I have to agree with the previous reviewer in saying this is the finest viola concerto ever written. It is so far beyond other attempts, including that of his fellow countryman Vaughan-Williams. The viola is not only a difficult instrument to play well, but a very difficult instrument to make sound beautiful. It is to the the composer's as well as the soloist's efforts here that this can be credited. It is a magnificent performance, with perfect tempi throughout, absolutely gorgeous in the passionate moments, and searing in the climaxes. The balance between viola and orchestra is near perfect, especially difficult for such a weak instrument, dynamically speaking.
It must be noted that this work predates Stravinsky's violin concerto by two years. Why is this important? Because the central movement of the Walton piece could serve as a compositional template for the entire Stravinsky violin concerto. The orchestration, particularly the writing for the winds and pizzicato strings, albeit on a larger scale, obviously inspired Stravinsky in his writing of the violin concerto. It is so close, I would argue it may be a case of plagiarism on Stravinsky's part. To my knowledge, it has never been acknowledged by Stravinsky. You will be shocked when you compare them-the melodies are very different, but the orchestration techniques are virtually identical.
The viola concerto was a towering achievement for Walton, which should be MUCH better known. This recording is an excellent example.