One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Stokowski: Acoustic - Volume 3
rec. 1917-1924, Camden Church Studio (Victor Building no 22), *Victor Office Building no 2, Eighteenth Floor Auditorium, Camden, New Jersey, USA
Sergei Rachmaninov (piano)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC471 [79:41]

Pristine Audio reminds me of a plate-spinner on the variety stage. It has a large number of plates spinning at the moment, with multi-volume series devoted to Beecham, Stokowski and Monteux just three that have come my way in the past few weeks. The third volume of their series devoted to Stokowski’s acoustic recordings (see reviews of Volume 1/a> and Volume 2) has a major work, and then a raft of lighter material, several of which pieces will be of considerable interest to Stokowski collectors as they have never before been issued.

The major work is Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the composer as soloist. This 1924 recording shouldn’t be confused with the later electric remake. The strange history of its missing first movement – never issued at the time, thus forcing purchasers to buy a torso of the work – can be explored elsewhere, though suffice to say it first reappeared commercially in RCA Red Seal’s Rachmaninov edition of his complete recordings. It’s known that he played a Steinway Model B here, which was raised on a platform to allow the horn better to pick up his sound – quite a common practice at the time – and the results were exceptional. Given that Rachmaninov never approved the first movement for release, listeners would have had to start with the slow movement but for us no such impediment exists. It is one of those little ironies of recording history that Victor was recording a pretty complete complement of orchestral players back in 1917 but in succeeding years they actually cut back, so that by the end of the acoustic era the Philadelphia often had around 38 or 40 players in the studio. Any bass reinforcements in this Rachmaninov recording have been utilised quite subtly. The metrical freedoms taken by the soloist-composer are a touch freer than in his remake, making this recording that much more uplifting and combustible. It is, in any case, a memorable achievement and it has been very well transferred here.

The remainder of the programme is graced by a succession of single-sided sweetmeats. The quartet of Bizet gives the brass and winds a workout in particular – the March of the Smugglers is notably well played – and whilst this is by no means the first recording of Boccherini’s Minuet, it is assuredly one of the most suavely played. Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Procession of the Sardar from the Caucasian Sketches Suite No.1 offers some exotic fair and Stokowski’s arrangement (and the orchestra’s performance of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor) is persuasive: other Stoky Chopin arrangements were not always so tasteful. The Gluck is, alas, too bass heavy and lugubrious but the 1919 Chabrier España Rhapsody makes up for it. The last three pieces have never before been released. Like everything else, the sound is excellent for the 1917-24 time period. We hear the second part of the Scherzo from Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, and part one (only) of Tannhauser’s Festmarsch, which duly stops abruptly. But the gem here is the piece by the American composer Edgar Stillman Kelley whose The Red Queen’s Banquet, from his Alice in Wonderland suite, offers some busy material. In fine sound, it brings Kelley to the attention of contemporary listeners and one wonders what else is out there by him.

Full documentation can be found on Pristine’s website, as there isn’t much room in the disc for much beyond a brief Producer’s Note and the running order.

Jonathan Woolf

Contents
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 [30:38]
rec. January 3 and December 22, 1924
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen – Prelude [2:13]
rec. May 8, 1919
Carmen - Changing of the Guard transc. Stokowski [3:35]
rec. April 30, 1923
Carmen - March of the Smugglers transc. Stokowski [3:32]
rec. April 30, 1923
L'Arlésienne - Spanish Dance [1:40]
rec. January 28, 1922
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 orch. Karl Müller-Berghaus [3:59]
rec. May 20, 1920
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)
Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 - Minuet transc. Stokowski [2:36]
rec. January 28, 1921
Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935)
Caucasian Sketches Suite No. 1 - Procession of the Sardar [3:20]
rec. April 29, 1922
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Prelude no 4 in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4 transc. Stokowski [2:15]
rec. November 6, 1922
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Scherzo [4:30]
rec. November 8, 1917*
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice - Dance of the Blessed Spirits [4:43]
rec. November 8, 1917*
Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894)
España Rhapsody [4:28]
rec. May 9, 1919
Edgar Stillman KELLEY (1857-1944)
Alice in Wonderland - Suite: The Red Queen's Banquet [4:36]
rec. December 31, 1924
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Tannhäuser - Act II: Festmarsch (Entrance of the Guests) transc. Stokowski [3:08]
rec. April 30, 1923
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 - Scherzo - Part 2 [4:27]
rec. December 4, 1917*


 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger