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CD Review

BBC Legends

Leopold Stokowski

BBC Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski (15 September 1964 mono)
* New Philharmonia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski (10 September 1965 & 7 June 1973 mono & stereo)
BBC Legends 4115-2 77m ADD
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Stokowski's maverick reputation in the concert hall and on record has afforded him cult status and none is so demonstrative of his greatness than this splendid disc.

The 1964 recording of the Sibelius 2nd Symphony is quite literally, a ravishing recording. The various divergences in tempi and masterly build up in the Finale all amount to an utterly absorbing musical experience.

In the 'Sleeping Beauty' suite, there is a slight emphasis on fast, breakneck speeds that tend to rob part of the music's grandeur but otherwise all is well and the recording is also excellent for its age.

Finally, we have a brash and brave 'Egmont' overture to round off a brilliant disc that can lay claim to be one of the most enticing Stokowski issues to date.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech