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Messiah apparently needed little rehearsal, though Stokowski was returning to it for the first time in almost 60 years. Many of the solos here were taken on the first run through, and this says much for the considerable empathy that existed between Stokowski and his fine soloists: Sheila Armstrong, Norma Procter, Kenneth Bowen and the bass John Cameron [listen -- CD2 track 8, 0:00-1:12].

The choral singing is superb, as indeed it always was under the direction of LSO chorus master John Aldiss [listen -- CD2 track 11, 0:00-1:01]. Knowing Stokowski, one should expect a pomp and ceremony among these twelve Messiah highlights [listen -- CD2 track 1, 0:01-1:40]. but there is also that glorious choral sound [listen -- CD2 track 3, 0:00-1:10]! This is another of the 'Phase 4 Stereo' series celebrating the 25th year (2004) of the Stokowski Society.

Copyright © 24 April 2005 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Stokowski - The Four Seasons - Messiah highlights

CACD0538 ADD Stereo REISSUE (2 CDs) 45'50"/58'05" - TT 103'55" 1966 Decca, 2004 Cala Records Ltd

Hugh Bean, solo violin; Desmond Bradley, first violin; Kenneth Moore, second violin; Raymond Clarke, first cello; Charles Spinks, harpsichord; New Philharmonia Orchestra (Vivaldi); Sheila Armstrong, soprano; Norma Procter, contralto; Kenneth Bowen, tenor; John Cameron, bass; Charles Spinks, harpsichord; Philip Ledger, organ; LSO Chorus; John Alldis, chorus master; London Symphony Orchestra (Handel); Leopold Stokowski, conductor

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni); George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Messiah (highlights: Overture; Every valley; And the glory; Pastoral Symphony; Then shall the eyes of the blind; He shall feed his flock; Thy rebuke hath broken His Heart; He was cut off out of the land of the living; Why do the nations; Hallelujah; I know that my Redeemer liveth; Since by man came death; Amen)



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