John Wilson conductor
William Walton once declared: ‘I seriously advise all sensitive composers to die at the age of 37. I know: I’ve gone through the first halcyon period and am just about ripe for my critical damnation.’
King Henry V of England, who incidentally died aged 35, was a figure Walton felt a close affinity to, and it took publishers nearly three decades to convince the composer to permit independent arrangements of his score.
Walton’s Suite from Henry V is comprised of five sections which depict the fanfare at The Globe Playhouse; the death of the knight Falstaff; the king leading his country in the Hundred Years’ War, namely the victorious Battle of Agincourt; his courting of the French princess, Catherine of Valois, through the lilting lullaby ‘Touch Her Soft Lips and Part’; and finally a triumphant ‘Agincourt Song’ to conclude the Suite.
The work was originally composed for Laurence Olivier’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry, for which it was also awarded an Academy Award for Best Score.
This concert is part of the Three Choirs Festival series