Notes & Reviews:
Renowned for his interpretations of English works, Sir Adrian Boult was a master of the baton and one of Britain's leading conductors. In this first DVD release of his Symphony No. 8 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, enjoy a show that EMI hails as 'vivid and fresh', and what Penguin guide has called, 'warm and mature', 'full-bodied and well focused'.
Boult gives his reading lesson with a very vibrant and full of instrumental brilliance of the Eighth Symphony (1953-55), the shortest of Vaughan Williams. Job: A Masque for Dancing (1931), ballet inspired by the illustrations of the Book of Job William Blake and dedicated himself Boult, who came to record four times, is another parade in the hands of the English teacher, whose faith in the not insignificant score of great evocative power is noticeable. The transmission of the BBC, restored by ICA with picture quality and sound (definitely monaural) quite acceptable also includes images of the work of Blake. A good chance to get the best visual memory Boult.
Run Time: 73 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, B&W
There really isnít much to addóexcept perhaps a personal note. This disc brought back many memories of my misspent youth. While other teens may have followed rock bands, my friends and I engaged in lively cafeteria debates over fledgling artists like Michael Tilson Thomas and the merits of the latest Shostakovich scores. At about the time of this concert, my best friend Steve played for me selections from his fatherís LP collection of the Vaughan Williams symphonies, conducted by the redoubtable Sir Adrian Boult. A life-long passion for British music in general, and Vaughan Williams in particular, ensued.
Admittedly, Job and the 8th Symphony were tough nuts for a teenager to crack, and it was many years before I came to fully appreciate these strangely beautiful and entrancing scores. This DVD should dramatically increase the appreciation of this music. The camera work is conventional (the bulky cameras of the day must have been positioned well above the stage), but the visuals do enable us to follow the musical lines easily and fully appreciate the color and audacity of Vaughan Williamsís unconventional scoring. Boult, incidentally, employs the largest baton Iíve ever seen, and some of the musicianís hairstyles seem unintentionally comic by todayís standards.
Most striking of all, though, are the visuals that accompany the ballet, Job. I had hoped for a fully staged production of the workósomething rarely encountered in real life. What the BBC did instead on this special occasion was perhaps even more compelling. As Boult and the London Philharmonic play the score we are shown, from time to time, the visionary drawings of William Blake that inspired the music. The effect is stunning and helps establish the proper mood for each scene.
These are live performances, so the playing is not always perfect. Concertmaster Rodney Friend, in particular, had a very rough day. His all-important solos are clumsy and ill-prepared. Nonetheless, the passion and vitality of these splendid musicians come through in every bar. Donít miss this one.
Submitted on 12/14/11 by Tom Godell
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Works DetailsVaughan Williams, Ralph : Job :: A Masque for Dancing
- Conductor: Adrian Boult
- Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Ballet
- Written: 1927-1930