Another very welcome Boult collection from ICA that brings with it glorious music-making, all in excellent stereo courtesy of transfer-engineer Paul Baily. The Beethoven (May 1972) and Schubert (March 1977) both feature the BBCSO in the Royal Festival Hall – performances that in their sheer mastery of so many musical particulars, played with dedication, keeps the listener involved and illuminated; the audience’s heartfelt cheers following the Schubert (in particular) tell their own story, although the culmination of the ‘Eroica’ is just as uplifting. In terms of style, Boult remains a musician for all seasons, and he ensures proportionate performances of these substantial Symphonies – an ‘Eroica’ first movement without the repeat that is nevertheless longer than the subsequent ‘Funeral March’ due to the grandeur of the former and the flow, with no lack of gravitas, of the latter; and Schubert’s Scherzo with every repeat elevates it to the scale of the outer movements that are given without repetition (rightly so in the Finale) yet with no sense of dwarfing either. Furthermore, and this rarely happens, Boult ensures that when the opening horn melody returns in the first-movement coda the notes themselves match exactly (as did Sanderling, concert, as do Slatkin and Szell, recordings). Boult’s conducting of Brahms’s ‘Haydn’ Variations (BBCSO) is seamless and colourfully detailed, cumulatively satisfying, The four Overtures are no less fine, including contributions from the BBC’s Scottish and Welsh orchestras, adding two works new to Boult’s discography: Beethoven’s Consecration of the House (splendid if without knocking Neville Marriner’s Stuttgart recording from top spot; listen here, and Rossini’s Silken Ladder. There’s also Weber’s Euryanthe and Cherubini’s Anacreon, the latter wonderfully fiery from the RPO (previously available on BBC Legends with another Boult BBCSO Schubert ‘Great’, given at the Proms). This new compilation – ICA Classics ICAC 5179 (2 CDs) – is released on May 24.

Postscript: Boult recorded the ‘Eroica’ commercially at least twice (if relatively obscurely), both LPO, first for Vanguard (which I assume also accounts for a Pye issue in the UK?) and then for Miller International, as below: