"This sacd is truly wonderful. Under the leadmanship of Stokowsky all music becomes something extraordinary. Start with the majestic notes of Liszt's Hungarian rhapsody & end with Wagner. And don't forget smetana's moldau! Then I switched to the 3-channel mix on the SACD. The orchestra became much wider & deeper on the soundstage, with the flute solo in the Moldau front & center with greatest clarity & presence…" ~audiophile-audition
Only a favored number of very old conductors manage the secret of getting more fascinating as the years progress. Like Pablo Casals, Stokowski belonged to that tiny elite. for that reason I've collected all the BBC Legends issues devoted to him, which date from his frequent sojourns to England in his eighties and nineties. Britten's Young Person's Guide from a Proms concert in royal Albert Hall in 1963 with the BBC Sym. features more vivid, up-close sound. This reading has been reissued quite a lot and is marked by Stokowski's rather grave, measured interpretation. He takes this work more seriously than anyone else I've heard; the results are impressive, and more than once you think you're hearing him revisit one of his famous grandiose Bach transcriptions. As an earlier reviewer notes, each variation is turned into a set piece.
Leopold Stokowski had a particular love for Falla's El Amor Brujo. In Oliver Daniel's biography of Stokowski (A Counterpoint of View), soprano Rose Bampton spoke of Stokowski working with her in preparation for a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, telling her the plot in such a "hair-raising" manner that she was left "white and shocked." Stokowski also selected El Amor Brujo for his return to the Philadelphia Orchestra after a 19 year hiatus in January 1959.
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British conductor of Polish heritage. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th Century, he is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and for appearing in the film Fantasia. He was especially noted for his free-hand conducting style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed…
When the New York Philharmonic fired conductor Artur Rodzinski in 1946, Leopold Stokowski saw an opportunity – he had long desired the post of principal conductor in New York and went to work trying to obtain it. From 1947 to 1950, Stokowski made himself available to New York on an on-call basis, conducting children’s concerts, fill in concerts for other conductors, anything that New York would assign to him, remaining visible until the long process of choosing a music director was finished. Alas, it became clear by early 1950 that Stokowski was not going to be New York’s choice for the position, awarded instead to Dimitri Mitropoulos.
Editorial Reviews - Amazon.com
This has always been the version of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 to go by. All others pale against this. This first appeared as a double vinyl LP in the 1960s, then as a single LP in the 1970s, and now on this CD. But give credit where all the credit is due: Stokowski extracts a deeply felt performance from the Houston Symphony Orchestra that catches all the nuances of the slow passages of each movement. But kudos go to the sound engineers who capture the incredible bass passages in the last movement. Since this is also a mid-price CD, this is the one to get. –Paul Cook
Well, the contents of this well-filled disc may take more space than the actual review. The music here was originally issued on two discs in the Stokowski Stereo Set from RCA in 1997. The music on those discs was, in turn, taken from three LPs recorded in 1960, 61, 73 and 1974. What amazes me is that the music from the earlier recordings doesn't SOUND like it was recorded a decade earlier.
Robert Stumpf II