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Elgar: Complete EMI Recordings / Sir Adrian Boult

Boult,Adrian
Release Date: 07/02/2013 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 35922   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward ElgarJohann Sebastian BachFrédéric Chopin
Performer:  Yehudi MenuhinPablo CasalsPaul TortelierIda Haendel,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Adrian BoultSir Philip Ledger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraNew Philharmonia OrchestraBBC Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 19 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This magnificent collection is the first set to unite all of Boult's EMI recordings of a composer he admired and helped share with the world throughout his long career. We can thereby hear four different versions of the Enigma Variations, recorded between 1936 and 1970, and hear the changing nuances of expression over the years that came with gained experience..

Many selections from this collection are available on CD for the first time ever in this box set. This particular set is part of EMI's series of releases marking 30 years since the conductor’s passing.

R E V I E W:

It’s interesting that Adrian Boult did not show much initial fondness for Elgar, and when the composer was alive and recording his own music
Read more in the 1920s and early 30s, it didn’t matter. Boult’s championship of British music extended more pertinently to other composers: Holst and Vaughan Williams especially. It was only later that he warmed to Elgar, and even then somewhat selectively. For example, Boult thought (correctly in my view) that The Apostles and The Kingdom were much finer works that The Dream of Gerontius, which he waited to record until he could find a great tenor (Nicolai Gedda) willing to take the title role. By then, he knew how to get through the dull bits and dwell on the better parts, but of course he couldn’t do anything about the appalling text. As a bonus, Boult’s illustrated talk on The Apostles and The Kingdom is included.

Also, like many conductors, he was not equally successful in the two symphonies. Boult was partial to the Second, and although you get two versions of each and all of them are good, it is the Second Symphony (both of them) that really sticks in the memory. Interestingly, Boult only left us one EMI recording of Cockaigne, but he was very fond of In the South and Falstaff, and both appear twice. The Cello Concerto is very handsomely served by both Pablo Casals and Paul Tortelier, while the Violin Concerto receives two very different performances, one with the iconic (and not better than his early self) Yehudi Menuhin, the other significantly more expansive and more interesting, featuring Ida Haendel.

Among the four versions of the Enigma Variations, the first one, from 1936 (first sound clip) is significantly quicker, by about four minutes, then all of the others. By 1953 (second sound clip) Boult had arrived at his mature view of the work, but it’s difficult not to believe that the limitations of 78rpm record sides may have had something to do with the quicker previous tempos. Boult’s last recording, from 1970 (third clip) is actually his quickest since 1936, but it is still closer to 1953 (his slowest), albeit significantly more flowing in terms of articulation.

Regarding the shorter pieces, I have to mention Boult’s second recording of Elgar’s arrangement of Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor. This is quite possibly the most insane of all the romantic Bach transcriptions–it leaves Stokowski and Schoenberg in the shade, and this is its wildest performance. Boult clearly relishes the moment near the end where the music seems to morph into the “March of the Mogul Emperors” from the Crown of India Suite (fourth sound clip). The sonics obviously vary widely from the 1930s through the late 70s (the rating reflects the modern stereo stuff only, for simplicity’s sake), but all have been carefully mastered for this box.

The booklet calls this “Sir Edward Elgar: The Complete EMI Recordings,” which thank God it is not–only Boult’s (plus Ledger’s account of the Coronation Ode). It is not even all of Boult’s Elgar–he made quite a few recordings for other labels as well. Nineteen CDs is a lot by any standard, but that’s what collectors’ editions are for. Get it while you can, if you care.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 2 in E flat major, Op. 63 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1911; England 
Date of Recording: 1975-76 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 53 Minutes 7 Secs. 
2. Cockaigne Overture, Op. 40 "In London Town" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; England 
Date of Recording: 1970-71 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3. Symphony no 1 in A flat major, Op. 55 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907-1908; England 
Date of Recording: 09/1976 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 48 Minutes 49 Secs. 
4. Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 
Date of Recording: 1972 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 17 Secs. 
5. Chanson de nuit, Op. 15 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Date of Recording: 04/18/1967 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6. Chanson de matin, Op. 15 no 2 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Date of Recording: 04/18/1967 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7. The Wand of Youth Suite no 1, Op. 1a by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
8. The Wand of Youth Suite no 2, Op. 1b by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; England 
9. Caractacus, Op. 35: Triumphal March by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; England 
10. Bavarian Dances (3) by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; England 
11. Polonia, Op. 76 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915; England 
12. Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op. 61 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 1965-66 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 47 Minutes 46 Secs. 
13. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Pablo Casals (Cello)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Date of Recording: 1945 
14. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Paul Tortelier (Cello)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 26 Minutes 56 Secs. 
15. Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op. 61 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ida Haendel (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 1977-78 
16. Falstaff, Op. 68 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1950 
17. Nursery Suite by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; England 
Date of Recording: 1955 
18. Dream Children, Op. 43 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; England 
Date of Recording: 09/20/1955 
19. Fantasia and Fugue in C minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 09/20/1955 
20. Pomp and Circumstance Marches (5), Op. 39: no 3 in C minor by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
Date of Recording: 05/20/1953 
21. The Apostles, Op. 49 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor), Benjamin Luxon (Bass), Clifford Grant (Bass),
John Carol Case (Bass), Sheila Armstrong (Soprano), Helen Watts (Alto)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Downe House School Choir,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902-1903; England 
Date of Recording: 1973-74 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 121 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: English 
22. The Light of Life, Op. 29: no 1, Meditation by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1974 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
23. The Kingdom, Op. 51 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Alexander Young (Tenor), Yvonne Minton (Mezzo Soprano), Margaret Price (Soprano),
John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1906; England 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 96 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
24. Coronation Ode, Op. 44 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Alfreda Hodgson (Alto), Richard Morton (Tenor), Felicity Lott (Soprano),
Stephen Roberts (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cambridge University Music Society,  Royal Military School of Music Band  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1977 
Venue:  Chapel, King's College, Cambridge 
Length: 33 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
25. Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898-1899; England 
26. Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra, Op. 47 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904-1905; England 
27. The Sanguine Fan, Op. 81 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1917; England 
28. The Music Makers, Op. 69 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; England 
Date of Recording: 12/1966 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, Engl 
Length: 38 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: English 
29. Symphony no 2 in E flat major, Op. 63 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1911; England 
Date of Recording: 1944 
30. Imperial March, Op. 32 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Date of Recording: 1937 
31. Sospiri, Op. 70 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
Date of Recording: 1937 
32. The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38: Prelude by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; England 
Date of Recording: 1935 
33. Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March": 3rd movement, Marche funébre by Frédéric Chopin
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1932 
34. The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Helen Watts (Alto), Robert Lloyd (Bass), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; England 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 96 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 
35. Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898-1899; England 
36. Pomp and Circumstance Marches (5), Op. 39 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1930; England 
37. Grania and Diarmid, Op. 42 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; England 
38. Carillon, Op. 75 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
39. In the South, Op. 50 "Alassio" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; England 
40. Froissart Overture, Op. 19 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; England 

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