Search - Guy Gardner, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bela Bartok :: Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor

Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor
Guy Gardner, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bela Bartok
Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #6
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #7
  •  Track Listings (30) - Disc #8
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #9
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #10

This is one of an exciting series that pays homage to some of the greatest recording artists of the recent past, with these elegantly-packaged multi-CD sets devoted to their finest recordings.


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This is one of an exciting series that pays homage to some of the greatest recording artists of the recent past, with these elegantly-packaged multi-CD sets devoted to their finest recordings.

CD Reviews

Treasure trove of great performances and recordings
Ivor E. Zetler | Sydney Australia | 10/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are many reasons to acquire this boxed set. Firstly, these 10 well filled discs contain generally excellent and sometimes outstanding performances of works familiar and obscure. Secondly most of these stereo recordings, originally taped (mostly in 1957/8) by the EMI/Capitol label, would be unfamiliar to most current listeners and collectors. Thirdly, the sound on these half century old issues is generally superb; warm, clear, transparent with a clear bass and good string tone. Forthly, these 10 CDs are very reasonably priced.

I could honestly report that I found none of the performances of the many items in this set less than engaging to listen to. Even the Carmina Burana, featuring a less that ideal chorus and soloists, is interesting for its orchestral contribution. It must be admitted that the Houston Symphony Orchestra (Shostakovich 11, Carmina Burana)is hardly a world class orchestra, however Stokowski manages to get above average results from them.

As would be expected, given Stokowski's reputation, the string tone in many of these performances is rich and luxurious; eg in Schonberg's Transfigured Night, Holst's The Planets and Bartok's Music for Strings Percussion and Celeste. The Debussy disc is memorable and the Shostakovich 11 is a searing performance. And who better to perform the conductor's arrangements of Bach, however bloated and unfashionable they migh be nowadays.

Some of the less familiar pieces are less to my taste; Loeffler's A Pagan Poem for instance, but a number (eg Gliere Symphony 3) are well worth a listen.

On initial hearing I could only detect a few instances where Stokowski has made his own alterations to the musical scores.

In summary, this set is a great buy and should be snapped up by enquiring classical music enthusiasts."
Indispensable for the Stokowskite (although he is likely to
Discophage | France | 01/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Good to see that all this is back. All the material contained on this 10-CD box, featuring recordings made by Stokowski mostly for Capitol between 1956 and 1959, had been previously reissued on CD, mostly on EMI's Full Dimensional Sound collection (reissuing the Capitol catalog), but many are gone and hard to find at reasonable prices.

I hope to be helpful by listing the contents by alphabetical order of the composers:

Bach transcriptions

Barber Adagio (Leopold Stokowski Symphony Orchestra January 57, hereafter LSSO)

Bartok music for strings percussion celesta (LSSO December 57-January 58)

Bloch Schelomo (George Neikrug, Symphony of the Air Feb 59)

Cesti/Stokowski (Symphony of the Air Dec 58)

Debussy Faun, Clair de Lune (LSSO Feb 57), Nocturnes (London Symphony Orchestra June 57), Iberia (Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française May 58)

Dukas Fanfare from La Peri (LSSO Feb 57)

Farbemann Evolution (Part 1)(LSSO Jan 57)

Frescobaldi Gagliarda (Symphony of the Air Dec 58)

Gabrieli/Stokowski (same)

Glière Symphony No.3 (Houston Symphony Orchestra March 57)

Holst Planets (Roger Wagner Chorale & Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Sept 56)

Ibert Escales (Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française May 58)

Khachaturian Symphony No. 2 (Symphony of the Air Dec 58)

Loeffler Pagan Poem (LSSO Dec 57)

Martin Petite Symphonie Concertante (LSSO Dec 57)

Moussorgsky-Ravel The Hut of Fowl's Legs & Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures (LSSO Jan 57)

Orff Carmina Burana (Virginia Babikian, Guy Gardner, Clyde Hager, Houston Chorale, Houston Symphony Orchestra April 58)

Palestrina/Stokowski (Symphony of the Air, Dec 58)

Persichetti March from Divertimento (LSSO, Jan 57)

Ravel Alborada del Gracioso (Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française May 58), Rapsodie Espagnole (London Symphony Orchestra July 57)

Respighi Pines of Rome (Symphony of the Air Dec 58)

Shostakovich Symphony No. 1, Prelude & Fugue 14, Entracte from Lady MacBeth (all Symphony of the Air, Dec 58), Symphony No. 11 (Houston Symphony Orchestra, April 58)

Sibelius Swan of Tuonela, Finlandia (both LSSO, Feb 57)

Strauss Gavotte from Suite in B flat for Winds op 4 (LSSO, Jan 57)

Stravinsky Petrushka-suite, Firebird-suite (both Berlin Philharmonic, May 57)

Tchaikovsky Scherzo from Symphony No.4 (LSSO Jan 57)

Turina Oracion del Torero (LSSO Feb 58)

Vaughan Williams Scherzo from 8th Symphony (LSSO Jan 56)

And quite a recording schedule, too! I am indebted for all this dating info to Enno Riekena's invaluable Stokowski discography, now hosted by tripod (search "stokowski.tripod" with double quotes).

You will find more detailed product info under the individual entries of the previous reissues, and my detailed reviews under some:

- Bach - Stokowski

- Leopold Stokowski Conducts Bartok, Barber, & Schoenberg

- Stokowski: Landmarks of a Distinguished Career (the trinkets of CD 2, 7 & 8 were here)

- Ernst Toch: Symphony No. 3; Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler Symphony; Frank Martin: Petite Symphonie Concertante (Amazon's product info under this entry is faulty: Stokowski conducts only the Martin, not the Toch symphony).

- Debussy: Ibéria; Nocturnes; Ibert: Escales; Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole

- Shostakovich Symphony No.11

- Holst: The Planets; Schoenberg: Transfigured Night or Holst: The Planets; Ravel: Alborada del Gracioso; Stravinsky: Petrushka Suite

- Gliere: Symphony No. 3 "Ilya Murometz"; Loeffler: A Pagan Poem (on EMI Matrix)

- Stokowski & The Symphony of the Air: Shostakovich, Respighi, Khachaturian, Bloch, Frescobaldi, Palestrina, Gabrieli, & Cesti (this material was originally published on LP on the short-lived United Artists label, see my review for details)

Since I've now run out of authorized links, I'll cheat, and continue in the comments section. Follow me if you are still interested.
Stokowski for the specialist, mostly
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/14/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"With almost 200 titles listed in the catalog, Stokowski has become one of the reissue kings of our day. EMI has been rather late to jump on the bandwagon with a complete "Icons" box set, and I don't think much here is essential. The previous reviewers haven't yet touched on some salient facts, and ones they have touched on need underlining:

Sound: Despite the advertised full dimension sound, not everything is absent of tape hiss. The Berlin recordings of Petrushka and the Firebird, which look so tempting, are in distinctly murky sound. The Carmina Burana is also thin. Other recordings, like the Bach transcriptions, however, come in excellent sound. In fact, I find this version of Stokowski's signature Bach transcriptions the best overall.

Performances: The conductor is in generally good form, but the Carmina Burana is non-competitive with its weak singers, chorus and sound. His conducting of The Planets strikes me as surprisingly flat, and even the legendary Shostakovich 11th has been superseded by a flood of newer releases, many from Russian conductors since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Repertoire: EMI left out at least one major work, the Rachmaninov Sym. 3, in favor of a host of fillers, transcriptions, and lollipops. These items are sometimes rare but really will interest only Stokowski specialists. If you discount the Stravinsky works form Berlin, Thee Planets, and Carmina Burana as weak recordings, that leaves few major works. The Debussy collection is certainly a standout, as is Verklarte Nacht, and a few other things, but the general listener can do much better. The Gliere, a Stokowski specialty, has been significatnly cut.

As a longtime collector, I'd advise starting with RCA's reissued material, selected discs on the Cala label (they worked with the Stokowski Society in Great Britain), and the two Stokowski box sets on Decca, which contain some of is most characteristic and best-sounding work. Lagging considerably behind would be EMI's rather skimpy output of Stokowski, if your criterion is major works in the best sound."