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Sibelius: Symphonies 1 & 2 / Stokowski, Nbc Symphony Orchestra

Release Date: 09/20/2005 
Label:  Cala Records   Catalog #: 541   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony OrchestraNBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Even when he doesn't monkey around with the orchestration excessively, as here, Stokowski manages to brand virtually every performance with his own timbral stamp. In the First Symphony much of the timpani part is missing (or subdued), and it should come as no surprise that Stoki turns the finale's Big Tune into a veritable harp concerto. Still, this is an incredibly exciting performance in its outer movements, even more energetic than the conductor's stereo remake for Sony; and no one plays the score's final page more powerfully or compellingly. As always with Stokowski, the (1950) sonics are good for their period, remarkably clear if necessarily limited in range.

The Second Symphony, dating from four years later, starts out
Read more with a mellow opening movement that would be dull were it not for that characteristic sheen to the strings and the amazing transparency of texture (basses and bassoons!) in the central development section. More significantly, the performance gains in momentum as it goes, culminating in a swiftly thrilling account of the finale with, again, extraordinary top-to-bottom detail as Sibelius builds up the instrumental layers leading into the concluding apotheosis.

The remastering leaves some side-joins plainly audible, but it's certainly not disturbing--and it's nothing compared to the dynamic adjustments and other expressive touches emanating from the podium. Fans of the conductor obviously will want this, and Sibelius collectors will find much to enjoy as well.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski & His Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Finland 
Date of Recording: 1950 
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Finland 
Date of Recording: 1954 

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