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From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Boult,Adrian
Release Date: 08/14/2012 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 35657   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachWolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van BeethovenFranz Schubert,   ... 
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraJohn Alldis Choir
Number of Discs: 11 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SIR ADRIAN BOULT: FROM BACH TO WAGNER Adrian Boult, cond; Janet Baker (mez 1 ); John Alldis Ch; 1 London PO; 2 London SO; 3 Philharmonia O; 4 New Philharmonia O 5 EMI 635657 (11 CDs: 765:48)


BACH Read more 2 Brandenburg Concertos. MOZART 2 Symphonies: No. 35, “Haffner”; No. 41, “Jupiter.” Die Zauberflöte: Overture. BEETHOVEN 2 Symphony No.6, “Pastoral”. 5 Coriolan: Overture; Ruins of Athens: Overture; Turkish March. SCHUBERT 2 Symphony No. 9. J. STRAUSS I 2 Radetzky March. SUPPÉ 2 Poet and Peasant. WAGNER 2 Faust Overture. 2 Rienzi: Overture. 2 The Flying Dutchman: Overture. Tannhäuser: 5 Overture; 2 Entrance of the Guests. 5 Lohengrin: Preludes to Acts I and III. Tristan and Isolde: Preludes to 5 Acts I and 2 III. 5 Die Meistersinger: Preludes to Acts I and III. 2 Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla. 2 Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries. 2 Siegfried: Forest Murmurs. 2 Götterdämmerung: Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Funeral Music. 3 Parsifal: Preludes to Acts I and III; Transformation Scenes from Acts I and III; Good Friday Spell. 3 Siegfried Idyll. WOLF 4 Italian Serenade. BRAHMS 2,3 Symphonies Nos. 1–4. 2 Serenades : No. 1 in D; No. 2 in A. 1,2 Alto Rhapsody. 2 Academic Festival Overture. 3 Tragic Overture. 2 Variations on a Theme by Haydn


Here are 11 discs of music outside of the British repertoire usually associated with Adrian Boult: repertoire which EMI was disinclined to record as the conductor entered into that remarkable “Indian summer” decade of his 80s. That these recordings exist at all is due to the insistence of long-time producer Christopher Bishop that Boult’s recorded legacy did not properly reflect the catholicity of his tastes and abilities. Boult was of course a tireless proponent of British composers, and his many recordings of the works of these fine composers on several labels helped to bring their music into the mainstream. It is easy to forget that he was deeply influenced as a youth in Liverpool by concerts led by Hans Richter. Later he studied in Leipzig where he observed Arthur Nikisch’s conducting, and absorbed pre-World War I Germany’s remarkably vital musical culture. Later he worked with Nikisch in London in productions of The Ring, and others of Parsifal and Tristan . Not surprisingly, then, his earliest recordings reveal an interest in the composers whose work he would have heard performed, often brilliantly, in his youth. His years with the BBC—from 1930 to 1950—saw him performing an astonishing range of compositions: English works of course, but also the Austro-German repertoire documented here. Once he took over direction of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, immediately after his forced retirement from the BBC, he was afforded many opportunities to make commercial recordings of non-British repertoire, including Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Wagner, Suppé, Berlioz, Sibelius, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and even John Philip Sousa. Some of these were monaural, however, and few of them were on the EMI label. So, in August 1970, when the veteran conductor’s usual efficiency had left unused studio time originally scheduled for Vaughan Williams and Elgar, Bishop saw his chance to change that. The Brahms Symphony No. 3 and Tragic Overture recordings included here are the result. The enthusiastic reception to this initial release led to most of the other recordings collected in this box set.


These include two famous series that many collectors will already know and possibly own: the fluent and affectionate Brahms cycle begun with that Third, and the three-CD Wagner survey: powerful, long-lined, and never histrionic. Digitized in 1988 and 1989, these were lost among a glut of flashier reissues of the time. Some selections of the Wagner have been available steadily since; availability of the Brahms has been spottier in the U.S. Now these can be had, along with four additional discs of recordings, many new to silver disc, for a fraction of the cost of the original seven CDs. In particular we are treated to the first official CD release of his complete Brandenburg Concertos , hardly H.I.P.—he was tired of “chopped-up Bach”—but with remarkable clarity despite a full string section, and an energy and swing to the rhythms that is more stylish, in its way, than some consciously period performances. (Incidentally, David Munrow plays recorder in the Second and Fourth concertos.) Also new to CD are two Mozart symphonies—vital and graceful with all repeats in place in the Jupiter —and a Beethoven “Pastoral” that strolls, bubbles, storms, and dances most beguilingly. The crisp, forceful Coriolan Overture that accompanies it has appeared on CD before. Here as well is Boult’s last Schubert Ninth—a darkly dramatic but energetic performance—and perhaps Boult’s most famous recording, his glowing Brahms Alto Rhapsody with Janet Baker.


Conventional wisdom has it that Boult’s later recordings are autumnal and thereby less gripping. It is undeniable that, while the intellect and ear had lost none of their sharpness, the flames could occasionally burn somewhat lower than they earlier had. Even so, it would be hard to prove that claim from the evidence here. Compared to recordings he made as far back as the 1930s, the easing is not that significant, and in compensation these performances exude a wisdom born of over a half-century of distinguished music-making. Unlike some luminary conductors of his generation, he never inflated, or drove, or monumentalized, or distorted the music to underline an interpretive stance. Above all else, he did not call attention to himself. Though he was highly regarded throughout his career, he never wanted the celebrity achieved by some through flamboyance or notoriety. In a 1966 interview with Canadian radio producer and author Robert Chesterman he quipped, “all conductors should be clad in an invisible Tarnhelm which makes it possible to enjoy the music without seeing any of the antics that go on.”


Boult let the music speak for itself, and his skill at illuminating important events without ever losing sight of the long line creates an ineffable sense of truth in all of his recordings. Jerry Dubins, in a Fanfare review of an EMI two-disc Brahms reissue including the 88-year-old Boult’s youthful-sounding Serenades (30:5), observes that, “as a collective whole that puts not a single foot wrong, this makes for an excellent ‘control’ set of what Brahms actually wrote against which to measure the digressions of others.” That was his genius. Boult lived by three precepts of conducting laid down when he was a 20-year old Oxford undergraduate. In an ideal performance, he maintained, the conductor must (1) give the hearer the impression that the work is being played exactly as the composer wished, (2) assure that the reading is clear, with every note brought out in its true relation to every other, and not one obscured, and (3) make the work sound easy through his technique and study, so each performer knows how to play his own part, and the most difficult ensemble sounds easy and the most elaborate polyphony simple. So it is here.


This is not quite a complete survey of these later non-British EMI recordings. It does not offer the concerto recordings from this period with Menuhin (Bruch 1 and 2, the latter inexplicably never released on CD, even in the 50-disc Menuhin set), Suk (Beethoven), or Previn (Mozart 17 and 24). Since this release focuses on the Austro-German repertoire, we do not get the Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3 or the Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio espagnol or the Procession of the Nobles . One odd omission is the Tannhäuser act III Prelude, the only one of the Wagner recordings that was not included. There was certainly room on the CD for it. Everything else, of which I am aware, that EMI recorded in the studio during that period is here, as well as some things new to me. These are a lively 1967 Zauberflöte Overture new to CD, and an unreleased 1957 pair of excerpts—the overture and Turkish March —from Beethoven’s The Ruins of Athens . The Beethoven was set down on the same day as the included Hugo Wolf orchestration of his Italian Serenade , first released in the 2002 IMG “Great Conductors of the 20th Century” volume devoted to Boult. That volume, it should be said, is a superb supplement to this EMI box.


Standards of playing are uniformly high across the three London ensembles involved—counting the Philharmonia and New Philharmonia as one—although one will note differing strengths between orchestras and over time. Given that most of the digital transfers were done in the late ’80s, the sound is not always up to the quality expected of such processing now. In fact, the transfers of the new material for this release are generally cleaner, more open, and smoother in the frequency extremes. Still, there is nothing here that is not perfectly satisfactory, especially given the very nominal asking price. Anyone who knows the earlier Studio label releases of the Wagner or Brahms will know what to expect. Of course, one never knows how long a bargain like this will stay in the catalog, so don’t delay. At less than three dollars a disc at this writing, this most-welcome tribute to the non-British affinities of this outstanding musician should be on every serious collector’s shelf.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Brandenburg Concerto no 1 in F major, BWV 1046 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717; ?Cöthen, Germany 
2.
Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major, BWV 1047 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1718; ?Cöthen, Germany 
3.
Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G major, BWV 1048 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1711-1713; ?Weimar, Germany 
4.
Brandenburg Concerto no 4 in G major, BWV 1049 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; ?Cöthen, Germany 
5.
Brandenburg Concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720-1721; ?Cöthen, Germany 
6.
Brandenburg Concerto no 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1710; ?Weimar, Germany 
7.
Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Symphony no 35 in D major, K 385 "Haffner" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Die Zauberflöte, K 620: Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Symphony no 9 in C major, D 944 "Great" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1825-28; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Ruins of Athens, Op. 113: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Ruins of Athens, Op. 113: no 5, Marcia alla turca by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Radetzky March, Op. 228 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Dichter und Bauer: Overture by Franz von Suppé
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Tannhäuser: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
18.
Rienzi: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1843; Germany 
19.
Faust Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1844; Germany 
20.
Der fliegende Holländer: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841/1852; Germany 
21.
Tannhäuser: Festival March by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
22.
Tristan und Isolde: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
23.
Tristan und Isolde: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; Germany 
24.
Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
25.
Lohengrin: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
26.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
27.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
28.
Siegfried: Forest Murmurs [Instrumental] by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
29.
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
30.
Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
31.
Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
32.
Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
33.
Parsifal: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
34.
Parsifal: Transformation Scene by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Bayreuth, Germany 
35.
Parsifal: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
36.
Parsifal: Good Friday Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
37.
Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Germany 
38.
Italian Serenade for Orchestra by Hugo Wolf
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Vienna, Austria 
39.
Variations in B flat major on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56a "St. Anthony" by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
40.
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
41.
Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Austria 
42.
Symphony no 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Austria 
43.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 73 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Austria 
44.
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
45.
Serenade no 2 in A major, Op. 16 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858-1859; Germany 
46.
Serenade no 1 in D major, Op. 11 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
47.
Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
48.
Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Austria 

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