Talk:Adrian Boult

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Adrian Boult is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 30, 2013.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 11, 2010 Peer review Reviewed
April 20, 2010 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biography / Musicians (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Musicians (marked as Low-importance).
WikiProject Classical music
WikiProject icon Adrian Boult is within the scope of WikiProject Classical music, which aims to improve, expand, copy edit, and maintain all articles related to classical music, that are not covered by other classical music related projects. Please read the guidelines for writing and maintaining articles. To participate, you can edit this article or visit the project page for more details.
WikiProject University of Oxford (Rated FA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject University of Oxford, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the University of Oxford on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Cheshire (Rated FA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Cheshire, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Cheshire on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

Date and place of death[edit]

Does anybody know for sure when Boult died? Various online sources say Feb 22, Feb 23 or Mar 24. --Camembert

It was definitely in February, and I believe it was the 22nd. --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 12:36, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
There was some confusion in the obituaries and later articles about the place and the date of Boult's death. To deal with date first, the Kennedy biography, (p. 296) states that he died at 10.15 a.m., but the relevant paragraph is ambiguous about the date. It reads: "On the 22nd, the night sister rang Ann [Lady Boult] and asked her to come early… At 10.15 am he died, his face kindly and at peace." If the night nurse's phone call was made before midnight, the 10.15 am would be on the 23 February. If it was made after midnight, the 10.15 would be on 22 February. However, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article, which is also by Kennedy, specifically gives the date of death, namely 22 February. The 22nd is also given by the Bach Cantatas website and Who's Who. The Times, 24 February 1983, p. 1 ("Sir Adrian Boult dies"), gives the date of death as "yesterday", i.e. 23 February, as does The Guardian ("Boult, the modest genius, dies", 24 February 1983, p. 1). Grove Online (article on Boult by Ronald Crichton and José A Bowen) agrees with The Times and The Guardian that Boult died on 23 February 1983. has the date as 24 March, which is manifestly wrong, as the Times and Guardian obits were published a month earlier. (I have dropped Allmusic a line pointing out its error.)
There is more confusion about the place. Kennedy is clear that Boult died in a nursing home in Christchurch Avenue, London NW6. Boult was offered a move to a nursing home near Tonbridge in Kent, but refused to move, and died in the London home. (Kennedy pp. 295–96). The Guardian (ref above) stated that Boult died "in a nursing home near his own home in Farnham, Surrey". The Times' did not mention a location. The New York Times said that Boult died "at a nursing home in Kent". has the place as Farnham. The Bach Cantatas website has an each-way bet, citing his place of death as "London (or Farnham), England". Grove Online and, naturally, Kennedy in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography agree with the Kennedy biography that Boult died in London. - Tim riley (talk) 09:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


The article says that Boult gave the British premiere of Mahler's fifth symphony. However, Symphony No. 5 (Mahler) says that Heinz Unger gave that premiere - my source for this info is Kenneth Thompson's A Dictionary of 20th Century Composers (published in the mid 1970s, if memory serves) - if somebody knows better and can say for sure that Bould really did give the premiere, then the article on the symphony needs to be changed as well as this article. --Camembert

I don't think the article says that Sir Adrian conducted the British première of Mahler's 5th. The 3rd, certainly - which is documented in Kennedy. Tim riley 23:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Question on Lecture on Boult & Thomas Russell[edit]

I found a transcript of a lecture by Richard Witts which talks about the Thomas Russell affair, at this link:

I have not included this yet in the Boult wikipedia article, as an external link, partly because it has not been published in any formal journal that I can see, but also because some of Witts' comments about Boult are at best snarky, at worst possibly libelous. In fact, in a pdf from the Institute for Historical Research (London), Witts makes no bones about his thinking in the title of the talk there:

"Richard Witts: 'Adrian Boult, witchfinder general: musical McCarthyism in post-war Britain'". To me, the irony is that in accusing Boult of Joseph McCarthy-like slander, Witts himself seems to be using the same "character assassination" tactics in some of his comments on Boult, even if it's more "personal" than "political". So, to include or not to include? Thanks, DJRafe 23:35, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

You can't libel the dead (as I understand the law), but whatever care needs to be taken not to give the criticisms undue weight. David Underdown 10:47, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Boult & Horenstein?[edit]

I think I read somewhere that Horenstein had been scheduled to do the Everest Mahler 1 session (& perhaps others too) in 1958 but got sick, and Boult came in to cover for him, which accounts for the unusual Boult recorded repertory of Hindemith, Shostakovich, & Mahler. Can anyone confirm this? --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 01:51, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Boult photo[edit]

As we are allowed only one under WP fair use rules I thought the colour photograph familiar from the cover of Sir Adrian's memoirs and the associated EMI recording was more suitable than the black and white photo with the NBC logo with which Sir Adrian is not normally associated. But happy to go along with the majority. This article is at PR. Comments invited. Reverted to the colour image, pro tem. - Tim riley (talk) 18:55, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Further improvements after FA promotion[edit]

Thanks to Parrot for suggestions just before FAC discussionwas closed. Comments here:

  • He was recruited by the War Office as a translator (he spoke good French, German and Italian)" - when was this - before/during/after 1916? Also, is "fluent" a more descriptive word than "good", or would that be over-egging it a bit?
    • It would, rather. Sir Adrian recalled in his memoirs that his reasonably convincing accent was let down after a couple of sentences or so by his faulty grammar. "Good" is there or thereabouts, I think.
  • "some of which were subsidised by his father, with the aims of giving work to orchestral players and bringing music to a wider audience" - was this his father's aim, or Boult's aim?
    • Both, but Boult's principally. Suggestions for better phrasing gratefully received.
  • "In 1918 he gave a series of concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, which included important recent British works" - the concerts included important works, not the London Symphony Orchestra.
    • Hmm. OK - amended.
  • "Just before the Armistice, Gustav Holst burst into my office:" - this quote might benefit from being not in the prose, but in a quote box - check out Template:Quote box3. You can see how it works in, for example, Dick Turpin. Your choice though, just a suggestion. Right now it isn't obvious who gave the quote.
    • I've had a go at quotes, but will investigate your suggestion further. Looks good in the DT article.
      • Later: have cribbed the Turpin quote box and used in this article. I like it. I wonder if others agree? Tim riley (talk) 19:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
        • Its looking a little bit squashed at 1680x1050, but its ok at lower resolutions. A little experimentation moving images around might improve it, if you're bothered enough (I'm not!) I added the quote's author. A date after his name might be a good idea.
  • "Boult ran the classes from 1919 to 1930. In 1921 he received a Doctorate of Music" - are these two facts connected?
    • Well no, but the info has to go in there or thereabouts. Any suggestions for a smoother transition gladly received. Tim riley (talk) 22:33, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
      • Perhaps it could go into the awards and honours section, if its just a minor factoid? I'll leave it to you as the most knowledgeable person here. Parrot of Doom 21:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Looking forward to more of your acute and well-judged suggestions. Tim riley (talk) 22:33, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

  • "In 1923 Boult conducted the first season of children's concerts organised by Robert Mayer" - first season of children's concerts ever by anyone, or Robert Mayer's first season of children's concerts?
  • "Boult programmed as much innovative music as was practical" - programmed seems a little American (ie burglarized) - what was he actually doing while "programming"?
    • I think this is probably OK - idiomatic in its context. (I grinned at the image of Boult "programming" writing computer code, but no, no!)Tim riley (talk) 23:48, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "Such departures from the familiar repertoire depressed the box-office takings" - familiar repertoire - was this a departure from the repertoire the audience expected, and is this linked to their conservatism? If so, it should be explained alongside their conservatism, not separated here.
    • It is. Shall ponder how to improve. Tim riley (talk) 23:48, 24 April 2010 (UTC) (Later - done)

Parrot of Doom 20:08, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


Having just started the article Ditchling Unitarian Chapel, I found that Boult was married there in 1933. The source—the History page of the chapel's own website—is of moderate usereliability; I'll look for a better one. Hassocks5489 (tickets please!) 22:44, 3 October 2011 (UTC)


Is it worth mentioning a tiny bit more about his late ballet performances - I can find reference to Job, Enigma Variations and Song of the Earth at Covent Garden in the 1970s? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 18:03, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

No objection to your adding it if you think it proportionate. I am dismayed to hear of his conducting a dance version of Das Lied von der Erde; he should have known better. (Monteux would have had none of such a travesty.) Tim riley (talk) 18:51, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it significant that a conductor of his stature did these ballets (few others come to mind); possibly he realized that only way he would be able to conduct at Covent Garden was by doing this. (He also conducted Daphnis et Chloé there in the 50s)
The reference is - Bland A. The Royal Ballet – the first 50 years. Threshold Books, London, 1981, pages 198, 232. Perhaps "Having conducted several ballets at Covent Garden during the 1970s Boult gave his last public performance conducting (Sanguine Fan etc)". Would that do? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 19:35, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
No objection from this quarter. Tim riley (talk) 09:21, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Footnotes and references[edit]

Would anyone object if I separated footnotes from references? That is, discursive comment from plain source citations? Tim riley (talk) 21:37, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


An editor recently added this (uncited) statement:

In 1944 he conducted the premiere of Nikolai Medtner's Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade" at the Royal Albert Hall, with the composer as soloist.

I added this hidden comment, which an editor has removed without explanation: "Is this really notable in the context of the large number of premieres Boult gave?"

Grateful for comments on whether to leave or remove the sentence. Tim riley (talk) 07:53, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Bartok Concerto for 2 Pianos[edit]

Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (Bartók) (which redirects to Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion) says it was premiered in New York by the composer and Ditta Pásztory-Bartók with the New York Philharmonic under Fritz Reiner. Here we're saying Adrian Boult was the conductor, and presumably somewhere in London. They can't both be right. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 12:09, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Very true, but we have a citation here, and the Sonata article hasn't. I'll leave as it is pro tem, and inquire further into the matter. Tim riley (talk) 12:29, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

The Times (14 Nov 1942) states that Boult conducted the world premiere at a Royal Philharmonic Society concert at the Albert Hall on 14 November 1942. Grove confirms that this was the world premiere. I'll put the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion article on my to-do list, and correct the wrong info currently there. Tim riley (talk) 13:45, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

(e/c) Grove says first performance "L. Kentner, I. Kabos, cond. A. Boult, London, 14 Nov 1942". BencherliteTalk 13:47, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Sonata article now corrected. Tim riley (talk) 14:15, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
All good. Thanks. I've also added the details to Ilona Kabos's article. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 12:07, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Edward Clark[edit]

Adrian Boult, not surprisingly given their professional association, gets quite a few mentions at Edward Clark (conductor). Clark was profoundly influential in promoting contemporary music including that of the Second Viennese School, and Boult was involved with Clark in at least one world premiere (Hindemith's Trauermusik) and some British premieres (Berg, Busoni). Clark was also intimately involved in the founding of the BBC SO - it wasn't just the conductors who did all the establishment work, although they usually get all the credit.

I seek guidance as to what mention should be made here of Edward Clark's role in Boult's career. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 12:27, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

In the two biogs of Boult I have, Clark is mentioned twice in one (working with Julian Herbage to organise the BBC SO, and arranging (again with Herbage) a clever tour programme.) In the other, he is briefly mentioned eight times:
  • as a conductor for the Diaghilev ballet in 1919
  • as a conductor of modern music concerts attended by Boult in 1921
  • in list of BBC music dept staff under Percy Pitt, with Kenneth Wright and Victor Hely-Hutchinson
  • working with Herbage to organise the BBC SO
  • with Wright inviting the ISCM to meet in Oxford
  • working with Herbage on BBC programming under Boult (a more substantial mention than the other seven, mentioning Clark's liking for Scriabin and Boult's refusal to conduct it)
  • Clark and Hely-Hutchinson criticised by Herbage and Archie Camden for inadequacy of their conducting
  • resignation from BBC over interference with his programming.
In the context of the Boult article I think it would be disproportionate to bring in Clark, Herbage, Hely-Hutchinson, Wright et al. On the other hand, now I look at these sources, I must make sure as a matter of urgency that Clarke and Herbage get their due at the BBC SO article which I have up for GAN. – Tim riley (talk) 12:58, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Later: I find I had already had given Clark and co their due in the BBC SO article, but had forgotten. I've now mentioned Clark and colleagues briefly in the BBC section of the Boult article. Tim riley (talk) 13:26, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Tim. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 11:52, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Boult's Memorial in Westminster Abbey[edit]

This entry on Sir Adrian Boult should most certainly mention that, in 1984, the year after his death, a memorial stone in his honour was installed in the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. It reads "1889 Adrian Cedric Boult CH Conductor 1983." This great memorial to Boult serves as his grave. For Sir Adrian actually willed his body to science. A photograph of Boult's memorial stone can be seen in Westminster Abbey's website (

Please always sign your posts by adding 4 tildes (~) at the end. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 23:01, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Birmingham City Police band[edit]

There is a claim in Charles Rafter that says that Boult conducted the Birmingham City Police band; this is not too fanciful, as his predecessor Appleby Matthews certainly did, and the source adds that "members of the police band were controversially used to supplement the Orchestra's ranks in its early days". Can anyone help with a citation for Boult doing so, please? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:28, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

I can't find anything on this in Michael Kennedy's biography of Boult (1987) or in Sir Adrian's memoirs (1973). Sounds wholly plausible, and I'll rummage a bit more and report back here. Tim riley (talk) 16:59, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Nothing in either of the other books about Boult on my shelves (Jerrold Northrop Moore's Music and Friends: Letters to Adrian Boult (1979) and Nigel Simeone and Simon Mundy's Sir Adrian Boult: Companion of Honour (1980)), but courtesy of my local library, from the archives of The Birmingham Post:
Appleby Matthews, who worked tirelessly to promote musical activity in Birmingham (he even played the piano at tea-times in the restaurant at Lewis's department store in Corporation Street), was very much involved in the creation of this orchestra, and also enlisted the unlikely musical co-operation of the City of Birmingham Police Band. He in fact rehearsed the City of Birmingham Orchestra for the very first time at 9.30am on Saturday, September 4, 1920 – in the Band Room at Steelhouse Lane Police Station. Matthews, the first regular conductor of the CBO, would regularly call upon members of the Police Band to stiffen the ranks of the orchestra when extra scoring demanded, something which often ruffled the orchestral players, who would rather have seen properly-trained musicians making up the numbers. Adrian Boult took over as principal conductor, bringing the orchestra to a huge level of expertise, and not least in contemporary music. He was one of the earliest champions of Mahler in this country, and the CBO played its part. (Ref: Morley, Christopher. "A glorious 90 years: As the CBSO marks its 90th birthday, Christopher Morley celebrates its past, present and future", The Birmingham Post, 4 November 2010, p. 4)
To my eye that suggests (but only suggests) that by Boult's time the connection with the Police Band was in the past, but I'll rummage further on my next trip to the British Library, probably later this week. – Tim riley (talk) 18:00, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you - used at City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for now. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:57, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

...but still not conclusive. The British Library obliged with Crescendo! – 75 years of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra by Beresford King-Smith (London, Methuen, 1995, ISBN 0413697401) and an anonymous booklet from 1947 published by the orchestra, City of Birmingham Orchestra, OCLC 558171870. The latter is short and sketchy, but the former covers the matter of the Police Band:

  1. Appleby Matthews was the permanent conductor of the Police Band before he took over as founder-conductor of the CBO, as it was called at the time. (p. 26)
  2. It is unclear when he gave up the conductorship of the Band, but his successor was Richard Wassell who was in charge during some, unspecified, period while Boult was with the CBO. (p. 45)
  3. There is no mention that I could see of any increase in the complement of the CBO under Boult, which leaves open the question of whether the orchestra needed reinforcements for large-scale works in his time and if so where they came from if not from the Police Band. (Chapters 7–8, covering the Boult years, pp. 36–51)
  4. The Police Band gave concerts over several years to raise money to subsidise the CBO during Boult's time with the orchestra. (p. 62)
  5. The whole Band played alongside the orchestra for at least one concert under Boult's successor Heward for "a roof-raising 1812 Overture" in 1936. (also p. 62)
  6. I was surprised to see from King-Smith that the matter of the deputies from the Police Band was twice raised in the House of Commons (December 1920 and January 1921) though I can't find either mention in the not very user-friendly online Hansard archives.

But the long and short of it is that I have found no firm evidence that Boult ever conducted the Band or had members of it as extras in his CBO. Tim riley (talk) 13:28, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Musicianship and Notes [85][edit]

Surely "Peter Hepworth" should be "Peter Heyworth", as in this Wikipedia article: (talk) 19:33, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

It should indeed. The article is signed simply "P.H.", and my faulty memory caused me to expand this into Peter Hepworth rather than Peter Heyworth. I'll amend forthwith. Many thanks for spotting this error. Tim riley talk 16:42, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Modern Symphony Orchestra[edit]

Why is it unimportant to mention that Adrian Boult was the president of the Modern Symphony Orchestra for two decades and conducted it several times? The Modern SO is a notable English orchestra which performed several world and English premieres. So why is that irrelevant for the article? Best, Tobias @Tim riley:

This obscure position is not mentioned in the 342-page Kennedy biography of Boult, nor in Grove, nor in the ODNB, and in my view has no place in an encyclopedia article that tries to summarise Sir Adrian's life and career into 5,000 or so words. We must stick to the essentials. Your new article on the orchestra looks very worthwhile, and I'll look in and Wikify punctuation etc when I have time. Tim riley talk 14:56, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Tim here. An honorary position with an amateur symphony orchestra is not really something that deserves mentioning in a summary of his life and career, especially if it doesn't even get mentioned in much more detailed accounts about him. Put another way, he is important to the orchestra but not vice versa. BencherliteTalk 15:05, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Blowing Trumpets[edit]

Can I propose that in 'Bibliography' the word (autobiography) be inserted after My Own Trumpet. London: Hamish Hamilton, otherwise some people may think it is a brass manual? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 19:54, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

The crashing noise you may have just heard was me falling off my chair laughing. I shall at once do as you suggest. Tim riley talk 21:13, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 2 external links on Adrian Boult. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 15:52, 4 October 2016 (UTC)