Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Brahms, Stokowski|
Symphony 2 / Symphony 4
Listen to Samples
For those bored of 4th's and 2nd's
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not recommended for first-time listeners of either of these works. Not too faithful to the score, but have more energy and excitement than any other recordings. A bit pricey for two not-so-well-filled discs, but I find its value grows over time. *Extremely* quirky tempos in the first movement of Brahms 4th, and the Scherzo of the 2nd. That may put off the Toscanini fan club, but the adventurous will love it. I'd hate to spoil the surprises on the CD (any further than I already have), but Stoki's 2nd is the only recording that doesn't make the instrumental finale sound anticlimactic after the massive choral explosion that precedes it. This is the perfect example of what a great showman and entertainer Stoki was, even in his 90's(!), when he made these recordings. Another very important reason to get this set - it's the only recording Stoki made of a Mahler symphony. And now that it's out of the complete Stokowski Stereo recordings set, it's finally affordable."
Brian H. Williams | Manteca, CA United States | 06/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the literally hundreds of recordings available of the Brahms 4, this, in my opinion, is the greatest. Stokowski's orchestral sonorities, control and drive is utterly amazing. Several other recordings, such as Reiner, Szell, Kleiber and Toscanini have drive and discipline, but both lack Stokowski's incredible sonorities. Some critics make balk at the speed in which Stokowski takes the coda in the first movement. In this case, it's not only the speed that is so astonishing, it's the energy. I dare any conductor to match the intensity, drama and drive Stokowski achieves in this performance. His adjustments to the dynamics to the score in the 4th movement is startling, but sounds so right. It will be hard for anyone to hear this symphony in the same way again after hearing Stokowski. What makes this performance even more astonishing is the fact that Stokowski was 93 years old! A great recording that deserves to be in any collection. The Mahler 2 is a tightly contoured performance played with the same intensity that makes the Brahms a great performance. Considering the few Mahler recordings Stokowski made, this makes a valuable document of his art. You can't go wrong with this cd!"
Majestic Mahler, Manic Brahms
Karl W. Nehring | Ostrander, OH USA | 07/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although he frequently conducted Mahler in concert, Maestro Stokowski only made one Mahler recording, but it's a definite keeper. This recording was made in 1974, when Stokowski was in his 90s. Always eager to embrace new sound technologies (he worked with Dr. Harvey Fletcher of Bell Labs on the original stereophonic (three-channel, please recall!) orchestral recordings [in his later life, Harvey Fletcher was married to my wife's grandmother, and we spent many interesting times with Uncle Harvey, who even in his 90s was still fascinated by sound and still working on acoustics research. He loved to tell us tales of his work, and he showed us many pictures of him with Leopold Stokowski from those pioneering recording sessions]), Stokowski worked with the producers of this recording to capture the proceedings in quadraphonic sound.
Now BMG has gone back to the original quadraphonic master tapes and mixed them for Dolby Surround. Alas, I do not yet have my surround system in place, so I have only auditioned this CD in two-channel stereo, but it certainly sounds good in that format.
Stokowski's Mahler is a bit on the slow side, but very expressive--a powerful, moving performance. With its excellent sound and majestic performance, this version of the "Resurrection" is one of the finest I have ever heard. When you factor in its bargain price, it becomes a Mahler 2nd that belongs in every CD collection.
Stokowski's Brahms 4th is also powerful, but in just the opposite way--it is performed at breakneck speed! A quick comparison: Mackerras's performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are generally regarded as fast and lively. In the first movement, Mackerras clocks in at 12:02, Stokowski at 10:48. In the final movement, a set of dramatic theme and variations, Mackerras clocks in at 10:06, while Stokowski comes in at 9:51. Yes, this is probably much faster than Brahms intended (and remember, Mackerras is leading a chamber orchestra, while Stokowski is at the helm of the full London Symphony Orchestra), but it is certainly a heck of a lot of fun to listen to every once in a while.
With its majestic Mahler and its manic Brahms performances, this is a truly stimulating two-CD set that BMG has made available at a medium price. As Robert Palmer once sang, it's simply irresistible!"