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We have on this recording two of the loveliest, most characterful voices on British radio.
— Andrew Keener, Gramophone Magazine

Walton Façade - New Recording

This new recording celebrates the wonderfully eccentric Dame Edith Sitwell, both through Façade and with a little heard radio interview from 1955.  Recorded and produced by Andrew Keener, one of the world's most distinguished record producers.  

Carole Boyd has performed for over 35 years in theatre, television and radio, and is well known as Lynda Snell in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.  Zeb Soanes is also a familiar voice on BBC Radio and TV.  John Wilson is internationally renowned as a conductor of light music and jazz, especially for his appearances on the BBC Proms.

Façade: A Guide
4.50

Download a comprehensive glossary of Edith Sitwell's classical and literary references in Façade, compiled by Zeb, with photos of the recording.  A useful aid for performers.

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Reviews of Façade:

Sitwell’s modernist verse is delivered with collaborative flair, impeccable enunciation and considerable strength of personality. Characters such as Sir Joshua Jebb in ‘En Famille’ and Mr Wagg in ‘Polka’ spring to life in irresistible fashion and what irrepressible relish Boyd and Soanes bring to those word-torrents in ‘Hornpipe’, ‘Tango-Pasodoble’ and ‘Tarantella’, as well as the witty dialogue of ‘Mariner Man’, ‘Country Dance’, ‘Scotch Rhapsody’ and ‘Fox-Trot (Old Sir Faulk)’. At the same time they are no less appreciative of the languor of ‘A Man from a Far Countree’, bittersweet nostalgia of ‘By the Lake’ and hallucinatory haze of ‘Four in the Morning’. Other stand-outs include a gently twirling ‘Popular Song’, seductive ‘Through Gilded Trelises’, gleeful ‘Valse’, deliciously drowsy ‘Lullaby for Jumbo’ and rollicking ‘Sir Beelzebub’. This entertaining album from Orchid Classics earns a hearty welcome.’
— Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone Magazine
Carole Boyd and Zeb Soanes performances claim our attention. They are concerned not just with the rhythmic precision of what they speak, but the sense too. On this disc the individual movements are more than just dazzling fantasies of wit and rhythm, they are mini narratives. Boyd and Soanes split the reciting so that the different voices within a single movement come over, and each uses a variety of accents. The ‘allegro negro cocktail shaker’ is real American South, whilst Soanes’ Sir Joshua Jebb is very pukka indeed.
— Robert Hugill, PlanetHugill.com
[Carole and Zeb] sound like [they are] having far too much fun ... [Edith Sitwell tries] to make poetry dance – to make it like music ... it’s a great album, I really enjoyed it.
— Suzy Klein, 'In Tune', BBC Radio 3
These two celebrated voices chant the strange poems of Edith Sitwell with an infallible rhythm and a perfect, stretched or swift diction. The originality of this new version comes from the judicious way in which Boyd and Soanes distributed not only the twenty-one poems but sometimes the verses within each. Boyd and Soanes allow the listener to constantly grasp striking fleeting images and revel in not only the associations of words but their sonority. The charm, the off-the-wall bravery and the apparent carefreeness of this new version deserve much attention.
— Christine Labroche, ConcertoNet.com
Carole Boyd, actor, and Zeb Soanes, newscaster, find a variety of voices to entertain the listener, and Wilson is an expert, committed Waltonian.
— The Sunday Times
...[Carole and Zeb] hurl themselves into the mix with impressive enthusiasm and a real feel for the rhythms of the poems ... John Wilson conducts his chamber ensemble with brisk efficiency and a full appropriation of Walton’s pungent and colourful score. The recording itself is interesting. It avoids the temptation to balance the voices way forwards, as sometimes happens – instead, they’re part of the ensemble ... this is a good’un from Orchid Classics. And, it comes with a considerable bonus of a 1955 radio interview with Edith Sitwell in which her character really came across.
— Andrew MacGregor, 'Record Review', BBC Radio 3
Carole Boyd and Zeb Soanes launching Façade at Wartski, Jewellers to the Sitwell Family

Carole Boyd and Zeb Soanes launching Façade at Wartski, Jewellers to the Sitwell Family

Andrew Keener addresses the Façade launch party at Wartski

Andrew Keener addresses the Façade launch party at Wartski