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             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley n/a
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 


Availability

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
The Planets, Op 34, H126 (1914-17) [52:03]
George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916)
A Shropshire Lad (1911) [9:33]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912) [9:33]
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
rec. 1943-44, Studio 8H, Radio City, New York
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC546 [71:28]

Stokowski’s NBC Symphony The Planets has appeared before, most prominently on Cala’s much-remembered series of discs devoted to his performances (CACD0526), where it was very differently coupled. Where this differs is the source material which appears to be different - a near mint set of acetates.

The brief opening radio introduction is retained for Pristine’s release and then we’re into the February 1943 performance. He had first conducted the work in memoriam for Holst in Philadelphia in 1934 and returned to it in 1941 with the NBC. He recorded it commercially in stereo in 1956 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and returned to it in London in 1963. These details are courtesy of Edward Johnson’s illuminating notes in the booklet.

The very clean undistracting surfaces of the acetates allow one to appreciate Stokowski’s fast tempi for Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus; he takes pretty much Holstian tempi for these three movements, judged especially by Holst’s own 1926 electric recording, though he was hardly a slouch in the slightly earlier acoustic set. He doesn’t replicate the visceral Holst tempi for Mars or Venus. Fortunately, with clean surfaces comes vivid frequency response for the time and place, and the XR work seems to have filled out Studio 8H somewhat, to advantage. Stoky encourages some voluptuous portamenti in Mercury and there’s a luscious solo from the concertmaster; more vegetarian listeners than I might find the end of this movement somewhat sentimentalised. The orchestra sounds very much moulded to Stokowski’s will, both dramatically and sonically, throughout this whole performance and only the very greatest conductors achieve this. But for muffly percussion Uranus could stand as a sonic spectacular, though the effect of Neptune is somewhat odd and jarring in its valedictory nature.

The all-British programme continues with the performance, a year later, of George Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad. This is a passionately declamatory reading, once again irradiated by succulent slides and striking wind solos; Stoky’s rubati are equally prominent. There’s nothing ramrod-backed, emotionally speaking, about this. Finally, there is VW’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, an appropriate choice for 14 December 1943 and warmly and sympathetically done.

Pristine’s Stokowski series keeps up the good work with this well-programmed trio of recordings.

Jonathan Woolf



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

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