One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD & Download: Pristine

Boult Conducts English Music
Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006)
Eight English Dances
, Opp. 27; 33 [17:22]
Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953)
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Three Bavarian Dances
, Op. 27 [11:47]
Chanson de matin [3:18]; Chanson de nuit [4:06]
Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
The Perfect Fool
: Ballet Music, Op. 39 [10:46]
George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916)
A Shropshire Lad
[8:41]; The Banks of Green Willow [5:25]
Sir William WALTON (1902-1983)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 1954: 18-19 February (Chansons); 20 October (Siesta) 21 October (Bavarian); 1-2 November (rest)

Experience Classicsonline

This is a valuable collection, much of it core Boult repertoire, though it contains two items, the two sets of Arnold dances and Walton’s Siesta, that he did not otherwise record. If for no other reason than that, this disc will be attractive to admirers of Sir Adrian.

Most of the performances are very good, though I was a bit disappointed with the Walton. It sounds a bit matter-of-fact and lacking the sultry sensuousness that the music requires. Mind you, the recording doesn’t help. It’s a touch strident and unsubtle. In a note on the Pristine website Andrew Rose says that even though all the recordings were made at the same venue and by the same technical team the sound quality varied. Pragmatically, he took the results of the November 1954 sessions, which offered the best sound, and equalised the others to match it as closely as possible. This seems to me a sensible approach and generally it’s worked well but the Walton is the least successful. 
Happily, the Arnold dances fared much better both interpretatively and in terms of the sound quality. Boult’s is not the most unbuttoned account of these pieces that I’ve heard but he still does them very effectively. The Elgar miniatures all come off well. These represent the lighter side of Elgar but Boult was far too shrewd and sensitive a musician to underestimate them. These pieces do not play themselves and a successful performance requires great care, not least in respect of balance and pacing. Boult’s understated mastery serves them well, especially the delightful Chanson de matin, which he does with delightful grace.

The Perfect Fool ballet music comes off very well. Boult gives the exciting opening and closing passages their full due but I especially admire the sensitivity of shading with which he invests the subtle central section.

Tintagel is one of the highlights of the collection. The opening pages are some of the most majestic in all English music and Boult controls the music beautifully. Later on, the glorious climax (track 9, from 10:15) is handled expertly. The recording does struggle to contain some of Bax’s most potent passages but the sound is perfectly acceptable, given its age and an excellent amount of detail is reported, which is a tribute not just to the restorative skills of Andrew Rose but to the engineering of the great Kenneth Wilkinson - all these recordings were engineered by Wilkinson for Decca and the producer was James Walker. Tintagel is one English work where I think Boult’s noble approach, though extremely satisfying, yields to Barbirolli’s red-blooded style. Nonetheless, this Boult performance is not to be underestimated.

Butterworth’s wonderful A Shropshire Lad is conducted with great understanding and maturity by Boult. He judges the whole piece beautifully and paces it perfectly. For Boult at his peerless best in this piece, his Lyrita recording from the 1970s (see review) is essential listening but this earlier account is also extremely successful.

All these recordings were made during Boult’s period as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic (1950-1957) and it shows their partnership to excellent advantage. The playing is very good and responsive. It’s notable how productive these recording sessions were, with the Arnold, Bax, Holst and Butterworth items all set down in two days in November 1954. Though some allowances have to be made - usually at climaxes - for the fact that these recordings are some fifty-five years old they have come up very well and Andrew Rose has done his usual excellent and musical job on them. It’s pleasing that these examples of one of Britain’s finest conductors in his prime have been restored to the catalogue.

John Quinn  



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.