In this biography by one of England's foremost writers on music, William Walton's personality emerges in all its complexity and self-contradiction. Kennedy portrays a creative artist completely committed to his art yet plagued by misgivings and doubts, prey to insecurity and frustration, vulnerable to criticism, and jealous of the achievements of others. At the same time he was witty and generous, bore no grudges, and enjoyed the loyalty of a host of friends. Appointed his biographer by the composer himself, Kennedy has had access to correspondence with many of the friends and colleagues who were important in Walton's life among them Siegfried Sassoon, Benjamin Britten, Malcolm Arnold, Andre Previn, and Christopher Hassall, the librettist of "Troilus and Cressida". Correspondence with his publisher and agent show Walton to have had an acute business sense. Affairs of the heart, culminating in Walton's whirlwind courtship of the much younger Argentinian woman who became his wife, are linked to the works through which he gave utterance to his emotional turmoil.
Assessing individual compositions, Michael Kennedy faces squarely the issue of whether the post-1945 works represent a decline in inspiration and creativity. His study will be welcomed by all devotees of Walton and his music.show more