Boult's BBC Years: Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien, Serenade for Strings; Beethoven: Symphony No. 8; Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel Overture
Beulah have shown uncommon confidence in Boult in his early years. Their catalogue is the home of many of his earliest recordings. ...This disc reminds us of the vintage commercial recordings he made of the core repertoire... The Capriccio is a bombastic work which for all its brilliance is pretty thin gruel. Boult however gives it one of its best ever outings. He does this redeeming work through the minutest attention to phrasing, dynamics and pacing...Boult directs an alert and exciting performance of Beethoven 8 with many of the same qualities as are in evidence in his contemporary recording of Schubert's Great C major (also on Beulah and very recently released). In fact, if you close your eyes for a moment, the stylistic relationship with the Schubert is seamless. The Tchaikovsky Serenade, though done with a lilt (II) and a sigh (III) and dating from 1937 during the orchestra's vintage years, seems far from smooth and when it does acquire suaveness it becomes a shade superficial. The Humperdinck takes us back to Abbey Road four days after the Beethoven had been set down. It represents an orchestra and conductor in good heart giving a flowing and playful performance.... Full notes by Bill and Gill Newman and, on the cover, a delightful drawing of Boult rehearsing. Minimal engineering intervention is intended to preserve the original sound uncompromised... A souvenir of Boult the antithesis of the Karajan/Bernstein school; a man with a subtle baton technique and no sense of podium balletics. Integrity shines from these recordings reminding us of other dimensions to a man who is and was so much more than the archetypal English gentleman... These are, by the way, commercial recordings, not studio work for broadcast. --Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
Reminder: these recordings are meticulously remastered from original sources. However,many of these recordings date from the 1930s and 1940s,so sound quality will not be at modern standards.