Robin Walker: Orchestral Music

The English composer Robin Walker (born in York in 1953) writes music which acknowledges nature as the paramount creative force. Working in a tradition which passes through Beethoven, Brahms, Elgar, Sibelius, Tippett and Birtwistle, he challenges the intellectual emphasis of modernism by channelling emotional energy into form, marrying subjective feeling and discipline in what he calls ‘passionate classicism’. This union of instinct and structure has created some of the most vigorous and exciting orchestral music of recent years, as the four powerful pieces on this CD demonstrate.

Novaya Rossiya Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Walker, conductor

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(3 customer reviews)
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Catalogue No: TOCC0283
EAN/UPC: 5060113442833
Release Date: 01.05.2016
Composer: Robin Walker
Artists: Alexander Walker, Novaya Rossiya Symphony Orchestra

Listen To This Recording:

  1. Great Rock is Dead: Funeral March (2007)
  2. Odysseus on Ogygia: Prelude (2011)
  3. The Stone King: Symphonic Poem (2005)
  4. The Stone Maker: Symphonic Poem (1996)

3 reviews for Robin Walker: Orchestral Music

  1. 5 out of 5
    Rated 5 out of 5


    This is certainly one of my records of 2016 and the most interesting new discovery for me in quite a while. As Rob Barnett points out in his review for MusicWeb International, there aren’t too many contemporary composers writing symphonic poems. So surely both the extended The Stone Maker (1996) and terse The Stone King (2005) must be amongst the finest examples around. They are impressively played and recorded, and their Nordic influences leave a deep impression. This is definitely worth snapping up and I hope Toccata will record more of Walker’s music.

  2. :

    ‘Why it took something this powerful and original this long to make its way into the recording studio is a perplexing mystery, but we should be grateful that it finally did. The “great rock” of Great Rock is Dead is the composer’s father, a World War II veteran… Lasting less than 10 minutes, the enormous weight and sweep of the piece makes it seem much larger than it is: a vast outpouring of grief and anger that feels like something that should be heard at Stonehenge. With its grinding brass and lumbering basses, the piece has a disturbing, atavistic quality that is also strangely exhilarating; in spite of its relatively brief length, by the time it ends—with a concluding series of cadences that the recall the closing bars of the opening movement of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony—you feel you’ve been through a lot. … Wagner would also seem to inform much of the symphonic poem The Stone King from 2005, especially in its eloquent use of the euphonium… Whatever The Stone King’s autobiographical content might be, it’s a gripping 11 minutes that amply rewards repeated hearings. … The Stone Maker feels less like something someone composed than something which welled up from the rocks and trees, with huge blocks of sound forming, collapsing, and grinding into each other in a way that captures and retains the listener’s attention to the very end. Alexander Walker (no relation) and the Novaya Rossiya Symphony approach The Stone Maker—and indeed, all the works on the album—as though they’ve happened upon something extremely important, which it seems they most certainly have. … Robin Walker is one of those one-off, stand-alone, completely unclassifiable composers you’re constantly longing to meet but almost never do. Toccata Classics deserves our heart-felt thanks for making the introductions.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016

  3. :

    ‘The first thing which might strike you about this CD is the fact that a composer … should have this first release of his orchestral music recorded by a little-known Russian orchestra. … This one, under the fine direction of Alexander Walker himself does the composer and the record company proud… To describe this music as beautiful would be hopelessly ambiguous. It has the beauty of the sometimes bleak Northern landscape and this is especially the case in The Stone Maker – Symphonic Poem. … In that he reminds me of Arthur Butterworth who used to find inspiration in walking the moors… Sibelius, who inspired Butterworth, also lies behind Walker’s music not just in its sounds but also in its organic growth. … As you can see I am much taken with this music. Of all the pieces I was most impressed with the shorter symphonic poem The Stone King. Its first part climaxes in an emotional collapse and the second is a resurrection back to what the composer calls ‘equilibrium’. Its length and shape are extremely well balanced and the material is of a high quality. It would be good to hear some of this music live or indeed any of Robin Walker’s works. Perhaps Toccata and Martin Anderson have plans for more, but even if they don’t the disc is well worth searching out. This music is worthy of your complete attention.’ –Music Web International, March 2017

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