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Sir Adrian Boult - Handel : Messiah - Bach : Magnificat

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Handel : Messiah - Bach : Magnificat

Sir Adrian Boult - Pierre Colombo

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Sir Adrian Boult’s first Messiah for Decca, newly remastered and coupled with a rare L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Bach Magnificat, new to CD


When this Messiah was released in 1954, critics were quick to recognise it as exemplifying the English oratorio tradition at its finest. Boult used a large chorus – the London Philharmonic Choir, singing with superb discipline and clarity of articulation – but he rejected both the monumental style of performance cultivated by Sir Malcolm Sargent and the anachronistic trappings of Sir Thomas Beecham’s Handel. Boult slimmed down the LPO to chamber-orchestra dimensions, though he did not neglect the oratorio’s moments of grandeur, pathos and splendour. Almost everywhere, the recorded sound belies its age. With mono this vivid and with bass frequencies this powerful, few will pine for stereo. Each orchestral section is sharply delineated: a glint of oboe timbre here, a welcome emphasis on the bottom line’s crunchy bassoon timbre there.
In fact his stereo remake from seven years later (with the London Symphony Orchestra) has a more old-fashioned feel, due at least in part to a more operatically scaled team of soloists. In 1954 Boult’s cast was led by the elegant and imperious soprano of Jennifer Vyvyan. The male soloists, too, found favour with Benjamin Britten when casting his operas; the recording is particularly valuable as a rare example on records of the artistry of the American tenor George Maran: always well-focused, assured from top to bottom of the register.
More British singers on top form may be enjoyed in the coupling, a recording of Bach’s Magnificat made in 1955 for L’Oiseau-Lyre by the London-based Kalmar Chamber Orchestra and St Anthony Singers. The Swiss conductor Pierre Colombo, little known now, presides over a rhythmically vital account, lent a further ‘period’ feel by the stylish contributions of both the countertenor Alfred Deller and the slender, pure-toned soprano member of the Deller Consort, Eileen McLoughlin. This reissue is further enhanced by a new essay by R.J. Stove, contextualising both the works and these marvellous performances. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)


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Handel : Messiah - Bach : Magnificat

Sir Adrian Boult

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Messiah, HWV 56 / Pt. 1 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

1
Symphony
London Philharmonic Orchestra
00:04:48

London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

2
1. Comfort ye, My People
George Maran
00:04:03

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

3
2. Ev'ry Valley shall be Exalted
George Maran
00:03:58

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

4
3. And the Glory of the Lord
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:03:09

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

5
4. Thus saith the Lord
Owen Brannigan
00:01:45

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

6
5. But who may abide the Day of his Coming
Owen Brannigan
00:04:42

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

7
6. And He shall purify the sons of Levi
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:37

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

8
7. Behold, a Virgin shall Conceive
Norma Procter
00:00:35

Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

9
8 & 9. O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
Norma Procter
00:06:24

Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

10
10. For Behold, Darkness shall Cover the Earth
Owen Brannigan
00:02:37

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

11
11. The People that walked in Darkness
Owen Brannigan
00:03:35

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

12
12. For unto us a Child is born
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:04:19

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

13
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
00:03:23

London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

14
14. There were Shepherds...And Suddenly there was with the Angel
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:02:04

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

15
15. Glory to God in the Highest
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:01:59

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

16
16. Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:04:59

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

17
17. Then shall the Eyes of the Blind
Norma Procter
00:00:30

Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

18
18. He shall Feed his Flock
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:06:22

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

19
19. His Yoke is Easy
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:43

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

Messiah, HWV 56 / Pt. 2 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

20
20. Behold the Lamb of God
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:03:58

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

21
21. He Was Despised
Norma Procter
00:12:48

Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

22
22. Surely He hath borne our Griefs
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:45

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

23
23. And with His Stripes we are Healed
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:15

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

24
24. All we like Sheep have gone astray
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:04:35

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

25
25. All they that see Him
George Maran
00:00:55

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

26
26. He trusted in God
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:50

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

27
27. Thy Rebuke hath broken His Heart
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:02:10

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

28
28. Behold and See
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:01:48

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

29
29. He was cut off
George Maran
00:00:21

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

30
30. But Thou didst not Leave
George Maran
00:02:55

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

31
31. Lift up your Heads
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:03:30

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

32
32. Unto which of the Angels
George Maran
00:00:25

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

33
33. Let all the Angels of God
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:01:44

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

34
34. Thou art gone up on high
Owen Brannigan
00:03:36

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

35
35. The Lord gave the Word
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:05

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

36
36. How Beautiful are the Feet
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:02:59

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

37
37. Their Sound is gone out
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:01:55

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

38
38. Why do the Nations
Owen Brannigan
00:02:44

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

39
39. Let us Break their Bonds asunder
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:02:05

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

40
40. He that Dwelleth in Heaven
George Maran
00:00:17

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

41
41. Thou shalt Break them
George Maran
00:02:18

George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

42
42. "Hallelujah"
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:04:39

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

Messiah, HWV 56 / Pt. 3 (Georg Friedrich Händel)

43
43. I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:07:27

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

44
44. Since by Man came Death
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:01:59

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

45
45. Behold, I tell you a Mystery
Owen Brannigan
00:00:42

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

46
46. The Trumpet shall Sound
Owen Brannigan
00:08:53

Owen Brannigan, Bass-Baritone - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

47
47. Then shall be Brought to Pass
Norma Procter
00:00:25

Norma Procter, Contralto - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

48
48. O Death, where is thy Sting? - 49. But Thanks to God
Norma Procter
00:04:18

Norma Procter, Contralto - George Maran, Tenor - London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

49
50. If God be for us
Jennifer Vyvyan
00:05:58

Jennifer Vyvyan, Soprano - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

50
51. Worthy is the Lamb...Amen
Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra
00:08:33

London Philharmonic Choir - London Philharmonic Orchestra - George Malcolm, Harpsichord - Sir Adrian Boult, Conductor - Georg Friedrich Händel, Composer - Charles Jennens, Author - James Walker, Recording Producer - Kenneth Wilkinson, Balance Engineer - Julian Herbage, Work Editor

℗ 1954 Decca Music Group Limited

Albumbeschreibung


Sir Adrian Boult’s first Messiah for Decca, newly remastered and coupled with a rare L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Bach Magnificat, new to CD


When this Messiah was released in 1954, critics were quick to recognise it as exemplifying the English oratorio tradition at its finest. Boult used a large chorus – the London Philharmonic Choir, singing with superb discipline and clarity of articulation – but he rejected both the monumental style of performance cultivated by Sir Malcolm Sargent and the anachronistic trappings of Sir Thomas Beecham’s Handel. Boult slimmed down the LPO to chamber-orchestra dimensions, though he did not neglect the oratorio’s moments of grandeur, pathos and splendour. Almost everywhere, the recorded sound belies its age. With mono this vivid and with bass frequencies this powerful, few will pine for stereo. Each orchestral section is sharply delineated: a glint of oboe timbre here, a welcome emphasis on the bottom line’s crunchy bassoon timbre there.
In fact his stereo remake from seven years later (with the London Symphony Orchestra) has a more old-fashioned feel, due at least in part to a more operatically scaled team of soloists. In 1954 Boult’s cast was led by the elegant and imperious soprano of Jennifer Vyvyan. The male soloists, too, found favour with Benjamin Britten when casting his operas; the recording is particularly valuable as a rare example on records of the artistry of the American tenor George Maran: always well-focused, assured from top to bottom of the register.
More British singers on top form may be enjoyed in the coupling, a recording of Bach’s Magnificat made in 1955 for L’Oiseau-Lyre by the London-based Kalmar Chamber Orchestra and St Anthony Singers. The Swiss conductor Pierre Colombo, little known now, presides over a rhythmically vital account, lent a further ‘period’ feel by the stylish contributions of both the countertenor Alfred Deller and the slender, pure-toned soprano member of the Deller Consort, Eileen McLoughlin. This reissue is further enhanced by a new essay by R.J. Stove, contextualising both the works and these marvellous performances. (© Decca Music Group Limited / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.)


Informationen zur Originalaufnahme : Recordings: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 4–9 & 11–13 January 1954 (Handel); London, UK, 1955 (Bach)

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