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If you only own one Stokowski recording, this would be as good a bet as any. The two Tchaikovsky tone poems are played with such passion and sensuality to convince you, temporarily, that they are genuinely great pieces of music. The sound is more vivid and . . . bigger than on the CD. great stuff.
I bought the HDTT 24/96 flac download of this a while back. For years, the Penguin Stereo Guide (no longer published/updated) had these recordings down as one of its most recommended Tchaikovsky albums and it was long one of Stokowski's most famous albums amongst classical record collectors. The New York Stadium Orchestra was virtually the same ensemble as the New York Philharmonic; presumably there were contractual reasons why the players appeared under this name. So it goes almost without saying that the playing is first rate. Here, the orchestra is on fire or playing at white heat as if their lives depended on it. Stokowski's recordings in general may be divided into three categories: the entirely re-worked, eg. free arrangements of JS Bach and others, as with the 'Fantasia' soundtrack; the 'fiddled with', eg. where a standard published score is used, but with the occasional re-touch of orchestral parts; and finally - those where the music is followed to the letter and given a solid or even great performance. This album represents the final category and presents recorded performances that are unlikely to be bettered. The late 1950's stereo is very clear and lifelike and the excellent Everest recording does not show its age. The tape transfer here is also excellent. If you don't know either piece, although not as well known as any of the Tchaikovsky ballets, symphonies or even others of his tone paintings, this remains superb Tchaikovsky. Utterly fabulous. Treat yourself.
Title: Tchaikovsky Francesca Da Rimini, Fantasia for Orchestra (after Dante), Op. 32 Hamlet (Overture And Fantasy)
Artist(s): Leopold Stokowski Conducting The Stadium Symphony Orchestra Of New York
"The Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York" is an alias used by members of The New York Philharmonic Orchestra for recordings on the Everest label
Recording Info: Recorded by the Everest / Belock Recording Co. 1958
Directed By – Raoul Poliakin
Engineer - Aaron Nathanson
Technician – Robert Engler
Transferred from an Everest 2-track tape
1 Francesca Da Rimini, Fantasia for Orchestra (after Dante), Op. 32 22:40
2 Hamlet (Overture And Fantasy) 18:45