Search - Johann Sebastian Bach, William [Composer] Byrd, Jeremiah Clarke :: Decca Recordings, 1965-1972 (Limited Edition) [Box Set]

Decca Recordings, 1965-1972 (Limited Edition) [Box Set]
Johann Sebastian Bach, William [Composer] Byrd, Jeremiah Clarke
Decca Recordings, 1965-1972 (Limited Edition) [Box Set]
Genres: Special Interest, Classical


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Stokowski in Phase 4 land, Vol. 1
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Decca has pulled a lot of Stokowski's gaudy Phase 4 recordings off the market so that they can reappear in this box set, but the company had already licensed many out to another label, Cala, that specializes in all things Stokowski. So if you pick and choose, you can buy your favorites recordings individually with a little effort. Of the two volumes in the Original Masters series, this one is the more interesting musically.

For one thing, it features two of the conductor's great strengths: his incomparable Bach transcriptions (no one else performs them with the same total commitment) and his Debussy and Ravel. Admittedly, this La Mer and Daphnis and Chloes have been multi-miked within an inch of their lives, and neither represents Stokowski as wonderuflly as his EMI Debussy collection, but if you love the old magician, you'll love these readings.

Aslo very appealing are the Enigma Variations, which Stokowski recorded only once, and the Franck D minor Sym., though don't expect world-class execution in either case. Stokowski championed early Messiaen in l'Ascension, and here is his last version, along with a swooning and seductive Scriabin Poeme d'Extase.

You have to adore recorded excess to swallow this Symphonie fantastique and Firebird, both gorgeous in a kind of Las Vegas neon billboard sort of way. But for geneations of listeners, that's what Stokowski is all about. What he's not about, sadly, is the wretchedly eccentric and nearly unlistenable Tchaikovsky Fifth Sym., the only performance in this whole set that made me hold my nose.

In all, thee are enough goodie here to justify buying the whole box, unless you want to pick and choose, in which case turn to Cala's excellent reissues."