Brahms: Symphony No 4; Mendelssohn: Italian Symphony
BBCSO, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Adrian Boult, ICA Classics ICAC 5093 ***
Adrian Boult, nearly four decades older than Tennstedt, was in Indian summer territory in the 1970s, and these concert recordings were made at the BBC Proms when he was aged 83 (the Mendelssohn in 1972) and 86 (Brahms). Boult was a lucid Brahmsian who knew how to let the music unfold as by itself, although his straight-talking style has never been without its critics. The finale of the Fourth Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra should let you know if he has enough fire to keep you happy. Boult sounds rather more his age with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s breezy Italian Symphony, which does eventually spark into life for the closing Saltarello. The Brahms is the real meat on this disc.