The William Walton Edition is a collected edition of the works of one of England's finest and best-loved composers. Each work is newly edited and engraved, and checked against the composer's manuscript, previous published editions, and all other relevant material. The result is a definitive and fully practical edition, based on the form in which the composer ultimately wished it to be performed. Walton wrote much of his Violin Concerto during a stay in Italy, completing the work in 1939. It was commissioned by Jascha Heifetz and premiered by him later that year. It was revised in 1943 and an Appendix to the volume shows Walton's original solo part, which differs from the later version in details of bowing, articulation, and occasional revision to notes. The Cello Concerto dates from 1956, a commission from Gregor Piatigorsky, who premiered the work in 1957. Walton regarded this work as the best of his three solo concertos. Orchestral material is available on hire.
Sir William Walton was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1902, the son of a choirmaster and a singing-teacher. He became a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and then an undergraduate at the University. His first composition to attract attention was a piano quartet written at the age of sixteen. At Oxford he made the acquaintance of the Sitwells who gave him friendship, moral and financial support and in 1922 he collaborated with Edith in devising the entertainment Facade. Less than ten years later, Osbert prepared the text of another masterwork, Belshazzar's Feast. From 1922 to 1927 Walton began to spend an increasing amount of time abroad, notably in Switzerland and Italy. The war years were devoted mainly to writing film and ballet scores and he became established as amongst the greatest composers for the screen.