Sir Adrian Boult - The Decca Legacy, Volume 1 - British Music

Sir Adrian Boult - The Decca Legacy, Volume 1 - British Music cover
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Sir Adrian Boult - The Decca Legacy, Volume 1 - British Music
London Philharmonic Orchestra / BBC Chorus & BBC Symphony, Adrian Boult / Melos Ensemble / Alfredo Campoli (violin)

[ Decca Australian Eloquence / 16 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 7 October 2022

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The first in a three-volume edition of the complete Decca recordings of Sir Adrian Boult, this set represents the most complete survey ever issued of Sir Adrian Boult's British music recordings for Decca. It includes previously unpublished recordings of Holst and a pioneering cycle of Vaughan Williams. LIMITED EDITION.

Boult began recording for Decca in 1950 once he had been forcibly retired by the BBC at the age of 60. The company lost no time in bringing the unrivalled authority of his British music interpretations to the record-buying public. Decca's engineering team and equipment was widely regarded as the best available at the time, led by the likes of producer John Culshaw and engineer Kenneth Wilkinson, and they captured the spatial aspects and colours of Vaughan Williams the symphonist with unprecedented fidelity at the time.

Boult's later recording of the Ninth and speeches by both Boult and Vaughan Williams have been included. So has Boult's 1953 recording of incidental music to The Wasps, coupled with the much rarer Old King Cole ballet, and Boult's second, 1954 version of Job, a work with which he was so closely associated for many years.

This collection features a notable first in the Boult discography: four previously unpublished recordings of music by his friend Holst. While recording other English repertoire back in the mono era Boult had attempted to carve out sufficient time in the sessions for a Holst LP which never came to fruition. Four pieces - the Somerset Rhapsody, Marching Song, the Scherzo from an unfinished symphony (all in mono) and Country Song (in stereo) are now published for the first time.

Boult also worked extensively with the best young British composers of his day, and this underrated aspect of his conducting is represented in the collection by 1954 mono accounts of Malcolm Arnold's English Dances and from 1960 the First Symphony of Humphrey Searle - coupled for the first time since its release with two pieces composed and conducted by the Hungarian émigré Mátyás Seiber, as on the original LP.

"The Symphony has the air (and I am quite sure, the substance) of a profound intellectual achievement, and that also serves to place it in the great line … Performances are beyond criticism, and recordings are excellent." High Fidelity, September 1961 (Searle, Seiber)

"Sir Adrian understands the music to perfection and the recording is superb … This record makes an exceptionally eloquent case for Sir William Walton." High Fidelity, May 1955 (Walton)

"A feast for Holst fans … A fine performance of Egdon Heath." High Fidelity, February 1963 (Holst)

"Campoli and Boult offer an intense, vigorous, often deeply probing interpretation." High Fidelity, June 1957 (Elgar: Violin Concerto)

"They are light, tuneful, expertly orchestrated pieces … the playing and recording is first-rate." High Fidelity, February 1956 (Elgar: Bavarian Dances, etc.)

"A most cunningly contrived set of six dances … They get a lovely performance from Boult and his men, and the sound is faultless." High Fidelity, June 1956 (Arnold: English Dances)

"Boult deserves unlimited praise, as the presiding hand, for the extraordinarily high level of artistry he manages throughout the symphonies. The conceptions have boldness, thrust and are always carefully thought out … The orchestral playing is of the very highest order." High Fidelity, August 1954 (Vaughan Williams symphonies)

"There is no doubt but this will be the definitive recording for many years to come." Irish Monthly, May 1953 (Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 3)

"A superlative performance from Sir Adrian Boult and the LPO in a recording that not merely possesses outstanding instrumental fidelity but also catches both the most delicate whispers and the biggest climaxes … the most important record of English music so far issued this year." Musical Times, July 1953 (Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 3)

"The Perfect Fool music is brilliantly effective in so faithful a recording … Fine performances from chorus and orchestra, obviously enjoying a session with Boult after so long." Musical Times, December 1962 (Holst)

"As usual, Sir Adrian Boult both observes the letter of the score and penetrates to the spirit beneath its surface. The slow movement for strings is beautifully moulded and the impertinent Scherzo, with its final snook-cocking gesture, comes off brilliantly." Musical Times, July 1954 (Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 8)

"An exceedingly capable performance, to whose quality the orchestra contributes in full measure. The recording is first rate and is particularly successful in capturing the peculiar tone-quality of the thrummed accompaniment to the cadenza." Musical Times, July 1955 (Elgar: Violin Concerto)

"No one has done finer work in the cause of modern British music than Adrian Boult who handles the orchestra here with all his old magic, securing broad emotional contrasts and imbuing the players with his own enthusiasm." Irish Monthly, November 1952 (Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2)

"It remains to congratulate the orchestra and its conductor, who has a closer understanding of the composer's mind than any other musician, and also Decca's technicians on a remarkable achievement of some historical importance. For here is a permanent record for the future of the true interpretation of these works, not to be slavishly copied but to be taken as a model for emulation." Musical Times, October 1954 (Vaughan Williams: Symphonies, Job)

"Boult was a conductor who stood back from violent music, but here he seizes the symphony by the throat and powers it with extraordinary intensity." Tempo, March 1992 (Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 6)


CD 1
ARNOLD English Dances
ELGAR Chanson de Nuit; Chanson de Matin
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 2
ELGAR Violin Concerto
Alfredo Campoli
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 3
Symphony No. 1 'A Sea Symphony'
John Cameron ∙ Isobel Baillie
London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra

CD 4
Symphony No. 2 'A London Symphony'
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 5
Symphony No. 3 'A Pastoral Symphony'
Margaret Ritchie
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 6
Symphony No. 4
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 7
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 8
Speech by Ralph Vaughan Williams
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 9
Symphony No. 7 'Sinfonia Antartica'
Symphony No. 9
Speech by Sir Adrian Boult
Margaret Ritchie ∙ Sir John Gielgud
London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra

CD 10
Symphony No. 8
Partita for Double String Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 11
Old King Cole
The Wasps
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 12
Job - A Masque for Dancing
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 13
WALTON Portsmouth Point; Siesta; Scapino; The Wise Virgins
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 14
A Concert of English Music
BUTTERWORTH A Shropshire Lad; The Banks of Green Willow
BAX Tintagel
HOLST The Perfect Fool; A Somerset Rhapsody*; Scherzo from Unfinished Symphony*; Marching Song*
London Philharmonic Orchestra

CD 15
HOLST The Hymn of Jesus; The Perfect Fool; Egdon Heath; Country Song*
BBC Chorus & BBC Symphony Orchestra (Hymn of Jesus)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (Perfect Fool, Egdon Heath, Country Song)

CD 16
SEARLE Symphony No. 1*
SEIBER Elegy; Three Fragments
Cecil Aronowitz · Sir Peter Pears
Dorian Singers · Melos Ensemble
Mátyás Seiber