Sir Adrian Boult: The Decca Legacy Vol.3 - 19th- & 20th-Century Music | Australian Eloquence ELQ4842284

Sir Adrian Boult: The Decca Legacy Vol.3 - 19th- & 20th-Century Music


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Label: Australian Eloquence

Cat No: ELQ4842284

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 16

Release Date: 7th October 2022



Kirsten Flagsatd (soprano)
Clifford Curzon (piano)
Friedrich Gulda (piano)
Julius Katchen (piano)
Peter Katin (piano)
Alfredo Campoli (violin)
Mischa Elman (violin)
Ruggiero Ricci (violin)
Zara Nelsova (cello)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Wiener Philharmoniker


Adrian Boult


Beethoven, Ludwig van

Violin Concerto in D major, op.61

Bruch, Max

Scottish Fantasy, op.46
Violin Concerto no.1 in G minor, op.26

Chopin, Frederic

Piano Concerto no.1 in E minor, op.11

Dohnanyi, Erno

Variations on a Nursery Theme, op.25

Franck, Cesar

Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra

Lalo, Edouard

Cello Concerto in D minor

Litolff, Henry

Concerto Symphonique no.4 in D minor, op.102
» Scherzo

Mahler, Gustav

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer)

Mendelssohn, Felix

Violin Concerto in E minor, op.64

Prokofiev, Sergei

Lieutenant Kije: Suite, op.60
The Love for Three Oranges: Suite, op.33a

Rachmaninov, Sergei

Piano Concerto no.1 in F sharp minor, op.1
Piano Concerto no.2 in C minor, op.18
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op.43
Symphony no.2 in E minor, op.27
Symphony no.3 in A minor, op.44

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai

Russian Easter Festival Overture, op.36

Saint-Saens, Camille

Cello Concerto no.1 in A minor, op.33

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich

1812 Overture, op.49
Concert Fantasia in G major, op.56
Hamlet: Fantasy Overture, op.67
Suite no.3 in G major, op.55
Symphony no.3 in D major, op.29 'Polish'
Violin Concerto in D major, op.35

Wieniawski, Henryk

Violin Concerto no.2 in D minor, op.22


Kirsten Flagsatd (soprano)
Clifford Curzon (piano)
Friedrich Gulda (piano)
Julius Katchen (piano)
Peter Katin (piano)
Alfredo Campoli (violin)
Mischa Elman (violin)
Ruggiero Ricci (violin)
Zara Nelsova (cello)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Wiener Philharmoniker


Adrian Boult



After twenty years as the BBC’s director of music, Sir Adrian Boult was unceremoniously ‘retired’ by the corporation in 1950. Still in the prime of his career, Boult continued to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra as its chief conductor, but meanwhile began to make commercial recordings for English labels such as Decca and Nixa, enabling American audiences in particular to hear a conductor previously confined by and large to his own shores, and in top-of-the-range studio engineering.

While Decca capitalised on Boult’s reputation as a master of English and choral repertoire, with a pioneering Vaughan Williams symphony cycle, mono and stereo versions of Messiah and much else made available in the two companion boxes on Decca Eloquence, the label also took advantage of his easy relations with many of the great instrumental soloists of the day. At the BBC Proms and elsewhere, he had made music with the likes of Alfredo Campoli, Mischa Elman and Sir Clifford Curzon for decades, and there is a special familiarity and ease of communication about their concerto recordings together. Boult also partnered exciting younger virtuosos such as the pianists Peter Katin and Friedrich Gulda, always attentive and dynamic in partnership. The new box brings together both mono and stereo-era versions of Dohnányi’s once-popular Nursery Variations and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody in which Boult strikes up an intuitive rapport with Julius Katchen.

Boult’s very versatility told against him: sometimes viewed then and now as a good all-rounder, he loses nothing to the competition for authentically Russian fire and balletic grace in symphonies by Tchaikovsky (the Third – appearing here in stereo for the first time) and Rachmaninov (the Second and Third, repatriated from RCA to Decca). Prokofiev suites are infused with wit and pungent orchestral colour. And whichever orchestra he was conducting, Boult elicited the best from them with collegial authority – even the very French-sounding winds of the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. This ‘original covers’ box restores the recordings to their LP couplings and features a new essay on Boult by Nigel Simeone.

“Sir Adrian conducts it just beautifully. The piano, too, is recorded with unusual faithfulness.” – High Fidelity, October 1954 (Chopin: Piano Concerto no.1)

“Boult sets out at once with an introduction of more varied character and this matches Gulda’s conception, which I think will please Chopin lovers more.” – Gramophone, June 1963 (Chopin: Piano Concerto no.1)

“The burlesque character of Dohnányi’s imposing introduction is indicated in the performance so that the innocent theme naively played by the pianist gets its laugh … Splendidly done.” – Musical Times, November 1954 (Dohnányi/Rachmaninov – mono recordings)

“The Boult sound and fury, although slightly reserved, has been captured with impressive realism by Decca’s engineers in a recording that is notable for the excellence of the orchestral work.” – High Fidelity, October 1954 (Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture)

“Really in a class by itself from the competing editions. Persuasive lyricism from the soloist, very sensitive orchestral leadership and gracious sound.” – High Fidelity, January 1955 (Beethoven: Violin Concerto)

“A gentlemanly, lyrical performance. The work becomes more transparent in his hands and assumes a fresh kind of easy-flowing texture.” – High Fidelity, October 1956 (Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no.2)

“There is no little appeal [in Tchaikovsky’s Concert Fantasia], which in his lucid, restrained, cleanly articulated fashion Mr. Katin brings out quite beautifully … Sir Adrian and the LPO provide first-rate collaboration.” – High Fidelity, September 1959

“A great success – the unfamiliar orchestra has stimulated him to his best form … I particularly enjoyed the Theme and Variations in this extremely good and well-played performance.” – Gramophone, March 1956 (Tchaikovsky: Suite no.3)

“Curzon proves himself a great virtuoso … The whole thing is brilliantly recorded.”
– EMG Monthly Letter, May 1956 (Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2)

“Curzon stresses the delicacy of the pianism. This is a refined, classical performance … Boult gives him sturdy support.”
– High Fidelity, May 1961 (Franck: Variations symphoniques)

“A thoroughly desirable disc.” – EMG Monthly Letter, May 1956 (Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges)

“[The Symphony’s] atmosphere is tellingly conveyed... and the quality of orchestral tone in this stereo version is very handsome.”
– High Fidelity, February 1966 (Rachmaninov: Symphony no.2)

“A most treasurable issue … [Flagstad] in wonderful form. She sings the Kindertotenlieder with great restraint but a restraint that does not conceal the underlying deep emotion.” – Gramophone, March 1969 (Mahler: Lieder)

“One of the most compelling versions of the Polish Symphony around, the opening Allegro full of fire, the Andante elegiaco deeply expressive. The Third Suite features the superb violinist Pierre Nerini … the chattering Scherzo is more taut than on the conductor’s otherwise excellent LPO remake.” – Gramophone, August 2020 (Tchaikovsky: Symphony no.3, Suite no.3)


This is another fine box from Eloquence, well remastered and with excellent notes from Nigel Simeone.
MusicWeb International
‘The Decca Legacy’ showcases items that might reasonably be defined as ‘timeless’ alongside those whose qualities are merely ‘of their time’. […] These swankily packaged sets will delight Boult mavens and more general collectors.
Another legend for whom to find a bit of extra shelf space is conductor Adrian Boult, whose Decca Legacy has been released across three indispensable volumes.
BBC Music Magazine

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