Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adrian Boult, LPO, LSO - Holst-The Planets, Elgar-Enigma Variations

 


 

 

 

 

Review:

Boult's stereo recordings of "The Planets" and "Enigma" variations have been around 30 years and are well-known to collectors. Newbies taking their first steps into these wonderful British scores could hardly do better than in this starting place. What makes Boult among the greatest interpreters of this music? He was British, of course, and interpreted this music with a sense of proportionGustav Holst that deletes bombast while still making most of the large moments in the scores. His elegance in "Enigma" is still a benchmark in this score.

Boult recorded this music many times; this was his final recording notable for the slower tempo of the menacing opening movement. Many collectors prefer his earlier recording of "The Planets" including his 1950s mono version that was once on a Westminster LP in the United State. Intrepid Internet searchers can still find this recording, made from the perspective of the podium and with far greater drive and emotion than this one. Still, Boult's stereo recording is spectacular, proportionate and very personal. It will tell you everything you need to know about the scores even though it may lack some of the headlong emotion Boult brought in his earlier recordings. The same is true of Boult's later Vaughan Williams' recordings of the symphonies and other music, which are still beloved even though his earlier mono recordings may outdo them.

Anyone wanting a modern recording of "The Planets" and "Enigma" variations cannot go wrong with this CD. 

 

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