For some weird reason, these performances never made it into EMI’s Stokowski box, which is all the more unfortunate because they are outstanding as only Stokowski at the top of his form can be. He was about 163 when he made these recordings, and they number among his last, but you’d never know it. The Tallis Fantasia is, as you might expect, incredibly rich-textured and sumptuous, but also purposeful. So is the Dvorák—one of Stoki’s secrets was that although he often achieved astonishingly vivid timbres, particularly from the strings, he seldom did it at the expense of energy and momentum. The result could be almost exhaustingly intense, and indeed, some listeners may find the shamelessly espressivo sound of the string ensemble tooRead more much of a good thing. But make no mistake, these performances are as fine as any out there, and of their type, unbeatable. This is true “authenticity”. Let’s not forget that Stokowski was 22 when Dvorák died in 1904. There has never been anything like these performances since, and we are the poorer for it. Thank God for recordings.
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