"Jamie Walton's mature cello timbre and perceptiveness in matters of interpretation are winningly applied to this coupling of two 19th-century sonatas. His musical partnership with Daniel Grimwood brings special immediacy and finesse to these performances, in which Saint-Saëns's Second Sonata asserts both lyrical sweep and dramatic tension, the more familiar Chopin Sonata sounding fresh, supple of phrasing and subtle in expressive nuance. Finely honed stylistic judgment here goes hand in hand with re-creative panache." Telegraph 5*****, June 2011

"Jamie Walton is an interesting cellist. His style is clean, with hardly any appreciable vibrato or portamento. I'm a big fan of this sort of playing, and to find this aesthetic discipline being applied to the most Romantic of Romantic repertoire is little short of a miracle. Just listen to the clean declamation on the high phrases in the outer movements of the Chopin, that's really elegant and all the better for avoiding the big swoops between the notes that so many other cellists would apply automatically here. I also like Walton's low register, which is rich, deep and satisfying." Classical CD Reviews

"Jamie Walton's new coupling of Saint-Saens' Second Cello Sonata and Chopin's only sonata for the instrument, restores faith in a too often maligned composer.While Walton and pianist Daniel Grimwood approach both works with an affection and scrupulousness that almost make Chopin's opening Allegro hang together, one senses Saint-Saens is their favourite.Perhaps there is a hint of curmudgeonly bluster to set off Saint-Saens' Sonata but, in between this, comes the most bewitching and Gallic calm. The scherzo may steal a glance back at Mendelssohn but the colours are a little darker. Walton and Grimwood dash through the pizzicato and arpeggios of its fourth variation, and dispense the contrapuntal sallies of the sixth with just the right arch of the eyebrow." New Zealand Herald 5/5

"This program, which combines standard works with those less well-known, should encourage listeners to give repertoire such as the Saint-Saëns sonata a hearing. Walton and Grimwood play this work in an appropriately grand manner; Walton gets a beautifully full tone from his 1712 Guarneri cello. The Chopin Cello Sonata is unmistakably a masterpiece of the Romantic cello repertoire. The first movement begins in a melancholy, rather troubled mood. Walton and Grimwood observe the Allegro moderato marking, and their deliberate approach gradually ratchets up the tension. The duo seem to be feeling their way into this movement at times; this creates a sense of genuine engagement as the musical argument gradually takes hold. Walton's double-stopping is very smooth; The Scherzo draws subtly varied bowing from Walton, from the staccato opening to the legato Trio; he plays this beautiful but exposed melody with immaculate intonation. The slow movement is taken at a true Largo, and the long melody draws more sensitive playing from the duo. The Finale is one of Chopin's equestrian movements, like that of the Third Piano Sonata. The duo again observes Chopin's Allegro non troppo grazioso marking, giving the music time to breathe. Walton's double-stopping impresses here also, and his upper register sounds very secure; the interplay between him and Grimwood is lively and responsive to every nuance. The Introduction and Polonaise brillante is done with a lively prancing rhythm, and the melodic writing for cello and the filigree piano part are each played in fine spirit. The recorded sound and balance are very good." Musicweb International

"Jamie Walton's sound in this excellent recording is open and luminous. Daniel Grimwood is more than a match for his extravagant part; after a pleasingly bold opening Maestoso, the Scherzo, explodes into life with a thrilling motoric rumble, powered by this mercurial pianist. There's plenty of Mendelssohnian magic here in both the lazily eloquent and feet-footed variations, and an infectious sense of enjoyment. Walton is suave and dreamy in the epic Romanza. Their fine performance of Chopin's great Sonata clears its technical hurdles with ease." BBC Music Magazine 4****

"Among its recent recordings, I certainly can't think of a better one than this. There are places where Walton succeeds in evoking both the quiet rapture and gruff virtuosity of Piatigorsky's own playing on his essential recording with Munch (RCA), and Briger draws some positively luminous colours from the Philharmonia, while also keeping the orchestra tight and rhythmical where necessary. Piatigorsky is essential in any Walton collection, but this new disc has earned a place there too – not just because of its value in including the two versions of the finale but also because it's a most characterful and eloquent reading in its own right, all with the advantage of excellent modern sound and a recorded balance that allows plenty of orchestra detail to come through without ever overwhelming the soloist.

"This disc is likely to be of particular interest to Walton collectors, since this hitherto unperformed revised ending is included here: in fact Jamie Walton and Alexander Briger do better than that, since they include both versions, with the familiar (original) finale appearing as an extra track at the end of the disc. Walton's revision may be only a couple of dozen bars long, but it does produce a weightier, more dramatic end to the work. It's fascinating to hear it, especially as the performance itself is of the highest quality. Walton's sound is superbly suited to this work – he has a singing, expressive upper register as well as the agility to dive fearlessly into the more virtuoso passages: this is playing of tremendous authority and control, and he's matched by an exceptionally alert and sympathetic partnership from Briger and the Philharmonia. I've loved this concerto ever since first hearing it at a Prom in 1970 (with Maurice Gendron and Boult, no less), but is was subjected to some dismissive notices when it was new: critical opinion was firmly of the view that it was a dud, and that Walton was out of step with the times. I have to say that the view seems quite ludicrous now – this work has surely established itself as one of the last century's most impressive and atmospheric cello concertos.

"It will come as no surprise that the Shostakovich First Cello Concerto is very fine here too. Again, Walton and Briger generate impressive levels of rhythmic energy, and the playing has all the spiky allure anyone could wish for in a this piece. There are classic versions of that offer strong competition, including Rostropovich and Ormandy on Sony, but this new disc is wholly convincing. Walton is a player of such imagination and individuality (as well as having a marvellous technique) and thanks to the unique double finale version of the Walton, the result is a disc that is as fascinating as it is enjoyable. Given that everything is recorded in admirably clean but warm sound, this disc deserves the warmest recommendation." International Record Review

"Cellist Jamie Walton offers William Walton's Concerto with an exceptional bonus: as well as playing the original 1956 version with it original ending as a supplement, he records the 1975 revision. The difference between the two versions is limited to the coda of the finale but on balance the slightly more extended 1975 version makes a more satisfying conclusion after the strong contrasts of the somewhat idiosyncratic finale's set of variations with their all-too-brief bursts of allegro.

"The elegiac quality in the work very much suits Jamie Walton's style, with his sweet, smooth cello tone, but he is also capable of powerfully attacking the vigorous writing as in the central Allegro with its sharp syncopations. Alexander Briger is a most sympathetic accompanist, and though the balance favours the soloist, the clarity of Walton's often brilliant orchestration is beautifully brought out.

"Shostakovich's First Concerto is a most compelling performance, very strong rhythmically, with the Philharmonia's first horn relishing what amounts to a concertante role in the first two movements. Again Jamie Walton exquisitely brings out the haunting beauty of the main theme in the slow movement, and produces an eerily chilling tone when that main theme is recapitulated on high harmonics. In the third movement, an extended cadenza, Walton builds up the argument powerfully, leading into the violence of the finale. A most valuable and enjoyable disc, adding impressively to the series Jamie Walton has recorded for Signum, which already includes Shostakovich's Second Cello Concerto." Gramophone Magazine

"Jamie Walton's warm and beautifully focused way with the work excels in its own right. The finale's notoriously difficult, stop-start design here works unerringly; and a not too quick tempo for the scherzo makes its intricate workings all the more vivid and rewarding to the ear. So does the recorded balance - a touch close, yes, but the upside is that the solo cello's low register comes across more clearly than usual against the orchestra. The same unflashily vivid brilliance brings in a rich harvest in Shostakovich's First Concerto…his keening way with the slow movement's lyrical lament marks out a remarkable player." BBC Music Magazine

Probing artistry: Jamie Walton breaks new ground with his namesake

"It was only a matter of time before Jamie Walton recorded the Cello Concerto by his namesake, Sir William. To do so earlier might have smacked of opportunism, but he is already known as a musician of probing artistry through concertos as diverse as the Elgar, Myaskovsky, Britten and Shostakovich's Second (all recorded for Signum), not to mention a range of chamber works. This new coupling of the Walton with the First Concerto by Shostakovich is a gripping successor to those earlier discs, his rich, malleable tone and mature sense of style deployed with the discerning interpretative personality that places him in the front rank of today's cellists.

"One other factor that marks out the performance of the Walton concerto is the decision to replace the familiar ending with the revision that Walton conceived almost two decades after the 1957 premiere. The great Russian-born American cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, who had commissioned the work and had given the first performance in Boston, apparently hankered after a conclusion that was 'less melancholy'.

"In the bars that Walton eventually substituted, he certainly did not compromise the reflective mood of the final part of the concerto, and, if anything, they emanate a more poignant sense of tragedy. However, Piatigorsky approved, but died before he could play the new coda. This is its first appearance on disc and anyone preferring the original ending, or wishing to compare the two, can switch to track 8, where the whole of the finale as Walton first wrote it is included as a bonus.