Leopold Stokowski: Great recordings from the BBC Legends archive

Leopold Stokowski’s eminence as one of the truly great conductors of the 20th century, in a career which spanned six decades, is exemplified in this 6CD set. It features BBC performances in stereo of many of the symphonies and works he performed in concert during his final years and, in many cases, premiered on record in his early years.
Release Date: 24 May 2024

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Leopold Stokowski’s eminence as one of the truly great conductors of the 20th century, in a career which spanned six decades, is exemplified in this 6CD set. It features BBC performances in stereo of many of the symphonies and works he performed in concert during his final years and, in many cases,premiered on record in his early years.

Of the many outstanding reviews of these live concerts, the distinguished Times critic William Mann wrote of the 1963 ‘Proms’ premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No.2: “A performance which was superb by any standards, meticulously loyal, noble and deeply felt out of long and thoughtful experience”.

The set has been newly remastered to reflect Stokowski’s instructions on how he wanted his recordings to sound.

Selected reviews of the live performances:

“A blazing, thrilling performance of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. The effect of the whole work was overwhelming.”
Andrew Porter, Financial Times

“Beethoven’s 7th Symphony had resolute drive, dancing rhythms, clear textures and an irresistibly sweeping finale.”
Percy Cater, The Daily Mail

“Stokowski interpreted the work with care and devotion. There was playing of the utmost refinement, a masterly moulding of long melodic lines, and an easy driving momentum and biting clarity.”
David Cairns, Financial Times
(on Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony)

“Unquestionably a most successful performance, for here it was a matter of first things first, with tempo and dynamics all geared up to the predominant task of bringing up the texture at its most transparent and gleaming.”
William Mann, The Times
(on Vaughan Williams’ 8th Symphony)

“Stokowski produced much superb playing from the New Philharmonia and phrased the Berlioz masterpiece most admirably. His performance brought out, more than most, the extraordinary genius and originality of the work.”
Neville Cardus, The Guardian
(on the Symphonie Fantastique)

Remastered by Paul Baily using some of Stokowski’s own notes about how he wanted his recordings to sound

CD1
MAHLER Symphony No.2 ‘Resurrection’
Rae Woodland
Janet Baker
BBC Chorus
BBC Choral Society
Goldsmith’s Choral Union
Harrow Choral Society
London Symphony Orchestra

CD2
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No.5
London Symphony Orchestra

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Symphony No.8
BBC Symphony Orchestra

CD3
SCRIABIN Le Poème de l’extase
New Philharmonia Orchestra

BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique
New Philharmonia Orchestra

Leopold Stokowski in Conversation with Deryck Cooke

CD4
BRITTEN The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
BEETHOVEN Symphony No.7
FALLA El amor brujo
with Gloria Lane
BBC Symphony Orchestra

CD5
KLEMPERER Merry Waltz
New Philharmonia Orchestra

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Tallis Fantasia
New Philharmonia Orchestra

RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole
New Philharmonia Orchestra

BRAHMS Symphony No.4
New Philharmonia Orchestra

NOVÁČEK Perpetuum mobile orch. Stokowski
London Symphony Orchestra

CD6
RAVEL Fanfare
FRANCK Symphony in D minor
PROKOFIEV Alexander Nevsky
with Sophia van Sante
Groot Omroepkoor
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra