Boult/LPO: A Concert of English Music (Bax, Holst, Butterworth) - London LL 1169, lovely copy
Jacket NM / Vinyl EX / UK pressing
This beautiful LP – a truly lovely collector's copy – from London (LL 1169, English Decca pressing, jacket printed in the USA, red/gold label, mono – no stereo edition exists) features Sir Adrian Boult leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a resplendent all-English music program, one of the finest things in this conductor's large discography. The LPO are on brilliant form throughout and the sound – captured in the fabled acoustics of London's Kingsway Hall on 1-2 November 1954 – shows Decca's engineering to be a triumph from start to finish (producer: James Walker / engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson) – not to be missed.
The exact contents are as follows:
Gustav Holst: The Perfect Fool – Ballet Suite Op. 39
George Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad
Arnold Bax: Tintagel
George Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow
Of Boult and the LPO's rendition of Tintagel, critic Graham Parlett as written for MusicWeb-International: "Boult's first recording of Tintagel is one of the finest to have been made of this score and is to be preferred to the later one he made for Lyrita, even though that had the advantage of being in stereo. The performance is splendid, and it is a pity that the sound on this 1954 mono recording is so poor. Boult did not have a high opinion of Bax's music but he did admire Tintagel and this certainly comes across here. The faster middle section, with the sea becoming ever more turbulent, is exciting, and the wonderful moment towards the end where the Big Tune returns in triumph is perfectly paced."
And of their reading of Holst's The Perfect Fool, critic Terry Barfoot wrote for MusicWeb-International: "This marvellous collection of reissues, gathered as a 2CD set in Decca's 'British Music Collection', will provide the listener with a range of experiences commensurate with understanding the true nature of this elusive composer. The performances are good too, the recordings never less than satisfactory. Even the earliest of them, the two orchestral pieces recorded by Boult and the London Philharmonic in the early '60s, have come up splendidly in their reincarnation. The ballet music from the opera The Perfect Fool is nothing less than a showpiece, its outer movements full of exciting rhythms and colourful intensity, whereas the elusive Egdon Heath is the work Holst reckoned to be his greatest. It is dark and brooding, a 'difficult' work revealing its secrets only reluctantly. But once the listener has entered into its strange and compelling world, which was inspired by the opening scene of Hardy's novel The Return of the Native, it is hard not to concur with the composer's own opinion. Boult's performance is keenly judged, and the recorded sound is suitably atmospheric, wearing its years lightly."
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the front laminated jacket is near-MINT. Really, the only flaw concerns a tiny bit of fraying to the laminate and a slight bump to the upper-right corner, but that is all. Otherwise, the album appears almost as new. There are no bends, seamsplits, owners' markings, or other defects and the jacket remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, a truly fine collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Although the surfaces are not absolutely silent, really this is a very fine copy and the playback is superb. Those requiring CD silent surfaces are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.