Friday, 6 August 2010

William Walton, Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten orchestral music conducted by Sir Adrian Boult 1956

Sir Adrian Boult. The 1956 Nixa-Westminster stereo recordings, Vol. 1
CD 1
Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphony No 1 in B flat minor; Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff – Symphonic Study in C minor, Op. 68
CD 2
Sir Edward ELGAR Symphony No 2 in E flat major, Op. 63 Cockaigne, ‘In London Town’ – Concert Overture, Op. 40 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Soirées musicales, Op. 9
CD 3 Benjamin BRITTEN The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, Op. 34 (Narration: Sir Adrian Boult); Matinées musicales, Op. 24 Four Sea Interludes Op. 33a and Passacaglia, Op. 33b from Peter Grimes; The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, Op. 34 London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR06

MusicWeb International recently hosted a major review by John Quinn of this excellent new CD of music conducted by the great Sir Adrian Boult. It was recorded in Walthamstow Town Hall back in 1956. Mr Quinn began his review by pointing out the source of these recordings which 'all emanate from a series of sessions that the American label, Westminster, and their British partner, Nixa Records, organised in August 1956’.
Interestingly, for the period, these recordings were made in stereo only – ten years later, the Beatles were still producing mono and stereo editions of their LPs!

The reviewer considers that ‘...the sound quality on these recordings is really very good indeed. True, there are some instances where the recordings slightly betray their age but, in all honesty, few allowances need to be made and one soon forgets that one is listening to performances that are over fifty years old. Truly, the Westminster engineers did a first rate job and their skill has been matched by Ian Jones, who made these transfers.’

After a discussion of the programme on these three CDs John Quinn concludes his review by acknowledging that ‘this is a splendid set, which all admirers of Sir Adrian Boult should hear. ...The presentation is first class, with two good and informative essays and some evocative black and white session photographs. First Hand Records have done us a great service in making these recordings available again and in doing such a fine job over the transfers and presentation.

Please read John Quinn's full review, along with another of the same recording by Rob Barnett at MusicWeb International

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