RECORDS / Classical

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Walton: Symphonies 1 & 2. RPO/Ashkenazy (Decca, CD only). The best interpreters of Walton's symphonic music have tended not to be British. First Szell, then Previn, and now Ashkenazy, who took the 2nd Symphony on his momentous trip back to Russia in 1989 - a performance which was recorded live by ASV. These two studio recordings take things a stage further, with cleaner playing and sound and more thought. They don't quite have the biting sharpness of Previn, but Ashkenazy's sense of drama stamps an export licence on the music.