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Matrix 24 - Toch, Hindemith, Martin: Symphonies / Steinberg

Release Date: 10/31/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 65868   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ernst TochPaul HindemithFrank Martin
Conductor:  William SteinbergLeopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony OrchestraLeopold Stokowski Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Stokowski was such a fascinating character. In repertory pieces, he could be perverse to the point of insanity, but give him a contemporary work and he could play it with an attention to detail and care for the text that was second to none. So it goes with this sensational performance of Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante, for double string orchestra, harp, harpsichord, and piano. As the scoring suggests, the piece has always proven difficult to balance, even on recordings where the conditions exist to remediate any ensemble problems. This is by far the work’s finest recorded performance. Using a pick up string ensemble, Stokowski delivers a stunning rendition from start to finish, one in
Read more which every note is crystal clear without ever sounding unnaturally over-miked. Even the most thickly scored passages in the second movement march remain crisp and clean (sound clip), and the 1958 stereo sonics are truly remarkable.

The two other works, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler and Toch’s Third Symphony, featuring William Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony, are also well done but far less well recorded, being overly bright and screechy. The recording and performance ratings accordingly only reflect the Martin. Steinberg “owned” Mathis; his Boston recording on DG remains the reference version of the work. Both of these performances are available in EMI’s Steinberg “Icon” series box, as is the Martin for that matter (in the Stokowski box). I am reviewing this earlier, Matrix issue merely to draw attention to the reference status of Stokowski’s Petite Symphonie Concertante. It is, after all, a masterpiece, and one of those works that serious collectors struggle to acquire in a fully satisfying performance. Well, this one is it, however you find it.

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

Symphony no 3, Op. 75 by Ernst Toch
Conductor:  William Steinberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1956 
Venue:  Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Length: 27 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Symphony "Mathis der Maler" by Paul Hindemith
Conductor:  William Steinberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 10/1956 
Venue:  Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Length: 26 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Petite Symphonie Concertante by Frank Martin
Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 12/1957 
Venue:  Riverside Plaza Hotel, New York City 
Length: 21 Minutes 49 Secs. 

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