C0207. HAMILTON HARTY Cond. London S.O.: Symphony #1 in b-flat; WILLIAM WALTON Cond. London S.O.,
w. FREDERICK RIDDLE: Viola Concerto; DORA STEVENS (S), w.Hubert Foss (Pf.): Three 'Façade' Songs (all William Walton). (England) Dutton CDAX 8003, recorded 1935-40. Transfers by Michael J. Dutton. - 765387800321
“Thanks in no small part to the advocacy of both Sir Thomas Beecham and Albert Coates, Harty was appointed permanent conductor of the Hall Orchestra in 1920, a position he retained until 1933. During this time he introduced many new works by composers such as Sibelius, Bax, Walton and Richard Strauss, although his own two 'private deities' (as he called them) were Mozart and Berlioz. As a conductor, indeed, his name is particularly associated with the latter composer, with whom he had a lifelong affinity. He also made a considerable impression during his tours of the USA in the 1930s, developing a close rapport with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.”
- Peter Quinn
“Whilst Riddle is perhaps not so well known as his contemporary and countryman William Primrose, he - similarly inspired by the older Lionel Tertis - is just as important in the history of the viola. In character he was more self-effacing than Primrose and Tertis, both of whom wrote autobiographies and pushed the viola as a serious solo instrument; Riddle preferred the quieter life of the orchestral player to the glare of the spotlight.
Greatly inspired by seeing Albert Sammons perform, Riddle began on the violin and already had a number of concertos in his repertoire when he entered London’s Royal College of Music at the age of sixteen; but here he switched to the viola, finding that he took quite naturally to its larger size and more muscular techniques.
It was Tertis himself who in 1937 suggested Riddle as soloist for the first recording of Walton’s Viola Concerto; Tertis had previously declined to give the work its first performance, saying that he could not comprehend such a new musical language, and Paul Hindemith had given the premiere. On Riddle’s advice several alterations were made to the score, and it was his edited version of the viola part and his recording that Walton always preferred. The LSO here sounds significantly more modern than in its recordings with Elgar only four or five years earlier. Whilst more recent players have brought greater virtuosity to the fore in this work, Riddle’s reserved objectivity eminently suits Walton’s somewhat remote writing. This recording put Riddle more in the limelight than perhaps he ever intended and he became a popular soloist and recording artist: notable premières include concertos by Arthur Benjamin (1948) and Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1953).
He was held in very high regard in his lifetime and it is to be hoped that his recorded legacy will ensure he is not forgotten."
- David Milsom, Naxos' A–Z of String Players