Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor

Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor

by Leopold Stokowski
     
 

EMI, of course, is based in England, and apparently didn't pay too much attention to the 2008 American presidential election, otherwise it might have thought twice about naming this 10-CD box set Leopold Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor. Ironically, the word maverick -- in its traditional sense -- certainly fits Stokowski; he wasSee more details below

Overview

EMI, of course, is based in England, and apparently didn't pay too much attention to the 2008 American presidential election, otherwise it might have thought twice about naming this 10-CD box set Leopold Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor. Ironically, the word maverick -- in its traditional sense -- certainly fits Stokowski; he was probably the figure who more than any other established the symphony conductor as a superhuman entity, able to conquer the weakest orchestra in a single bound and get his patented string sound from it. He was a tireless advocate of modern music who gave first performances of composers such as Edgard Varèse and Charles Ives in Philadelphia in the 1920s. He was a prolific recording artist who was very active in attempting to improve the technology of recordings and a pioneer in many stereophonic sessions going back into the 1930s. His career as conductor is one of the longest on record, stretching from his 1909 debut with the Cincinnati Symphony to his last recording session, made within days of his death, with the London Symphony in 1977. Thus, Stokowski's activity as conductor encompasses nearly the entire twentieth century. The 10 CDs included in Leopold Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor features recordings made between 1956 and 1960 and basically encompasses all of the compact discs EMI previously released either as single discs or as smaller sets. That comes as excellent news for those who missed the short-lived three-CD EMI set devoted to his United Artists' recordings of the Symphony of the Air, containing Stokowski's electrifying recordings of Respighi's "The Pines of Rome" and Khachaturian's "Symphony No. 1, The Bell." On the downside, it also incorporates his Capitol recording The Orchestra, which once was accompanied by a deluxe booklet illustrating the different instruments of the orchestra and necessarily consisted of excepts. So instead of a full version of Mussorgsky/Ravel's "Pictures at an Exhibition" you get just the last two movements; of course, he did record that elsewhere, but it's not the sort of thing that makes for the most attractive filler. The portion of Stokowski's output that EMI owns belongs to the latter stages of a long, wandering period where he was without a standing position with a major orchestra, and this did not end until he was appointed to serve as the conductor of the Houston Symphony in 1958. The group identified as the "Leopold Stokowski Symphony Orchestra" was the Symphony of the Air, the reorganized NBC Symphony after Toscanini retired; Stokowski recorded both under that name and his own. There are also some guest situations with the ORTF Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and even the Berlin Philharmonic, and the front tip of his work in Houston, the rest being captured by Belock Labs (i.e., Everest). Interestingly, there is a stray recording, from 1957, of Ravel's "Rhapsodie espagnole" made with the London Symphony, an organization to which Stokowski would later get appointed and with whom he made many of his final recordings. In sum, during these years Stokowski was still a name, but was not entirely in control of his destiny as far as recording was concerned; Stokowski: The Maverick Conductor is partly a collection of curios, a grab bag of dates he was able to secure in those years. Orff's "Carmina Burana" shares its disc with the Scherzo from Tchaikovsky's "Fourth Symphony." However, it's a very reasonably priced box set, and the recordings -- especially the ones made by United Artists, which were mastered on 35mm film -- still sound great overall. Those who bought these discs in their original form, as single items, might not be so pleased that this represents such a price break over having obtained them that way, but everyone else is likely to find at least three to four discs in the set that are worth their while, even if they never get around to listening to all 10.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/20/2009
Label:
Emi Classics
UPC:
5099969855528
catalogNumber:
98555
Rank:
108042

Tracks

  1. Passacaglia and Fugue, for organ in C minor, BWV 582 (BC J79)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  2. Komm, süsser Tod, for voice & continuo (Schemelli Gesangbuch No. 868), BWV 478 (BC F227)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  3. English Suite, for keyboard No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807 (BC L14): Bourrée  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  4. English Suite, for keyboard No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807 (BC L14): Sarabande  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  5. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, chorale prelude for organ (by Johann Michael Bach, not JSB), BWV 720 (BC K103)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  6. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): Sinfonia  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  7. Fugue for organ in G minor ("Little"), BWV 578 (BC J66)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  8. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  9. Mein Jesu! was für Seelenweh, for voice & continuo (Schemelli Gesangbuch No. 283), BWV 487 (BC F237)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  10. Partita for solo violin No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006: Prelude  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  11. Toccata and Fugue, for organ in D minor, BWV 565 (BC J37)  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  12. Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, Sz. 106, BB 114  - Béla Bartók  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  13. Escales (Ports of Call), suite for orchestra  - Jacques Ibert  - Leopold Stokowski  -  ORTF National Orchestra
  14. Petite symphonie concertante, for harp, harpsichord and piano and 2 string orchestras  - Frank Martin  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  15. Evolution (Part 1): [Part 1]  - Harold Farberman  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  16. Divertimento, for band Op. 42: March  - Vincent Persichetti  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  17. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), for orchestra, L. 86  - Claude Debussy  - Leopold Stokowski  - Julius Baker  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  18. Nocturnes, for female chorus & orchestra, L. 91  - Claude Debussy  - Leopold Stokowski  -  London Symphony Orchestra  -  Women's Voices of BBC Symphony Chorus
  19. Suite bergamasque, for piano, L. 75: Clair de lune  - Claude Debussy  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  20. Ibéria, for orchestra, L. 122/2  - Claude Debussy  - Leopold Stokowski  -  ORTF National Orchestra
  21. Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 (The Year 1905)  - Dmitry Shostakovich  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  22. Adagio for strings (or string quartet; arr. from 2nd mvt. of String Quartet), Op. 11  - Samuel Barber  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  23. The Planets, suite for orchestra & female chorus, Op. 32, H. 125  - Gustav Holst  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
  24. Verklärte Nacht, for string sextet, Op. 4  - Arnold Schoenberg  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  25. Symphony No. 3 in B minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42  - Reinhold Glière  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  26. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 1. Russian Dance  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  27. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 2. The Shrovetide Fair (near evening)  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  28. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 3. Dance of the Wet Nurses  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  29. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 4. Dance of the Peasant and the Bear  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  30. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 5. Dance of the Gypsy Girls  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  31. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 6. Dance of the Coachmen and Grooms  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  32. Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version): 7. The Masqueraders  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  33. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 1. Introduction  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  34. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 2. Dance of the Firebird  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  35. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 3. Variation of the Firebird  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  36. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 4. The Princesses' Khovorod  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  37. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 5. Infernal Dance of King Kashchei  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  38. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 6. Lullaby  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  39. L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 1: 7. Finale  - Igor Stravinsky  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra
  40. La Péri, fanfare to the ballet  - Paul Dukas  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  41. La Oración del torero, for lute quartet (or string quartet/string orchestra), Op. 34  - Joaquín Turina  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  42. A Pagan Poem (after Vergil), for piano & orchestra, Op. 14  - Charles Martin Loeffler  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  43. Alborada del Gracioso, for orchestra  - Maurice Ravel  - Leopold Stokowski  -  ORTF National Orchestra
  44. Rhapsodie espagnole, for orchestra (or 2 pianos)  - Maurice Ravel  - Leopold Stokowski  -  London Symphony Orchestra
  45. Lemminkäinen Suite: Four Legends from the Kalevala, for orchestra, Op. 22: 2. The Swan of Tuonela  - Jean Sibelius  - Leopold Stokowski  - Robert Bloom  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  46. Finlandia, tone poem for orchestra, Op. 26  - Jean Sibelius  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
  47. Carmina Burana, scenic cantata for soloists, choruses & orchestra  - Carl Orff  - Leopold Stokowski  - Virgina Babikian  - Guy Gardner  -  Clyde Hager  -  Houston Chorale  -  Houston Symphony Orchestra  -  Houston Youth Symphony Boys' Choir
  48. Suite for 13 wind instruments in B flat major, Op. 4 (TrV 132): Gavotte  - Richard Strauss  - Leopold Stokowski
  49. Symphony No. 8 in D minor: 2. Scherzo  - Ralph Vaughan Williams  - Leopold Stokowski
  50. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: 3. Scherzo  - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky  - Leopold Stokowski
  51. Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for orchestra, orchestrated by Ravel: The Hut on Fowl's Legs  - Modest Mussorgsky  - Maurice Ravel  - Leopold Stokowski
  52. Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for orchestra, orchestrated by Ravel: The Great Gate of Kiev  - Modest Mussorgsky  - Maurice Ravel  - Leopold Stokowski
  53. Pini di Roma (The Pines of Rome), symphonic poem, P. 141  - Ottorino Respighi  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  54. Symphony No.2 in A minor ("Symphony with Bells")  - Leopold Stokowski  - Aram Khachaturian  -  Symphony of the Air
  55. Work(s): Gagliarda  - Girolamo Frescobaldi  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  56. Adoramus te Christe, motet for 4 voices (from Motets Book II for 4 voices)  - Giovanni Pierliugi Palestrina  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  57. Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10  - Dmitry Shostakovich  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  58. Prelude & Fugue for piano No. 14 in E flat minor, Op. 87/14  - Dmitry Shostakovich  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  59. Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, opera, Op. 29: Entr'acte  - Dmitry Shostakovich  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  60. Schelomo, rhapsody for cello & orchestra (or piano)  - Ernest Bloch  - Leopold Stokowski  - George Neikrug  -  Symphony of the Air
  61. Tu mancavi a tormentarmi (aria arranged for strings & harp by L.Stokowski)  - Antonio Cesti  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air
  62. Sacrae Symphoniae: No. 6. Sonata pian e forte  - Giovanni Gabrieli  - Leopold Stokowski  - Leopold Stokowski  -  Symphony of the Air

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