Stokowski and the
classic Columbias -
'... a powerful performance ...'
Volume 3 of the series of recordings sponsored by the Leopold Stokowski
Society, aiming to reissue all his rare and live broadcast performances with
the New York Philharmonic, has at least three major reasons to place it in
our valued archives.
To begin with, it contains the first recorded
American performance of Vaughan Williams' 6th Symphony. Stokowski, ten
years his junior, had been a fellow student with Vaughan Williams at the
Royal College in London and felt a close affinity with his music. He had
given performances of the Pastoral Symphony in Philadelphia as early as
1924, the 4th Symphony with the NBC in 1943, and this performance of the 6th
was given in Carnegie Hall in January 1949, barely nine months after its
British premier. It is a powerful performance, with speeds close to those
indicated in the score and so quicker than Sir Adrian Boult's 1953
recordings for HMV and Decca. It is also a rare recording of the original
version of the Scherzo the detail of which was revised before the British
recordings. The haunting Epilogue has a particularly strong atmosphere,
living well in the memory long after.
Copyright © 28 December 2004
Patric Standford, Wakefield UK