This CD consists of nicely remastered 78s from 1949-50 that feature Stokowski in two composers rare for him: Haydn and Schumann. The Haydn Sym. 53 ("Imperial") is a lovely, underplayed work that Stokowski chose over many more familiar works. His reading is energetic and angular, with almost no romantic touches. "His Symphony Orchestra," a NY pickup group, play well, but the recording is flat. This performance is mostly interesting for occasional moments.
It's strange that Stokowski and Schumann, two arch-romantics, never crossed paths more often. This well-recorded Sym. #2 has a glorious slow movement (one of Schumann's greatest), which comes off as intense and ultra-lush in Stokowski's hands. Literlists will cringe, but the effect is emotionally rich and, to me, entrancing. The other movements are full of swoops, pauses, glides, and other Stokowski moves; the general effect isn't as convincing as in the slow movement, but the performance is all of a piece. The 78 sides vary in sound quality--the best ones deserve considerable praise.
The fillers are a Humperdinck Prelude to Hansel and Gretel (a bit dull, surprisingly), Mozart "Sleigh Ride" (heavy-handed), and two Strauss waltzes, The Blue Danube and Tales form the Vienna Woods, each truncated to 4 min. and performed with swish and elan in Stokowski's most glib style.
In all, if you love Stokowski to pieces, this CD hits the mark, as always with Cala's reissues, but if you aren't converted yet, there may be too many eccentricities to excite admiration.
P.S. -- Remarkably, this CD contains the only recordings Stokowski ever made of any symphonies by Haydn and Schumann.