WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Sir Adrian Boult Conducts Sibelius

Sibelius / Lpo / Boult
Release Date: 03/09/2010 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 93  
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $18.98
CD:  $16.99
In Stock
MP3: $9.99
What's this?




Notes and Editorial Reviews

Boult the irascible martinet - Sibelians need to hear this.

These recordings first saw the light of day in the year of Sibelius’s death. Sibelius had died at the age of 92 on 20 September 1957 at Ainola, the family home, near Lake Tuusula, Järvenpää. These recordings came out on a pair of Nixa 12" LPs. Their impact was however lessened by the fact that the arc of Sibelius’s popularity was on a downward curve at the time only to begin recovery in the mid-late 1960s. Those long-players were: Volume 1: Legends and Sagas: En Saga; Swan of Tuonela; Lemminkainen’s Homecoming; Pohjola’s Daughter; The Bard (NCLI6023) and Volume 2: Patriotic and Nature
Read more Pieces: Tapiola; Oceanides; Nightride and Sunrise; Finlandia; The Tempest Prelude (NCL16024). The performers were listed on the LP sleeves, no doubt for contractual reasons, as “Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult”. The recordings also put in an appearance on Austrian Amadeo AVRS 6067. They resurfaced in the late 1980s on a couple of Vanguard Omega CDs though the silences between tracks were lamentably short.

Boult was not new to Sibelius having been enlisted by the Sibelius Society to fill in around Kajanus, Schneevoight and Beecham. In this capacity he had recorded two of the tone poems with the BBCSO during his 1930s heyday with that orchestra. They were The Oceanides on DB2797 [7:54] and Nightride and Sunrise on DB2795-6 [13:22]. These 78s were made for HMV at their Abbey Road No. 1 Studio on 23 January 1936 and are now available on Dutton Vocalion CDBP 9771. Some twenty years later when the Nixa recordings were made Boult’s Sibelius had slowed somewhat, as can be seen above.

Boult’s Finlandia is grim and but afflicted with a heavy languor. In this sense he is no match for Barbirolli’s late 1960s EMI version - lax symphonies but stirring tone poems - or Horst Stein’s magnificent 1970s account on Decca. Oddly enough the much-underrated Stein avoided the symphonies but made a glorious series of tone poem recordings including a remarkable En Saga and a hardly less luminous Pohjola’s Daughter. Nightride and Sunrise is fast driven - much in the same mould as Paavo Järvi’s more recent version. You keep wondering if this is going to turn into a train-wreck but the orchestra holds as steady as Beecham’s fury-whipped RPO for the classic Lemminkainen’s Return. Towards the end that great burst of energy seems to dissipate and a more broadly relaxed air pervades the music consistent with the horizon-filling sunrise. The Oceanides here are portayed as Mediterranean nymphs rather than Nordic sea-spirits - just as Sibelius intended. Pohjola's Daughter is built at first very rigidly but then comes a sense of release (at 2.30). Its central section is detrimentally broad. The action is whipped at the close and there is a coal black edge to brass barks. I notice a tape splice at c 8.25. Otherwise this is full of finely judged and utterly masculine touches. Boult’s Tapiola is grave, impetuous and intemperate. The Tempest prelude is especially impressive (for a while it served as a filler to one of Boult's Pye LPs of The Planets) drawing obvious parallels with Tapiola’s goaded storm.

While this set is important for Sibelians the mono sound is bound to be a disincentive to some. The sound, intrinsically, is not as solid and vivid as the mono set of symphonies and a selection of tone poems from Beulah (LSO/Collins - originally Decca). 

I hope that there will be a volume 2 from SOMM. If not I could have lived without Finlandia and even the Prelude if they had also included En Saga and The Bard.

At least one little regarded aspect of Boult's character seems to come over: Boult the irascible martinet. Sibelians need to hear this.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International 
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Prelude by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
2.
Finlandia, Op. 26 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
3.
Tapiola, Op. 112 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Finland 
4.
Nightride and sunrise, Op. 55 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Finland 
5.
Oceanides, Op. 73 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; Finland 
6.
Pohjola's daughter, Op. 49 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Finland 

Sound Samples

Finlandia, Op. 26
Tapiola, Op. 112
The Oceanides, Op. 73
Night Ride and Sunrise, Op. 55
Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: Prelude

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In