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Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra

1948. BBC Maida Vale Studios, London
A recording of Stravinsky's Capriccio, with Noel Mewton-Wood at the piano and conducted by Sir Adrian Boult
Composer Igor Stravinsky
Conductor Sir Adrian Boult
Ensemble BBC Symphony Orchestra
Pianist Noel Mewton-Wood
Genre Symphonic concert

Stravinsky was one of the then cutting-edge innovators whose rhythmically dangerous music held no difficulties at all for Sir Adrian’s ever unflappable cool-headed control. The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Viola in the 1930s, Bernard Shore, related that “Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was a tough nut to crack in the 1930s, and several foreign conductors made a terrible fuss of its difficulties and the orchestra’s shortcomings; yet Boult directed us in this work in Paris, that veritable sanctum of Stravinsky, without the slightest sense of strain or fuss of any kind”. In this recording of Capriccio, Sir Adrian accompanies the prodigiously gifted Noel Mewton-Wood in a BBC live studio performance on 22 May, 19488 – just under two years before he was unceremoniously retired by the BBC after a sequence of events that has been well documented in several publications. Suffice it to say here that it was a deeply hurtful experience for him after 20 years of devoted loyal dedication to the Symphony Orchestra and the BBC, during which time he turned down several very tempting offers to take up prestigious and lucrative posts elsewhere.

Jon Tolansky © 2023

Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra

  1. Presto
  2. Andante rapsodico
  3. Allegro capriccioso ma tempo giusto


This recording was made in the BBC Studios on May 22, 1948.

It comes from the collection of Music Preserved.

Sound Restoration and Mastering is by Paul Baily.

It has been released on CD by SOMM Recordings as part of their album devoted to Boult conducting works by Berg, Stravinsky and Vaughan Williams (ARIADNE 5024-2).  Full details from

We are very grateful to SOMM Recordings and to Jon Tolansky for allowing us to use their material.

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