Leopold Stokowski was not only one of the twentieth century' greatest conductors, he was also an inveterate transcriber of music for the symphony orchestra, making some two hundred orchestral arrangements of works which had started life in other forms. Du
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There will be pecksniffs who decry this issue of orchestral transcriptions by Leopold Stokowski. One suspects many of them will probably secretly listen to it and love it, although they wouldn't admit it publicly. It is fashionable these days to hew to the purist line about a composer's original intentions and all that. And, of course, that proscribes such crass things as richly romantic orchestrations of piano music or performances of 'opera without words,' both of which are featured here. Never mind. There are those of us who revel in these things when they are done well, and this issue is heaven-sent for us (and for the hypocrites who claim not to like such things).
Stokowski made over 200 orchestral transcriptions and they often were featured on his programs with the Philadelphia Orchestra during his tenure as its music director (1912-1938). His audiences loved them. During his lifetime he was generally the only conductor who performed them, but since his death they...
One of my favorite episodes of BUGS BUNNY (perhaps my only favorite, I was never a big LOONEY TOONS fan) has Bugs getting in trouble while singing the song "April Showers" in the presence of an opera star. The man finds the rabbit annoying, and Bugs being Bugs decides to get the best of him. On an evening when the buffoon is singing, Bugs dons a wig that resembles the hair style of a great conductor, a caricature of Leopold Stokowski. As soon as Bugs enters the area everyone is all a buzz because Leopold has arrived. Bugs grabs the baton and begins conducting. I was probably twelve or thirteen at the time, and I felt rather sophisticated because I knew who Leopold was other than one of the husbands of Gloria Vanderbilt.
Stokowski was one of the most famous conductors of his day, and he was a well known musical arranger as well. His day was a time when symphony orchestras had regular arrangers who transcribed famous keyboard pieces for orchestra. They somewhat fell out of...
For half the price of at least two competing labels that I know of, you can have this recording of Stokowski's most beloved transciptions. I bought this release mainly for the "Symphonic Synthesis" which Stokowski created to bring more popularity to the massive complete opera. You get 24 minutes of shimmering sound, competing with anything in the symphonic genre. In fact everything sounds great on this disc. Meastro Serebrier,(a protege and life long friend of Stokowski) the Bournemouth Symphony, and the engineers are all in top form and dedicated. It is interesting to compare the differences of the Stokowski arrangements. He comes off more horrific than Rimsky-Korsakov on "Night on Bare Mountain", just have a listen to those exagerated screeches of brass. In "Pictures" Stokowski in his own words stated he wanted to take Ravels French out of the work and give it a more Russian feel. Balance, tempo, and detail in specific passages of each picture may or may not achieve this. I...
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