This is a 3 CD set with Schumann symphonies 1 and 2 on one, 2 and 3 + Berlioz Waverly on the second, and seven Berlioz overtures on the third. The Berlioz group are more consistent. They are ultra romantic, intense, and minutely detailed , a combiantion of Charles Munch and Hans Rosbaud. The romantic ebbs and surges are explosive but controlled. For example, the great love theme of Benevenuto Cellini and the Harold in Italy theme of Rob Roy are ultra-lyrical but clearly within their episodic frameworks. Tempi on the whole are quick. On the Berlioz overture scale, they are wilder than Colin Davis and less unharnessed than Munch, inhabiting a middle ground with Alexander Gibson. While Boult is more identifable, he and Gibson are both are unique, both worth hearing.
The Schumann here is even wilder. If , like me, you have longed for quicker perfomances of Schumann by too many conductors, especially in #s 1 and 3, here they are in spades. Again Boult does not stint on romantic intensity, but #3/1 a bit too quick by about 40 seconds each-still the correct
idea/impulse. The Scherzo of #2 is thrilling and the Finale is excellent-so are the final four movements of the Rhenish. Boult's
slow movements are not rushed. Had Carlos Kleiber recorded Schumann, he would have been a Boult redux. Not so strange, perhaps, since both Boult and Erich Kleiber were protoges of Artur Nikisch.
Peers: Berlioz Overtures: Munch, Davis, Gibson
Schumann: 1-4: Sawallisch, Szell, Kubelik/BRSO + BPO #2 (see my revies), Levine/BPO and Philadelphia
#1-Munch/BSO, #s 2 and 3-Schuricht, #4 -Jochum/RCOA