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CD Review

Leopold Stokowski

Live Recordings - May 1955

Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
* Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
Guild Historical GHCD2329 72m ADD
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Recordings from the hugely prolific Leopold Stokowski continue to turn up and now Guild have fished these mid 1950's recordings from Stuttgart and Frankfurt, surely the ideal tonics to a still war-ravaged nation.

There's mystery and brilliance in the dark and dusky Prelude to Act IV from Mussorgsky's "Khovanschina", a piece which somehow always crops up in the Stokowski file. Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony is similarly one of the great master's old showcases and here it receives a fine recording although still I prefer the later more popular version for Phase 4 Decca which has been resurrected in an Original Masters set. Obviously one cannot really fault Stokowski in Wagner and this scintillating account of the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde does add fuel to that fire.

Finally we move from Stuttgart to Frankfurt where we have a sensuous account of Debussy's "Prelude", another much loved work by the great conductor who was already over 70 when these recordings were made.

Beefy, typical West German radio sound adds to the allure of these performances and with impeccably stylish notes by Robert Matthew Walker, you really cannot fail to do wrong by purchasing this admirably priced CD, more so if you're one of those numerous Stokowski fans out there.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech