Sir Adrian Boult

Composers

Biography

Born: 1889   Died: 1983   Country: England  
Neither as colorful a public figure as fellow Briton Thomas Beecham, nor as stormy and commanding on the podium as some of his better-known international contemporaries, Adrian Boult nevertheless was one of Britain's foremost conductors for nearly 70 years. He championed contemporary music, introducing Holst's The Planets and Berg's Wozzeck to the British public, but his pioneering work with the BBC Orchestra, which he created and directed for 20 Read more years, is often regarded as his signature achievement.

Born to a wealthy shipowner, Boult spent his grammar school days in London at Westminster School and took to music early. At Christ Church, Oxford, Boult flourished under the guidance of conductor Hugh Allen. In addition, Boult worked with Artur Nikisch during a stay at the Leipzig Conservatory (1912-1913). Boult also studied with composer Max Reger, but a serious illness that kept him out of World War I cut his continental sojourn short.

Boult made his debut at Queen's Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1918. From that first concert Boult demonstrated support for British music, including Vaughn Williams' then virtually unknown "London" Symphony on the program. The concert led to an invitation from Holst to conduct the premiere of The Planets at a private concert at Queen's Hall. In 1919 Boult joined faculty of the Royal College of Music.

In the years following World War I, Boult conducted both orchestral music and opera. He served as principal conductor for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes during their London stay in 1919, and in 1926 rejoined the staff at Covent Garden. In 1924 Boult accepted the directorship of the recently formed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which he molded into a first-rank ensemble.

In 1930 Boult received an invitation to organize and direct the newly formed BBC Symphony Orchestra. Boult took the group on numerous international tours and began its long, distinguished recording career. During the Second World War Boult and the orchestra took up residence in Bristol, but German raids drove them to Bedford. In 1950 Boult passed the BBC baton to Malcolm Sargent and assumed directorship of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which he took on a politically significant tour of the USSR in 1956. Following his retirement from the LPO in 1957, Boult rejoined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for one year, and returned to the Royal College to teach a new generation of conductors from 1962 to 1966. He ceased conducting altogether in 1979, after several years of occasional appearances. According to most accounts, Boult's conducting was unimpaired even at the ripe age of 90. He died in 1983, just two weeks shy of his 94th birthday.

Boult felt that it was the conductor's duty to present as much music as possible to the listening public without regard for the conductor's own personal tastes, leaving it to posterity to preserve particular pieces. Describing himself as a musical "purist," Boult believed that everything necessary for a successful performance was to be found within the printed score. Although some critics complained that Boult's musical persona lacked the colorful quality of true greatness, his gentlemanly conduct on the podium earned him respect from his musicians that hours of tirades might not have. On his "off nights," Boult's music-making perhaps came across as dull or workmanlike, but often his clarity of approach and fidelity to the score produced electrifying results.

Boult's autobiography, My Own Trumpet, was published in 1973. He was knighted in 1937, and made a Companion of Honour in 1969. Hundreds of his recordings have enjoyed a long (and profitable) life on LP and compact disc, most notably his various accounts of the symphonies of Vaughan Williams and Elgar, and Holst's Planets, but far beyond the boundaries of English music, his recordings of Wagner's and Brahms' orchestral music have found critical favor. Additionally, various archival releases, most notably two from Testament Records, have solidified Boult's reputation as a trailblazer-- the most notable of these, issued by Testament Records in 2008, contains his 1947 BBC Symphony Orchestra performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Kathleern Ferrier, the first performance of the piece ever given in England. Read less

Handel: Acis & Galatea Scenes / Sutherland, Boult, Et Al
Release Date: 01/15/2008   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3147   Number of Discs: 1
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  • 1.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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  • 2.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 307 Release Date: 11/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  George Frideric Handel,  Gustav Mahler,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Bruno Walter
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  • 5.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Elgar: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Tannhauser Overture & Venusburg Music / Boult
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5106 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4259 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Karl Böhm
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  • 8.
    Elgar: Complete EMI Recordings / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 35922 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Ida Haendel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Dame Janet Baker - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 37712 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Henry Lawes  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Kenneth Heath,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Sir John Barbirolli,  André Previn,  Sir Alexander Gibson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27; Schubert: Impromptus, D. 899; Moment Musicaux No. 3 / Curzon, Boult, London Philharmonic
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1486 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Elgar: Pomp & Circumstance Marches 1-5; Dream Children; The Wand Of Youth; Nursery Suite
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 250 Release Date: 03/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
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  • 12.
    Vaughan Williams: Complete EMI Recordings / Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 35672 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  John Carol Case,  Norma Burrowes,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
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  • 14.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
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  • 15.
    Brahms: Symphony No 4; Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 / Boult
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5093 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    The Sound of Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 780032 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Max Bruch,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Alfred Cortot,  Jacques Thibaud,  Otto Schulhof
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Landon Ronald,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1118 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Albert Edward Matt,  Jack Beaver  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Eric Coates,  Charles Williams,  Stanislav Gorkovenko  ... 
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  • 18.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 973399 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  Nicolai Gedda,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 19.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Susan Graham,  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haïm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 20.
    Essential Film Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5134 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  James Horner,  John Williams  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Cécile Ousset,  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  David Abel,  Geoff Love  ... 
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  • 21.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: 50 Best Relaxing Classical
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04104 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Han-Na Chang,  John Ogdon,  Hans Kalafusz,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Leonard Slatkin,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wiener Streichsextett
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  • 22.
    Clifford Curzon Edition - Complete Recordings [23 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728400 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    Elgar: 'enigma' Variations; Holst: The Planets
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 23077 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
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  • 24.
    Fifty Shades Of Grey: The Classical Album
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 78466 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Johann Pachelbel,  Thomas Tallis,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Samson François,  Arleen Augér,  José Luis Garcia,  Peter Barley  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cellos of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Cellos,  Les Violons du Roy
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  • 25.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 And 23 / Annie Fischer, Adrian Boult, 	Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 636561 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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