Stokowski symphonic transcriptions -
'... an unqualified testament to Stokowski's magic.'
Since the infancy of commercial LPs the Mussorgsky/Ravel orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition has fared outstandingly well. Long ago I cycled home clutching my new 10 inch disc of the HMV recording featuring the brilliant Chicago Symphony/Kubelik performance when -- horrors -- it fell from my grasp, beneath both wheels of the Raleigh.
Despite the mishap that 'stunning' unmarked BLP disc became a treasured item in my LP collection though successive recordings of the work repeatedly met with high critical acclaim.
Today, alongside three other Mussorgsky/Stokowski transcriptions, Naxos bring us the 'theatrical', London-born maestro's less abrasive, demonstrably Russian reworking of Pictures -- minus the Gallic influence of 'Tuilleries' and 'Limoges'.
The Pictures according to Stokowski
[listen -- track 13, 0:00-0:59]
was premièred by the Philadelphia Orchestra on 17 November 1939 and recorded for RCA Victor the following week. Stokowski subsequently recorded the work two more times: with the All American Youth Orchestra in 1941 and the New Philharmonia Orchestra in 1965, yet his frequently revised score remained unpublished until 1971.
Copyright © 6 August 2006
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand