The dashing overtones of Cherubini's famous "Anacréon" Overture have been recorded by Klemperer before and the quality of that interpretation is at least matched by Boult in this 1963 recording. The sound is excellent, you wouldn't tell that this is live apart from the usual audience coughs but the recording is quite priceless. The same goes for this impeccably played and handsomely conducted account of Schubert's Ninth, one of Boult's favourite works and infinitely preferable to his occasionally staid 1972 venture. The BBC Symphony respond with panache for their former chief, especially in that autumnal Andante con moto but all movements are imparted with a healthy dose of energy, vigour and ultimately, Schubertian lyricism. The disc ends with another characterful account of Cornelius" "The Barber of Baghdad" which is in rather dated sound but charming nonetheless. An excellent essay by Martin Cotton confirms the stature of Boult as one of the greatest BBC conductors and there are also intimations of the charade which caused Boult's dismissal from the venerable bureaucratic institution. The music making on this disc proves that Boult was indeed "indispensable" to the BBC.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech