William Walton’s Façade
Anthony Collins, English Opera Group Ensemble, Dame Edith Sitwell, Peter Pears
You probably won’t find a more definitive version of this music than that found on this disc, what with Edith Sitwell being the author of the poems being narrated, and she having given the first performances of the work in 1923 (via a megaphone, through a hole in the stage’s drop-curtain!) I remember being told that by the time she came to record this (in the 1950s), she wasn’t quite as on-the-ball as she may have been 30 years before, and Peter Pears had to keep kicking her to prod her into coming in on her various cues. I don’t know if that’s true, and I can’t find a source for it now, but it’s a delicious thought!