Matthew Jones violin
Sarah-Jane Bradley viola
Tim Lowe cello
Annabel Thwaite piano

Naxos 8.573892

Walton shows flashes of astonishing genius in this composition of his punchy four-movement Piano Quartet written in 1919 at the tender age of just 16. It is a juvenile gem from the late Romantic era.

Here riveting Waltonian moods are sublimely captured in a sparkling performance of unashamed sentimentality.

This is gripping music of real vitality and ingenuity, packed with a musical creativity which was destined to mature so convincingly in ensuing years.

After this marked beginning, Walton seldom returned to chamber music during his auspicious career. This disc contains all the chamber music Walton composed for violin and piano duo. The Violin Sonata is in the unusual shape of two movements, the second a theme and variations with a coda lasting for an overall 25 minutes and completed in 1949.

Here revealed is a fascinating exposure of Walton’s complex musical personality. Walton later labelled the Toccata as “the product of a drooling baby.”

Pianist, Annabel Thwaite is no pedestrian player but provides beautiful harmonies.

The end result benefits from vivid record engineering. This splendid budget-priced recording comes from London’s Guildhall School of Music and is a real revelation, giving an insightful impact from well-balanced individual players. A winner!

Review by Chris Bye