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<<  -- 3 --  Howard Smith    FINE INDEED

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As for the Mussorgsky/Stokowski Pictures -- I was immediately relieved that Serebrier avoids the 'bull-at-a gate' pace many conductors adopt for the 'Promenade'; for all the world as if the exhibition visitor has left an open fire untended back at his home.

Though Ravel's orchestration has overwhelmingly remained the preferred version, Stokowski's is no less effective and in some instances I would choose it first. Listen to the overpowering dread and ghostly, invasive chill in these 'Catacombs' [listen -- track 12, 1:40-2:45] and the gleeful demonism of 'La cabane sur des pattes de poule'.

In marked contrast the Tchaikovsky Humoresque Op 10, No 2 is a folksy, somewhat quirky sweetmeat while Solitude Op 73 No 6 conveys unremitting grief as only Pyotr Ilych knows how.

To conclude, Stokowski's Traditional Slavic Christmas Music [listen -- track 17, 0:00-1:00], brief though it is, encapsulates the faith, dignity and charity Russian people possess however great the obstacles that lie in their path.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't be without this release; a winner for Naxos, a triumph for Serebrier, a gleaming feather in the cap of the BSO, nonpareil for Mussorgsky admirers and -- above all -- an unqualified testament to Stokowski's magic.

Copyright © 6 August 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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Mussorgsky Stokowski transcriptions

8.557645 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 76'47" 2005 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; José Serebrier, conductor

Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881), transcribed Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977): A Night on Bare Mountain (1939); Entr'acte to Act IV of Khovanschina (1922); Symphonic Synthesis of Boris Godunov (1936); Pictures at an Exhibition (1939 - Promenade; Gnomus; Promenade; Il vecchio castello; Bydlo; Promenade; Ballet de poussins dans leurs coques; Samuel Goldberg and Schmuyle; Catacombs - Speulchrum Romanum; Con mortuis in lingua mortua; La cabane sur des pattes de poule; La grande porte de Kiev); Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), transcribed Leopold Stokowski: Humoresque Op 10 No 2 (1941); Solitude Op 73 No 6 (1936); Leopold Stokowski: Traditional Slavic Christmas Music (1933)

BUY THIS CD ONLINE

SEREBRIER CONDUCTS GLAZUNOV

STOKOWSKI OPERA RECORDINGS

STOKOWSKI CONDUCTS VIVALDI AND HANDEL

STOKOWSKI AND THE CLASSIC COLUMBIAS

SCHUMANN, HAYDN, STRAUSS, HUMPERDINCK AND MOZART

BRAHMS AND MENDELSSOHN

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