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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade; Russian Easter Overture

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Example of the Legendary Stokowski

    This recording of the "Scheherazade" was a very pleasant surprise when it was played on WQXR last night. It is a very late example of the legendary conductor's output, made just two years before his death in 1977. I was fortunate enough to have crossed paths with the man twice in the early 1970s, singing in performances with the Westminster Choir that he conducted. For those who have not grown up with his work, this recording is a terrific example. The better you feel you know this work, the bigger the surprise of this performance will be. Stokowski was a "bad boy" as a younger man and a flamboyant, towering figure as a dramatic interpreter of orchestral literature. This performance shows his signal characteristic of "pushing the envelope" of good taste in pursuit of a breath taking effect. You will not find another conductor who could pull off the extremes of tempo that he does in this example. If you sit back and just let this performance envelope you, I can pretty much guarantee that your reaction will be a gasping, "Holy Smoke!"

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