LPO / Sir Adrian Boult – The 1956 Nixa-Westminster Stereo Recordings, 3 CDs – (Vol. 1)

+ P&P

Gramophone Editor’s Choice: Reissue of the Month
FHR06 Categories: , , , ,


Congratulations are due to all concerned for this magnificent release”

(International Record Review) 

William WALTON (1902-1983)
1-4. Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor [43:17]
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
5-10. Falstaff – Symphonic Study in C minor, Op. 68 [33:48]

Sir Edward ELGAR
1-4. Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63 [52:33]
5. Cockaigne, ‘In London Town’ – Concert Overture, Op. 40 [14:02]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
6-10. Soirées musicales, Op. 9 (from miscellaneous pieces by BRITTEN, adapted & orchestrated BRITTEN)

Benjamin BRITTEN
1-21. The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Variations & Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, Op. 34 [19:38] (MONO)
22-26. Matinées musicales, Op. 24  (from miscellaneous pieces by BRITTEN, adapted & orchestrated BRITTEN) [13:13]
27-31. Four Sea Interludes, Op. 33a and Passacaglia, Op. 33b [24:14]
32. The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Variations & Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, Op. 34 [18:55]

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Adrian Boult

First release on CD of the original Westminster source masters: CD 1, tracks 1-10, CD2, tracks 1-10, CD3, tracks 22-26
First stereo release on CD & first stereo release in UK: CD2, tracks 5-10, CD3, tracks 22-26 & 32
First release on CD from tape source: CD1, tracks 5-10
Previously unreleased in the UK in any format: CD2, track 5
All first stereo recordings, except for CD3 track 32

Recording dates: 15-17, 20 & 3031 August 1956
Recording venue: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London
Principal balance engineer: Herbert Zeithammer
Second balance engineer: Mario Mizzaro
Producer: Kurt List
Remastering engineer: Ian Jones (Abbey Road Studios)
Liner notes: Colin Anderson
Issue note: Peter Bromley
Release date: June 2010
Total duration: 3 hrs 49 mins 37 secs

This important historical release contains a mouth-watering selection of classic English symphonic repertoire, with many recordings receiving their CD debuts. These 1956 Nixa – Westminster recordings have been remastered at Abbey Road studios from original tapes held in the EMI and Universal archives. The sound quality is quite astonishing, especially considering they were made over fifty years ago. Sir Adrian Boult is featured, conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in his signature repertoire on recordings that are already considered to be classics. Boult’s interpretation of Elgar’s Symphony No. 2, for example, is arguably second to none, as is his powerful performance of Walton’s first symphony. Boult rarely recorded Britten, so it is of significance that this set includes his complete recordings of the composer’s works (Boult’s own narration of the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is beautifully enunciated). Also included are the two rarely-recorded Britten orchestrations of music by Rossini, joyfully performed and providing light, foot-tapping contrast.

Gramophone Editor’s Choice/Reissue of the Month

Diapason d’Or

Press Quotes

***** (Musica 245, Italy)

“An outstanding set from First Hand Records… Some of these performances have been around on CD before, but they have never sounded anything like as resplendent as they do here. For the source material, First Hand Records has gone back to the original Westminster master tapes, and the results are a revelation… his generously filled First Hand set is one of the most musically rewarding historic reissues to have come my way in some while, and it’s supported by very good notes, some unusual session photographs and detailed information about the sources used. A second volume is promised – the Berlioz overtures and Schumann symphonies recorded at the same sessions – and I really can’t wait to hear them. Congratulations are due to all concerned for this magnificent release: no lover of British music or of Boult’s conducting should miss it” (International Record Review) 

“Followers of British music and its history on disc will inevitably be drawn to a neatly packaged and skillfully transferred three-disc collection on First Hand Records…”
(Gramophone Magazine, Editor’s Choice – Reissue of the Month) 

“Sound from the Walthamstow Hall is extraordinarily vivid and the Elgar Falstaff and Second Symphony are musically superb.” (Hi-Fi News)

“Boult conducts a lively performance [Young Person’s Guide] and his account of the Peter Grimes excerpts has plenty of drama and atmosphere. This thoroughly recommended set is completed by spirited performances of the Rossini arrangements.” (Classic Review Quarterly)

“This is a splendid set, which all admirers of Sir Adrian Boult should hear. As I said at the start, the sound quality is remarkably good. 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. I look forward keenly to the next volume.” (Musicweb-International, John Quinn)

“The recordings have never sounded as good.” (Musicweb-International, Rob Barnett)

“This fascinating and rewarding set from First Hand Records has given enormous pleasure, not least due to the excellent presentation, which includes very informative booklet notes (by Colin Anderson and Peter Bromley), colour reproductions of the original LP sleeves and black-and-white ones from the sessions. This set restores some rare Boult’s recordings to the catalogue in as fine a sound as possible, the transfers having been done from the best sources and with great care; what good news it is that a second volume of Boult’s Nixa-Westminster recordings (Schumann and Berlioz) is to be released. This current FHR set is indispensable.” (Classical Source)

Additional information

Tracks and albums

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