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.
Constant Lambert was born in London and studied with Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music. In 1928 he became the first English composer to write a piece for the Ballet Russes, Romeo and Juliet, and this along with other early works, such as the Eight Poems of Li-Po, established him as one of the leading younger English composers. Much of his work was increasingly influenced by jazz, and aside from composition, Lambert was very much involved in the ballet world,
conducting at Sadler's Wells and Vic-Wells. He was also a brilliant critical writer, publishing many books and articles. He died in 1951 aged 45.show more