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CD Review

Stokowski's Symphonic Baroque

Arrangements of works by:

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Matthias Bamert
Chandos CHAN9930 76m DDD
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You only have to listen to the magnificently pompous opening bars of the "Water Music" arrangement to realize that this is vintage Stokowski that has been shamefully under recorded. The plush, romantic sonorities are irresistible and the rampant Chandos recording is amply demonstrative of the music's capabilities. Henry Purcell's wonderful Suite is also a typical Stokowskian pastiche whilst other intriguing items include a spanking arrangement of Byrd's "Pavan and Gigue" and the lovely Sicilienne from Gluck's "Armide". Vivaldi's Concerto Grosso #11 receives a lovingly old fashioned interpretation with Richard Davis and Christopher Blake enjoying themselves immensely in their musical outing. There's also space for Cesti's forgotten, "Tu mancavi a tormentarmi" and the pompous "Dead March" from Handel's "Saul", another Stokowski speciality. All in all, this is a brilliantly recorded disc with both conductor and orchestra completely at one with Stoki's larger than life imagination. I got immense pleasure out of it and am sure that any purchasers will share my feelings.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech