Norman Stinchcombe interviews Christopher Morley about the Walton Facade centenary CD -- and the Henry V 600th!
The story of how William Walton's 'Façade' came to be composed is as odd as the work itself but how the independent record label SOMM came to record it for a centenary celebration of its 1922 premiere is pretty odd too – involving Tubby the Tuba – as Norman Stinchcombe found out. Walton was a musical high-flyer, entering Oxford University aged 16, but a Latin and Greek duffer who never graduated. Obscurity beckoned, but at Oxford he became acquainted with all-round aesthete Sacheverell Sitwell. He invited Walton to lodge in the Chelsea house he shared with his equally artistic brother Osbert. Eventually came the idea of a musical collaboration with their sister Edith. She would recite her avant-garde abstract poems with the 19-year-old Walton supplying the musical accompaniment. Edith, as outré as any of the characters in her book 'English Eccentrics', recited them through a hole in a painted curtain, her voice amplified by a Sengerphone (a Wagnerian megaphone) t