William Walton (1902-1983) first came to prominence in the early 1920s with Façade, instrumental music written to accompany the recitation of poems by Edith Sitwell. Other successes of this decade include the orchestral overture Portsmouth Point and the Viola Concerto, the latter being one of the finest examples of its type. Subsequent works include the oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast, a major contribution to the English oratorio tradition, and scores for three of Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare films, Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III. Walton composed music for two coronations: Crown Imperial, for the coronation of George VI in 1937, and Orb and Sceptre for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 (Crown Imperial was reprised at this coronation). He was knighted in 1951. In the late 1940s he moved to the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples where he lived for the remainder of his life. Today, concerts are held in his former home, which sits in one of the most beautiful private gardens in Italy, the Giardini La Mortella.

© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra