herself, who read her poetry through a megaphone.

Music Heard On This Episode

William Walton (1902-1983): Façade: “Lilly O’Grady”
Pamela Hunter, reciter; Silveer Van den Broek/Melologos Ensemble — William Walton: Façade - (Somethin lies beyond the Scene) (Koch Discover Int'l, 1995)
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album cover
William Walton (1902-1983): Façade: “Lilly O’Grady”
Pamela Hunter, reciter; Silveer Van den Broek/Melologos Ensemble — William Walton: Façade - (Somethin lies beyond the Scene) (Koch Discover Int'l, 1995)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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