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Program Notes

Façade

William Walton, composer

Robert O’Brien, arranger

Façade is referred to by the composer as an “entertainment,” with text by Dame Edith Sitwell. David Ewen notes that the music is filled with “parody, burlesque, mock seriousness, tongue-in-cheek sentimentality, and calculated clichés.” This melodrama, originally written for seven instruments and reciting voice, consists of 21 movements, of which five have been arranged for band by Robert O’Brien. Walton’s unique style is grounded in Romantic passion with clear classical structure, dissonant yet tonal harmonies, and a touch of jazz rhythms. Façade was first performed at the Sitwell home in Chelsea, England, in January 1922, with Dame Edith Sitwell reciting.

JRO

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