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Berg: Wozzeck (Complete); Stravinsky: Capriccio; Vaughan Wil

Berg: Wozzeck (Complete); Stravinsky: Capriccio; Vaughan Wil

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SOMM RECORDINGS announces the first appearance on disc of three historic live recordings by Sir Adrian Boult to mark the 40th anniversary of the pre-eminent British conductor’s death, including his complete 1949 account of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, Stravinsky’s Capriccio (1948) and Vaughan Williams’ Fourth Symphony (1965). Boult had led the UK premiere of Berg’s excoriating setting of Georg Büchner’s play about a war-scarred veteran driven to madness and murder in 1934, although only Act II of that performance survives. This complete 1949 recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Heinrich Nillius’s Wozzeck and Suzanne Danco’s Marie – only the second UK performance – adds to Boult’s and the opera’s stature on disc. Recorded live in London’s Royal Albert Hall, it is a remarkable document of an exhilarating performance. Boult’s pioneering championing of ‘new’ music is also heard in his recording of Stravinsky’s Capriccio, with the BBC SO and the prodigiously gifted Australian Noel Mewton-Wood taking the piano line. Boult’s rare outing in 1965 with the Royal Opera House Orchestra saw him returning to a work he premiered 30 years earlier, Vaughan Williams’ Fourth Symphony. “Predominantly dissonant and often fiercely explosive”, as historical recording expert and co-Executive Producer Jon Tolansky observes in his authoritative booklet notes, under Boult’s baton it is a stirring and startling statement of loss and grief. A bonus track features a revealing discussion of his 19-year tenure at the head of the BBC Symphony Orchestra by Boult with Bernard Keeffe for BBC Radio in 1965. Jon Tolansky’s previous SOMM collaborations include Mahler Pioneers (SOMM Ariadne 5022-2), hailed as “a major addition to the catalogue” by OperaWire; the International Classical Music Award-nominated Serge Koussevitzky Conducts the London Philharmonic – Live (SOMM Ariadne 5017-2); and Beecham Conducts Sibelius (SOMM Ariadne 5013), hailed by Audiophile Audition as “this seductive disc … heartily recommended”.

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