It is interesting to note that although we have had many recordings of Stokowski conducting Wagner, none are 'live' except this one. So all the more reason to rejoice in hearing the octogenarian maestro conduct some white hot renderings! In the 'Mastersingers' Overture he is impressively vivid and buoyant whilst the lithe dances and Préludes that follow are also winningly done, especially the triumphant 'Entry of the Masters'. Stokowski really lets himself go in the 'Götterdämmerung' excerpts however. 'Siegfried's Rhine Journey' is marvellous for its drive and rhythmic propulsion with the full element of the drama caught in an unique manner. The 'Funeral March' is astounding for its sense of presence and noble intensity with the London Symphony on true top form. The highlight of the disc however must be the excellent performance of the celebrated 'Immolation Scene' with Berit Lindholm singing quite magnificently throughout. The 'Rienzi' Overture concludes the disc in perfect manner; this is another splendidly rousing performance. As usual BBC Legends include an excellent essay and the remasterings are very good indeed. An essential addition to the Stokowski discography then!
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech