Music: The Civilized Composer

British Composer Sir William Walton, 58, is an orderly man who prefers to leave no compositional form neglected. Accordingly, he has written at least "one of everything" during his career: a symphony, an opera (Troilus and Cressida), concertos for solo instruments, chamber works. Having covered the circuit once, he is now making the rounds again: last week Sir William was in Manhattan to hear the visiting Cleveland Orchestra give the New York premiere of his Symphony No. 2.

Walton recalls his First Symphony, finished in 1935, as "the angry-young-man sort of thing." The new work is "slightly more civilized—maybe too civilized." As...

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