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Edward Greenfield
Gramophone, June 2004

"A powerful reading of a choral masterpiece."

Stephen Johnson
BBC Music Magazine, June 2004

"Paul Daniel's lean, rhythmically muscular Belshazzar has a lot to recommend it."

Matthew Rye
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), May 2004

"This might not be the first recording of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast to return to the site of its premiere, Leeds Town Hall, but it is certainly the most successful. ...the singing itself is excellent throughout, and Christopher Purves is an expressive soloist. Paul Daniel shapes the work expertly, and his control is as masterly as it was on his earlier acclaimed releases on Naxos's Walton series."

Hi-Fi News & Record Review, January 2004

"The choral forces sound splendid in the acoustic of Leeds Town Hall, and how clear is their diction! Naxos includes texts with an excellent note for this sleeved release."

David Hurwitz

"The performance of Belshazzar's Feast is simply spectacular...Make no mistake, if you care about the major work, then you will want to hear what Paul Daniel and his combined forces do with it. In particular, it's terrific to hear the piece sung by a really large, enthusiastic English chorus of the "festival" variety--the sort of forces that Walton composed it for in the first place. The very opening invocation ("Thus spake Isaiah") has a very different, weightier sound than usual when sung by such a crowd--greater amplitude and richness--but the words remain remarkably clear throughout.

Here's the bottom line: after the comparatively quiet and mournful first 10 minutes, Daniel basically lines up this huge mass of voices and they proceed to scream their collective guts out--and let's face it, what more would you want in this loudest and most energetic of choral works? The enthusiasm and sense of occasion is palpable, and it extends to the work of the orchestra, which renders such moments as the "Praise ye" episode with incomparable vividness from the brass and percussion. Once the piece gets hopping ("In Babylon, Belshazzar the king made a great feast") there's simply no looking back. Granted, the "Joyful noise" at the very end might pass by in a bit of a blur at this tempo, but then it nearly always does, and the Naxos recording is pretty terrific in just about every respect, capturing both an unusual amount of orchestral detail while offering the palpable impression of vast choral forces in a large budget price you won't find a snazzier Belshazzar, and for sheer "pedal to the metal" panache, this one has them all beat. If you want perfect choral discipline you may want to look elsewhere, but for a genuine musical hubbub in the best sense, look no further.9/9/."

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