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<<  -- 3 --  David Thompson    Resplendent performance


The second movement is glowingly done. This is glorious, generous music, and Stokowski is our unfailing mentor of its treasures, with the towering climax perfectly built. The maestro relishes the 'tale of two tempi' that is the Scherzo and achieves a joyous juxtaposition of gentle grace and energetic dance [listen -- track 7, 4:35-5:40]. The gentle, unrhetorical ending is particularly lovely. The high-spirited finale is carried forward inexorably to its crowning glory, and to the conclusion of a performance of the whole work that, for me, must rank as one of the finest in the catalogue.

The so-called National Philharmonic -- presumably a pick-up band assembled for the sessions, sounds wonderful. They were clearly devoted to the old wizard, and they play their hearts out for him. Those same hearts beat as one.

Years ago, I remember reading Edward Heath's 'Music -- a joy for ever', in which the author commended to his readers' ears the symphonies of Brahms -- that is, except the second, which he dismissed as rather boring and uncongenial. He had clearly not heard this resplendent performance. I commend to him, and to everyone who enjoys music, even slightly, this glorious disc. It will enable its listeners to confirm, or discover, as the case may be, that music really is a joy for ever. Enjoy!

Copyright © 22 May 2002 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK




CACD0531 ADD Stereo REISSUE 73'43" 2001 Cala Records

National Philharmonic Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 in A Op 90 'Italian'; Brahms: Symphony No 2 in D Op 73




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