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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stokowski Lives Again!, 21 Jun. 2006
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J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions (Audio CD)
As a ten-year-old piano student I learned the piano transcription of Bach's 'Little' G Minor Fugue for organ done by Olga Samaroff. One day my teacher asked, 'Would you like to hear what Madame Samaroff's husband has done with this fugue? He set it for full orchestra.' When she played a 78rpm recording of Stokowski's transcription I knew I'd entered an entirely delightful world. I bought my own record and played it until the grooves were worn down. I had the temerity, though, to ask my teacher if, when I performed the fugue, I should slow down at the climax like Stokowski did and she explained the difference between a keyboard and an orchestral climax, and said something about Stokowski 'taking liberties' on that account. 'It really works, doesn't it?' I'll say!

When I got this CD I went immediately to track 3 -- that same Little G Minor Fugue -- and heard it with the memory of Stokowski's recording in my mind's ear. This one stacks up beautifully and is in modern sound. Actually, though, that transcription is a bit out of character for Stokowski's Bach settings because it is so dependent on the sound of the wind section. His transcriptions typically are based on massed string sound -- he had, after all, the 'Philadelphia sound' (which, of course, he'd created) to work with, those silky, lush, deeply visceral Philadelphia strings. The Bournemouth strings have nothing to fear, though, when compared with the Philadelphia strings of old. There is much to like on this CD. For instance, there is the utter serenity of the first section of 'Es is vollbracht' (from the St. John Passion) which leads to the quicker triumphal middle section with celebratory brass before returning to the earlier calm. Or the sweet contemplation of 'Komm süsser Tod.' Or the majestic chorale from 'Christ lag in Todesbanden.'

But this CD is slightly misnamed: it is not all Bach. There is the Pastoral Symphony from 'Messiah,' a moving transcription of 'Dido's Lament' from Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas,' and Stokowski's own 'Two Ancient Liturgical Melodies' which is an effective intermingling of 'Veni Creator Spiritus' and 'Veni Emmanuel'.

The CD ends with one of Stokowski's most glorious efforts, his transcription of Bach's great Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582. This gigantic work, so effective in its original organ setting, is perfect for the orchestrational skills of Stokowski who loved nothing better than building layer upon layer of orchestration in a work that starts simply and builds repeatedly to exhilarating climaxes. This is one of Stokowski's (and, of course, Bach's) masterpieces. It is given an exciting reading by José Serebrier and the Bournemouth orchestra, who, by the way, have issued an earlier CD, also justly praised, of Stokowski-Mussorgsky transcriptions including Stoki's own orchestration of 'Pictures at an Exhibition' that is really first-rate.

The booklet notes are by Serebrier who, as most will recall, had been Stokowski's assistant at the very beginning of his career and who was present for many, many Stokowski rehearsals and performances. If Stokowski has an heir it has to be Serebrier. He certainly obtains the characteristic Stokowski style and sound in these marvelous performances. The excellent sonics make this very nearly a demonstration CD.

Heartily recommended.

Scott Morrison
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 18 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions (Audio CD)
Sublime sound quality.Congratulations Naxos.Buy with confidence and be prepared to be delighted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions (Audio CD)
Very satisfied
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music..., 19 April 2014
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This review is from: Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions (Audio CD)
I have heard much of Stokowski's music - the man was a genius! I particularly enjoyed the Handel on this disc - Dives and Lazarus being a special favourite of mine. Very happy with this purchase.
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Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions
Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 2006)
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