"I feel that my reputation in the future is safe in your hands... Bless you!"
- Sir Edward Elgar to 27 year-old Adrian Boult (1920).
This 19 CD box contains all of Sir Adrian Boult's EMI recordings of Elgar,
from the 1932 BBC recording of Chopin's Funeral March (two years before Elgar's death)
to the 1978 Violin Concerto with Ida Haendel and the London Philharmonic (the year Boult retired from conducting).
There are a number of duplicates -
14 works were recorded twice, The Introduction and Allegro three times, and The Enigma Variations four times.
All are in this box.
Recorded 1967-1977 unless otherwise noted:
Chanson de Nuit and Chanson de Matin
Concerto for Cello (Pablo Casals - 1945 mono, Paul Tortelier - 1972 stereo)
Concerto for Violin (Yehudi Menuhin - 1965, Ida Haendel - 1978, both stereo)
Dream Children (1955 mono, 1974 stereo)
The Dream of Gerontius
The Dream of Gerontius, Prelude (1934 mono)
Elegy for strings
Enigma Variations (1936 and 1953 mono, 1961 and 1976 stereo)
Falstaff - Symphonic Study (1950 mono, 1973 stereo)
Fantasia & Fugue in C minor - after Bach, BWV 537 (1949 mono, 1973 stereo)
Froissart Overture (1955 mono, 1971 stereo)
Funeral March (Chopin orch. Elgar) (1932 mono, 1974 stereo)
Grania and Diarmid, Op.42 - Incidental Music
Imperial March (1937 mono, 1976 stereo)
In the South (Alassio) Overture (1955 mono, 1970 stereo)
Introduction & Allegro for strings (1937 mono, 1961 and 1972 stereo)
Meditation from "The Light of Life"
The Music Makers
Nursery Suite (1955 mono)
Overture in D minor - after Handel, HWV247
Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5 (1955 mono, 1976 stereo)
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 3 (1953 mono)
The Sanguine Fan
Serenade for Strings
Symphony No. 1 (1949 mono, 1976 stereo)
Symphony No. 2 (1944 mono, 1976 stereo)
Triumphal March from "Caractacus"
Wand of Youth Suite No. 1 (1953 mono, 1967 stereo)
Wand of Youth Suite No. 2
+ "The Apostles & The Kingdom: An illustrated introduction by Sir Adrian Boult"
+ Coronation Ode, Op. 44 - conducted by Philip Ledger
Pretty much self-recommending, if the World's Foremost Authority can be trusted, and especially so at the price.
Sound: Nothing has been newly remastered for this box.
Existing EMI stereo, and EMI and Testament mono CD masters have been used.
No complaints about the sound.
My only disappointment is with the presentation of the three big choral works that Boult recorded between 1968 and 1975.
Nothing wrong with the performances, but the documentation is minimal, contrasted with the lavish presentation of the first CD release:
The Apostles: Apostles
The Kingdom: Elgar: The Kingdom Op 51 / Coronation Ode Op 44
The Dream of Gerontius: Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, The Music Makers - or - Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - The Music Makers / Gedda, Watts, Lloyd, Baker; Boult
I would also avoid this 6 CD box of Elgar Choral Music: Choral Works
The documentation there is also minimal.
The works are sung in English, but a printed text is still essential.
P.S. EMI (Warner) has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Elgar.
Sir John Barbirolli, a contemporary of Boult, also recorded many of these works for EMI.
His relationship with the composer went back to the 1919 premiere of the Cello Concerto - Elgar conducted and Barbirolli was in the orchestra.
Barbirolli's stereo Elgar recordings are on: British Composers: Sir John Barbirolli Conducts Elgar - and - Dream of Gerontius
Dutton and The Barbirolli Society have done a good job in making his earlier mono recordings available.
It would be nice if Warner would gather everything together and release it in one really big box.
Also recommended by the World's Foremost Authority.
More indulgent interpretations than the classically trained Boult
(I used to think I preferred Barbirolli. Now I'm not so sure).