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Holst Choral Symphony from Chandos

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Author Topic: Holst Choral Symphony from Chandos  (Read 4111 times)
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« on: September 13, 2013, 02:44:06 pm »

I don't think that we should ever underestimate Sir Adrian Boult. He was, in my opinion, one of the greatest of 20th century conductors but his very formal persona and almost Edwardian manners coupled with his reserve, low key podium style and, apparent, lack of charisma, glamour, call it what you will makes him an unlikely candidate for inclusion in the media-conscious, jet-setting, youth-orientated conductor world of the early 21st century.

Sir Thomas Beecham attracted more attention perhaps in his day and was, at his best, a supreme interpreter BUT of a much more limited repertoire than Boult. Barbirolli-again, on his day and in certain repertoire, was inspirational. But, for all-round excellence, in an astonishingly wide repertoire, ranging from Schubert and Brahms, through almost everything in British Music to twelve-tone Schoenberg and Berg, Boult STILL takes some beating. His recordings of the Brahms 4th or the Schubert 9th are as good as any of the interpretations of the great German conductors of the 20th century. The fact that his recordings of Elgar and Vaughan Williams are still regarded as at the very top of the tree of comparisons is a testimony to the depth of Boult's interpretations. Anyone who doubts Sir Adrian's capacity, through sheer command of an orchestra and the immense respect orchestral musicians had for him, to produce enormously "exciting" readings of works like The Dream of Gerontius, or the VW symphonies or Job or the Holst needs to actually listen to these performances Grin With a stick-technique which was, to say the least, "minimalist", Boult could conjure the most amazing sounds from an orchestra.

As I mentioned not so long ago, Decca are still sitting on Boult's amazing recording of the Humphrey Searle Symphony No.1. The Searle 1st(a serial symphony) is not the sort of work the general public MAY have associated with Boult-yet the performance is absolutely blistering Smiley Whether Boult actually liked it is immaterial; he was a conductor who was prepared to conduct, indeed give first performances to, a VAST range of British Music. Indeed his contribution has been grossly insufficiently acknowledged. Remember too that it was Boult who conducted the first performance of the Havergal Brian Gothic Smiley Smiley

Yes...compared to Gergiev or Jurowski or Petrenko or Dudamel or........Boult will appear an elderly gentlemen from another era but as a conductor of superb talent and a musician of undoubted total integrity he still takes some beating!
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