- Leopold Stokowski Collection
- Shostakovich Symphony No.11 ("1905") - Leopold Stokowski / The Houston
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Stoki's Shostakovich 11
This is one of the great recordings, not only a plausible first choice for this work but one of the greatest Shostakovich symphony recordings generally. The sound from Capitol records was always good, but it sounds better than ever here.
This is a nice example of a nicely recorded and performed music. Have several versions of the symphony 11th but this is way above them in performance and sound quality. Transfer is excellent as usual. Don’t miss this gem from your collection!
Good performance, mediocre sound
This widescreen, epic programme symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich is a firm and long-standing favourite of mine; I must have nearly 20 recordings ranging from early analogue vinyl to current hi-res digital. On old pressing of this Stokowski was one of the first versions I acquired; since this is older than Methuselah’s Dad, and also has a good reputation, I was keen to revisit this reading, and see how it stacks up against a very strong field. Regretfully, not so well, it turns out. The performance and playing are decent enough, though better readings are around – see later. And the sound disappoints; it’s veiled, muddy and has overbearing one-note bass. As we would say on British Bake-Off, this one definitely has a soggy bottom. Plus the dynamic range is constrained, with audible gain-riding on climaxes. For a symphony with an awesome range of dynamics from hushed ppp strings to ear-shattering percussion-led climaxes, that's a real deal-breaking downer. I have to say my all-time recommended version of Shostakovich 11 is EMI SLS 5177, the famous 1980 double-vinyl set from Berglund and the Bournemouth SO. Both the reading and playing are even more thrilling and grittily intense than the Stokowski. And the sound? IMHO, simply one of the finest analogue recordings ever made. In the digital era, the Kitayenko on Capriccio is excellent, with superbly transparent and dynamic sound (DSD rip from SACD).
Stokowski was not only one of the great and iconic conductors of the 20 Cent., but also one of the most exciting. Nothing was ever dull or pedestrian, though he was occasionally guilty of gilding the lily - e.g. Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony from 1941 with the NBC Symphony. His finale is a hodgepodge of changing tempos that have little or nothing to do with the architecture of the music itself, while most don't make any sense at all, and are both abrupt and downright wilful. But this is the worst of Stokowski. His Tchaik. 5 a year later with the same orchestra is an absolute revelation, especially the very opening, where, unlike any other conductor I've ever heard, Stokowski follows the bass rather than the melody, and it makes just so much sense. This performance of Shostakovich's 11th is right on the nervous edge of the knife, in a truly thrilling reading of this great Symphony. The sound has immense presence, where no detail is lost. A wonderful transfer!
A great performance and good recording
Title: Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905)
Artist(s): Leopold Stokowski conducting The Houston Symphony Orchestra
Recording Info: Recorded At – City Auditorium, Houston 9th April 1958 by Capital Records
Transferred from a 15ips tape
I. The Palace Square (Adagio) 15:06
II. January 9th (Allegro) 20:00
III. Eternal Memory (Adagio) 11:34
IV. Alarm (Allegro Non Troppo) 15:52
Total Time: 1:02:32