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Louis Boyd Neel (1905 - 1981)

Neel was born in Blackheath, London and wanted to be a pianist as a child. His mother, Ruby Le Couteur, was a professional accompanist, and his father was an engineer. Destined for the Royal Navy, Neel went to Osborne naval college and then to Dartmouth. Soon after he was commissioned, the armed forces underwent a drastic reduction (the so called 'Geddes axe'), and Neel left the navy to study medicine at Caius College Cambridge. He qualified in 1930, and became House Surgeon and Physician at Saint George's Hospital, London, and Resident Doctor at King Edward VII's Hospital, London. In 1930, while practising medicine, Neel studied music theory and orchestration at the Guildhall School of Music.

For Neel, at this stage, music was still a hobby. He conducted amateur groups and was persuaded to form an orchestra of young professionals, whom he recruited in 1932 from the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. The Boyd Neel London String Orchestra (later The Boyd Neel Orchestra) made its debut at the Aeolian Hall, London, on 22 June 1933. After the concert, Neel returned to his surgery and delivered a baby. In 1933, the orchestra was invited to broadcast by the BBC. When Decca offered Neel and the orchestra a contract, he left medicine to devote his full time to music.

During World War II, Neel returned to medical work and the Navy, while continuing to conduct when time permitted and act as a producer for Decca records.

After the war, Neel resumed his musical career, conducting for Sadler's Wells Opera from 1944 to 1946 and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company for its 1947 and 1948 London seasons at Sadler's Wells, performing the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Beginning in 1947, with the Boyd Neel Orchestra, he embarked on a series of world tours, playing in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, and appearing in festivals such as Edinburgh and Aix-en-Provence.

In 1952 Neel accepted the post of Dean of the Royal Conservatory of Music at Toronto, Ontario, in which post he served for 18 years.

Extra Tracks

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Beulah Extra is available on CD - select Beulah Extra download tracks and have them supplied on compact disc. The limit is 75 minutes of music per disc. Each disc costs GBP11.45 post free (standard mail/airmail worldwide, signed for or registered mail will be charged extra). Allow 14 days for delivery.
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Below are tracks from our library that never made it onto one of our compact discs. They can be downloaded here as high quality 320kbs AAC encoded (MP3) files.

Purchasers of tracks have unlimted personal use but must not pass or sell on to third parties nor broadcast without prior permission from PPL

 holst st pauls suite
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1 Jig
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2 Ostinato
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3 Intermezzo
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4 Finale
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" Boyd Neel and his orchestra provided some staple recordings for Decca in the 1940s and 1950s and the four movements of Holst’s St Paul’s Suite are among their best offerings, presented here in thin but very acceptable sound. " Brian Wilson at Music Web International
boyd neel Der Schauspieldirektor overture
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boyd neel Idmeneo overture
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capriccio brillante
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warlock capriol suite
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serenade for frederick delius
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