WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Holst: The Planets; Schoenberg / Stokowski, Los Angeles Po

Release Date: 02/13/2001 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 67469   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Gustav HolstArnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roger Wagner Chorale WomenLos Angeles Philharmonic OrchestraLeopold Stokowski Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Stoki's Planets doesn't monkey around with Holst's orchestration as much as might be expected: a tam-tam crescendo at the end of "Mars", some fiddling in the winds toward the end of "Jupiter", and some nice dynamic adjustments in the low brass in "Saturn" about do it. What's more amazing are the incredibly fast speeds throughout, and an instrumental balance that, curiously for Stokowski, favors winds over strings. It all works, though, and there are moments that are simply unforgettable: the effortlessly grand treatment of the "Jupiter" Big Tune, for example, and the best women's chorus (singing "aw" rather than "ah") in "Neptune" that you'll ever hear. It's simply Read more amazing, the amount of detail that Stokowski captures at high speed, and the recorded sound remains remarkably fine for its age.

Still, the real treat here is Verklärte Nacht, appearing on CD for the first time. While substantially identical interpretively to Stokowski's live Library of Congress performance on Bridge, the stereo sound certainly helps to unclog the textures and clarify the musical argument. And what a performance! Conceived in one huge, breathlessly urgent arch from the anguished opening to the magical closing pages, this performance times out at a mere 28:25, almost exactly the same as the classic Hollywood Quartet performance of the original sextet version made under the composer's supervision, and far faster than most modern renditions (which routinely exceed the half-hour mark).

For all his delight in retouching and adjusting the printed text, there are countless examples of Stokowski's unswerving fidelity to both the letter and the spirit of the score, almost invariably in difficult, complex, or unappreciated music (Ives' Fourth Symphony and Frank Martin's Petite Symphonie Concertante offer additional examples). Modern music had no better friend, and along with Karajan's smoother, emotionally cooler version, this is the only Transfigured Night you'll ever need.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

The Planets, Op. 32/H 125 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roger Wagner Chorale Women,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 
Date of Recording: 09/1956 
Venue:  Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood, CA 
Length: 46 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Verklärte Nacht for String Orchestra, Op. 4 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899/1943; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1957 
Venue:  Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood, CA 
Length: 28 Minutes 25 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title