Royal Academy of Music Chamber Ensemble

FRANK CLIFF It was, of course, Walton's connection with the Sitwells, Osbert, Sacheverell and Edith wherein lay the Genesis of Façade; specifically the highly individual poetry of Edith, full of eccentric rhythms and rhyme.

FRANK CLIFF

It was, of course, Walton's connection with the Sitwells, Osbert, Sacheverell and Edith wherein lay the Genesis of Façade; specifically the highly individual poetry of Edith, full of eccentric rhythms and rhyme.

The work has undergone various transmogrifications since its first private performance at the Sitwells' London home in 1922; Walton scored an orchestral suite, Ashton created a ballet and it was varied widely in content as the "entertainment" Façade.

It isn't that often one has the opportunity to hear the complete entertainment and the splendid performance was very welcome. I presume they used the first published version of 1951, though there were regrettably no programme notes.

There is a well-known problem with Façade – the words. The quick ones are difficult enough to articulate and making them audible is even harder – microphones are obligatory. The two narrators, Gillian Budd and Edward Talputt, mastered the synchronisation of words and music brilliantly, though there were some problems of audibility; the seven instrumentalists do make a great deal of noise. Here Edward Talputt had the edge over his colleague.

The instrumentalists were superb and it would be impossible to single out any individual for special mention. Finally the ensemble of the whole group, performing with no conductor, was as near perfect as one could get.

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t The Royal Academy of Music Chamber Ensemble performed at the AssemblyHouse.

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