"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
Sheherazade (Scheherazade; Russian: Шехерезада), Op. 35, is a symphonic suite composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. Based on The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, sometimes known as The Arabian Nights, this orchestral work combines two features common to Russian music and of Rimsky-Korsakov in particular: dazzling, colourful orchestration and an interest in the East, which figured greatly in the history of Imperial Russia, as well as orientalism in general. It is considered Rimsky-Korsakov's most popular work. The music was used in a ballet by Michel Fokine. This use of the music was denounced by the Rimsky-Korsakov estate, led by the composer's widow, Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova.
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.