Wikipedia

Sir Thomas Beecham, Bt, CH (29 April 1879 – 8 March 1961) was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras. From the early 20th century until his death, Beecham was a major influence on the musical life of Britain and, according to the BBC, was Britain's first international conductor.

Born to a rich industrial family, Beecham began his career as a conductor in 1899. He used his access to the family fortune to finance opera from the 1910s until the start of the Second World War, staging seasons at Covent Garden, Drury Lane and His Majesty's Theatre with international stars, his own orchestra and a wide repertoire. Among the works he introduced to England were Richard Strauss's Elektra, Salome and Der Rosenkavalier and three operas by Frederick Delius.

Together with his younger colleague Malcolm Sargent, Beecham founded the London Philharmonic, and he conducted its first performance at the Queen's Hall in 1932. In the 1940s, he worked for three years in the United States, where he was music director of the Seattle Symphony and conducted at the Metropolitan Opera. After his return to Britain, he founded the Royal Philharmonic in 1946 and conducted it until his death in 1961.

Beecham's repertoire was eclectic, sometimes favouring lesser-known composers over famous ones. His specialities included composers whose works were neglected in Britain before he became their advocate, such as Delius and Berlioz. Other composers with whose music he was frequently associated were Haydn, Schubert, Sibelius and the composer he revered above all others, Mozart.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1957 Music for Peer Gynt Grieg; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beecham Choral Society, Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart CH, Ilse Hollweg 2
1996 The Art of Conducting, Volume 4: Beecham - Barbirolli - Szelll Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir John Barbirolli, George Szell 1
1998 Peer Gynt / Symphonic Dance no. 2 / In Autumn / Old Norwegian Folksong with Variations Grieg; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2000 Carmen Georges Bizet; Chœurs & Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, Sir Thomas Beecham, Victoria de los Ángeles, Nicolai Gedda, Janine Micheau, Ernest Blanc 1
2000 Die Zauberflöte Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Favres Solisten Vereinigung, Sir Thomas Beecham, Rosvænge, Lemnitz, Hüsch, Berger, Strienz 1
2000 Enigma Variations / Cockaigne / Serenade in E minor Elgar; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2003 Symphony no. 4 / En Saga / Finlandia / Lemminkäinen's Return Jean Sibelius; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2003 Great Conductors of the 20th Century: Sir Thomas Beecham Sir Thomas Beecham 1
Great Recordings of the Century: La Bohème Giacomo Puccini; Sir Thomas Beecham 1
Sheherazade Rimsky-Korsakov; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1961 Clarinet Concerto / Bassoon Concerto Compilation Mozart; Sir Thomas Beecham, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Jack Brymer, Gwydion Brooke 1
1981 Beecham Favourites Compilation Sir Thomas Beecham, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 1
1990 Sibelius: Symphony no. 2 / Dvořák: Symphony no. 8 Compilation Sibelius, Dvořák; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 2
1992 Symphonies no. 4 / Symphony no. 6 / Lemminkäinen's Return / The Bard / Prelude to the Tempest Compilation Jean Sibelius; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2000 Symphony in C / L'Arlésienne Suites Nos. 1 & 2 Compilation Georges Bizet; Sir Thomas Beecham, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 1
2000 Orchestral Works, Volume 1 Compilation Frederick Delius; Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2000 Orchestral Works, Volume 3 Compilation Frederick Delius; Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2000 Symphony no. 4 / Pelléas & Mélisande / Tapiola / Swanwhite / Symphony no. 7 Compilation Jean Sibelius; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2001 Beethoven: Violin Concerto / Mozart: Violin Concerto no. 4 Compilation Beethoven, Mozart; Joseph Szigeti, British Symphony Orchestra, Bruno Walter, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Beecham 1
2005 The Founding Years: Mozart: Symphony no. 35 "Haffner" / Chabrier: España / Sibelius: Tempest / Mozart: Mass in C minor / Handel: Israel in Egypt Compilation Mozart, Chabrier, Sibelius, Handel; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 2
2005 Orchestral Works Compilation Grieg; Sir John Barbirolli, Paavo Berglund, Sir Thomas Beecham, Paul Tortelier, Daniel Adni 1
2006 Violin Concertos Compilation Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov; Jascha Heifetz, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir John Barbirolli 1
2006 Orchestral Works, Volume 5 Compilation Frederick Delius; Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2011 English Music Compilation Delius, German, Bantock, Bax, Lord Berners; Sir Thomas Beecham 1

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