Sir Adrian Boult


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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Sir Adrian Boult was a supreme interpreter of Elgar’s music, winning accolades and awards for performances and recordings. Boult championed his music throughout his conducting life following the composer’s prophetic words in a letter to Boult in 1920, ‘I feel that my reputation in the future is safe in your hands’.

Boult only made one recording of The Dream of Gerontius, in 1975, of which the Penguin Guide enthused, ‘Boult’s total dedication is matched by his powerful sense of drama…the spiritual feeling is intense throughout’ while The Gramophone Guide ended their review with ‘Boult directs with commendable energy and typical humanity. A document to be treasured.’

This DVD represents the only existing film of Boult conducting The Dream of Gerontius filmed in Canterbury Cathedral in 1968.

The performance features a stellar cast of soloists: Dame Janet Baker, a leading interpreter of The Angel in The Dream of Gerontius, who recorded the role twice, in 1964 in Sir John Barbirolli’s famous recording, and in 1986 under Sir Simon Rattle; John Shirley Quirk who, with Boult, recorded a definitive interpretation of Peter in The Kingdom and about whom Boult said” J.S.-Q. […] was perfection and I don’t think any of the old guard could surpass [him]”; Peter Pears, who recorded the work in 1972 under the direction of his close friend Benjamin Britten.

The film uses the original BBC master which is far superior to the poor copies which have been in circulation over the years.

This was the first classical music production filmed in colour, for which Brian Large, “an understanding musician as well as a brilliant producer” in Boult’s words, had secured eight out of the nine colour T.V. cameras existing in the UK at that time. This DVD also features a 60-minute documentary on Sir Adrian Boult as a bonus. This film was produced in 1989 by the BBC to celebrate Sir Adrian Boult’s 100th anniversary.

The booklet includes a note written by Andrew Neil, from the Elgar Society, as well as a long extract from Sir Adrian Boult’s biography in which Boult gave his extended insight on the filming. The booklet also includes the sung text in English.

DVD format: NTSC

Picture format: 4:3

Running time: 100 mins (feature); 60 mins (bonus)

Subtitles: None

Menu languages: English

Booklet languages: English

Region code: 0

Territory Restrictions: None

“[Pears] is, in a word, magnificent. Shirley-Quirk is marvellous, too, in both his roles, and Janet Baker, inhabiting the Angel as only she could, is in a league of her own...the TV sound is remarkably good for its time and the quality of the solo performances... makes this a must-see.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“A very important DVD release for Elgar lovers and admirers of Sir Adrian Boult.” MusicWeb International, 11th January 2017

“Boult’s handling of the Prelude, and his masterly accompaniment – especially to Janet Baker’s radiant final benediction – is so beautiful, so magisterial in its intensity, that it feels as though the score is simply being opened before us, its truths unclouded by any merely human ‘interpretation’…the accompanying documentary is excellent: full of fascinating, moving insights into Boult as man and conductor…a beautifully devised portrait of a great musician” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - December 2016

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

ica classics - ICAD5140

(DVD Video - 2 discs)


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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Concert Fantasy

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Concert Fantasy


Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

New Symphony Orchestra of London, Edric Cundell

Concert Fantasy, Op. 56

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult

Peter Katin (piano)

On this reissue, Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 1 is coupled with a relative rarity – the Concert Fantasy. Peter Katin was not the first pianist to make a studio recording of Tchaikovksy’s Concert Fantasy – that honour went to Tatiana Nikolayeva in 1950 – but his 1958 recording with Sir Adrian Boult was the first in stereo. Katin, who was born in London in 1930 and died on 19 March 2015 at the age of 84 studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and made his professional debut in Wigmore Hall when he was eighteen. He is associated with the Romantic repertoire, particularly with Chopin, but also is admired for his performances of music by Mozart and Schubert. His extensive discography includes not only performances on modern pianos, but also several recordings made on restored period instruments, in which he developed a strong interest, later in his career. These Tchaikovsky recordings receive their first release on Decca CD.

“the orchestra does well, and Katin gives us the fine clarity and control which always distinguish his playing” Gramophone Magazine, January 1959 (Concert Fantasy)

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Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

New Symphony Orchestra of London, Sir Colin Davis

Peter Katin (piano)

Pianist Peter Katin died on 19 March 2015 at the age of 84. He was born in London in 1930, and by the time he was twelve he was a student at the Royal Academy of Music. He made his professional debut in Wigmore Hall six years later. Early in his career, he was particularly admired for his performances of works from the Classical era, but he caused a sensation in 1953 when he performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3. (One reviewer wrote, ‘The young English pianist was greeted, after this breathtaking display, with the hearty and prolonged applause that we generally confine to established public idols.’) The Rachmaninov recordings reissued here date from 1958 (Concerto No. 1) and 1959 (Concerto No. 2). In addition to Katin’s virtuosity, they feature intelligent conducting from Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Colin Davis, and engineering which is almost as impressive today as it was more than five decades ago.

“[the Piano Concerto No. 2] is all brought off very well and there are many passages of great felicity” Gramophone Magazine, September 1964

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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade & Russian Easter Festival Overture

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade & Russian Easter Festival Overture

Rimsky Korsakov:

Scheherazade, Op. 35

London Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Monteux

Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36

first release on CD

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult

In his most famous orchestral composition, Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov, like Beethoven in his ‘Pastoral’ Symphony before him, was more interested in evoking feelings and impressions than in spoon-feeding listeners a pre-digested program. So the titles he provided for its four movements, were indicative rather than based on particular stories from the Arabian Nights.

Pierre Monteux’s recording, taped in Kingsway Hall in June 1957 was first issued on RCA (at the time when the label had a collaborative release arrangement with Decca). Since then the recording has repatriated to Decca who first issued it on LP in 1970 and then on CD in 1988 as part of its ‘Weekend Classics’ series. It is now restored to circulation as part of Eloquence’s on-going exploration of the recorded legacy of Monteux.

That same year, Rimsky-Korsakov also completed the Russian Easter Festival Overture, also known as ‘Bright Holiday’, in keeping with the Russian Orthodox name for Easter. Many of the melodies heard in this work were taken from the Obikhod, a collection of liturgical chants dating back many centuries, and first published in 1772. Rimsky-Korsakov had a deep appreciation for Russia’s pagan and early Christian history.

Sir Adrian Boult’s recording of the Overture also hails from 1957, and like Monteux’s Schehrazade first appeared on RCA. Decca released it in 1971 as part of its Eclipse series. This is its first release on Decca CD.

“The London Symphony Orchestra plays extremely well … Hugh McGuire is an admirable violin soloist – I was especially trateful to hear those long and very high E’s at the end so securely held… Monteux’s very great perception of the wizardry of the scoring is in its own way the equal of Beecham’s and he is specially notable for the way he builds each movement. The recording is splendid…” Gramophone Magazine, November 1958 (Scheherazade)

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Dvořák & Schumann: Cello Concertos

Dvořák & Schumann: Cello Concertos


Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104


Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129

Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)

R.P.O & Leningrad, Adrian Boult & Rozhdestvensky

Alto - ALC1261



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Sir Adrian Boult conducts Elgar & Wagner

Sir Adrian Boult conducts Elgar & Wagner


Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63

Royal Albert Hall, London, 24 July 1977


Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music

Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale, London, 8 December 1968

with BBC Chorus

Sir Adrian Boult (1889–1983) studied in England and at Leipzig, Germany, with early conducting work in London for the Royal Opera House and Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet company. His first prominent post was conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra in 1924. When the British Broadcasting Corporation appointed him director of music in 1930, he established the BBC Symphony Orchestra and became its chief conductor. The orchestra set standards of excellence (famously conducted by Toscanini) that were rivalled in Britain only by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), founded two years later.

After leaving the BBCSO in 1950, Boult took on the chief conductorship of the LPO and under his guidance its fortunes were revived. He retired as its chief conductor in 1957. In the latter part of his career he worked with other orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and his former orchestra, the BBC Symphony, conducting them in concerts and recordings until 1978, in what was widely called his ‘Indian summer’.

Boult was very closely associated with Elgar’s music throughout his career and recorded the Second Symphony five times (in 1944, 1956, 1963, 1968 and 1975 – all in the studio).

This live Proms performance recorded in stereo from 1977 ‘shows Boult in his late eighties working with the passion and energy of a much younger man’ (Martin Cotton). His relatively fast tempi are closer to his first recording made in 1944 with the BBCSO.

Elgar wrote to Boult ‘I feel that my reputation in the future is safe in your hands’ following a performance of his Symphony No.2.

The Overture and Venusberg Music from Wagner’s Tannhäuser are a new addition to the Boult discography and come from a live studio performance in stereo from the Maida Vale Studios in 1968.

Gramophone described ICA's recording of Boult's live performance of Elgar’s Symphony No.1 (ICAC5063) as ‘Boult at his inimitable best’.

“what treasure-trove it comprises...Not only do the BBC SO play with heartfelt commitment...but the 88-year-old Boult directs with unerring grip and thrusting vigour...So where's the rub? Well, the boomy, cavernous sound leaves a lot to be desired...if you can contend with the problematic sound, there's heaps to admire here on purely artistic grounds.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

ica classics Legacy - ICAC5106



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The Essential Wagner

The Essential Wagner


Der fliegende Holländer: Overture

Summ' und brumm', du gutes Rädchen 'Spinning Chorus' (from Der fliegende Holländer)

Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an 'Senta's Ballad' (from Der fliegende Holländer)

Steuermann, laß die Wacht! (from Der fliegende Holländer)

Tannhäuser: Overture

Dich, teure Halle (from Tannhauser)

O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)

Begluckt darf nun dich 'Pilgrims' Chorus' (from Tannhauser)

Einsam in trüben Tagen (from Lohengrin)

Entweihte Götter (from Lohengrin)

Bridal Chorus 'Treulich geführt' (from Lohengrin)

In fernem Land (from Lohengrin)

Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla

Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries

Siegmund heiß ich und Siegmund bin ich! (from Die Walküre)

Hoho! Hoho! Hohei! Schmiede, mein Hammer, ein hartes Schwert! (from Siegfried)

Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral March

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Overture

Morgenlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein 'Prize Song' (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe (from Tristan und Isolde)

Mild und leise 'Isolde's Liebestod' (from Tristan und Isolde)

Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 1

Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 3

The best-loved and most popular works by Richard Wagner, performed by the world’s leading artists, in an accessible format at budget price.

Warner Classics - 9733992

(CD - 2 discs)


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Sir Adrian Boult conducts Elgar & Holst

Sir Adrian Boult conducts Elgar & Holst


Enigma Variations, Op. 36

London Symphony Orchestra


The Planets, Op. 32

The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir & London Philharmonic Orchestra

Warner Classics Masters - 6230772



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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 23

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 23


Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488

Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer suffered reprisals for her Jewish background, but after the Second World War she enjoyed her international breakthough with Mozart playing of gentle elegance, supple virtuosity and dramatic power.

Warner Classics Red Line - 6365612



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Kenneth McKellar sings Handel

Kenneth McKellar sings Handel


Frondi tenere e belle ... Ombra mai fù (from Serse)

Love in her eyes sits playing (from Acis and Galatea)

Silent Worship (based on an aria from Tolomeo)

Jephtha: Waft her, angels, through the skies

Semele: Where'er you walk

Judas Maccabaeus: Thanks to my brethren…How vain is man

Judas Maccabaeus: My Arms! Against this Gorgias…Sound an alarm

Messiah: All they that see him … He trusted in God

Messiah: Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart...Behold And See

Messiah: He Was Cut Off Out of the Land...But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell

Messiah: Unto which of the angels … Let all the angels of God

Messiah: He that dwelleth in heaven … Thou shalt break them

Messiah: O Death, where is thy sting?

Messiah: Comfort ye my people and Ev'ry valley shall be exalted

Throughout much of the first half of the previous century, entertainer Harry Lauder was, in the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Scotland’s greatest ever ambassador!’ In the following years, Scotland’s next ‘greatest ever ambassador’ (if not Sean Connery!) must have been Kenneth McKellar, who was born in 1927, the son of a grocer, in the Scottish town of Paisley.

From 1959–60 he recorded a series of Handel arias for Decca, with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Some were issued on an EP and later the entire collection was brought out on an LP. In 1961 he went into the recording studios, again with Boult, for more Handel, this time with the LSO and Chorus, to sing the tenor part in Messiah alongside Joan Sutherland, Grace Bumbry and David Ward.

Collected here are all the arias from the first record, supplemented with additional arias from Messiah. ‘Thy rebuke … Behold and see’ was recorded during the Messiah sessions as an alternative take to the soprano version (Joan Sutherland eventually sang it in the complete recording) and never issued on LP (it first appeared as an appendix to the Decca Eloquence reissue of this complete Boult Messiah). ‘Comfort ye … Ev’ry valley’ comes from the earlier Handel Arias sessions, and receives its first international release on CD.

McKellar died, shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in 2010, while visiting his daughter Jane in the United States. He is buried in Paisley. It is gratifying that his artistry is being rediscovered by a new generation of listeners.

“Kenneth McKellar's voice has timeless appeal in this 1960s compilation.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 ***

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