| Walton - Viola Concerto|
London Symphony Orchestra - Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Barbican Hall London :: November 30 2003
The Times - John Allison
The Viola Concerto is indeed a wonderful piece, one of all too few in which the composer was not audibly ingratiating himself with some or other part of the Establishment. There is a warm humanity here, conjured up right from the start in flexible orchestral playing and the melting tone of Paul Silverthorne's viola. Even in those musings, which seem tangential to the argument, Silverthorne's intensity of line and nuanced playing were compelling.
The middle movement featured virtuoso dialogue between soloist and orchestra, with Gardiner alert to contrapuntal detail. Throughout he ensured that the intricacies of a score in which the soloist melds with small sections of the orchestra were subtly realised. The lyrical finale set the seal on this heartfelt account.
The Guardian - Tom Service
Between these two display pieces was Paul Silverthorne's performance of one of Walton's most intimate orchestral pieces, the Viola Concerto. He relished the melancholy of the soaring solo lines in the first and last movements, and created an acerbic energy in the Scherzo. For all its immediacy, there was nothing sentimental in his playing, and the final moments of the piece, as Silverthorne played a denuded version of the opening movement's theme over a bleak orchestral landscape, were achingly nostalgic.
Financial Times - Richard Fairman
The elegiac Viola Concerto was much to the fore in the Walton centenary last year, perhaps because it is so different from his other major orchestral works. This performance aspired to a certain romantic grandiloquence, with Paul Silverthorne, the LSO's principal viola, making an impressively dark-hued soloist.
Sunday Telegraph - Michael Kennedy
Some people rank the Viola Concerto (1929) as the finest of Walton's works; its blend of sweet-and-sour lyricism and jazzy episodes remains the most characteristic example of the introvert side of his creative personality. It was played with brooding intensity and dark-chocolate tone by Paul Silverthorne, sensitively accompanied by his colleagues of the LSO.