Monday, April 15, 2013

Stokowski and Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams and Leopold Stokowski, 1957
Thursday will mark the 131st anniversary of the birth of Leopold Stokowski, and so I present his only commercial recording of a Vaughan Williams symphony - his Sixth - which also happens to be the only non-British première recording of a Vaughan Williams symphony.  No doubt this latter circumstance was quite by accident, for a competing version, Boult's on HMV (which can be heard at the CHARM website), was made a mere two days later!  Stokowski's version is very exciting, and may be the fastest on record of this great symphony.  (For an appreciation of Stokowski's performances of Vaughan Williams, see this article by Edward Johnson at Larry Huffman's amazing site, - from which the above picture has been borrowed.)  As a bonus, a ravishing but slightly abridged version of the Fantasia on "Greensleeves," issued only on 78 at the time, is included:

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 6 in E Minor and Fantasia on "Greensleeves"
New York Philharmonic conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded February 21, 1949
Columbia Masterworks set MM-838, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 82.47 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 43.08 MB)

Another important conductor anniversary on the horizon is that of Albert Coates, who was born five days after Stokowski.  In 2009 I first offered his recording of a Bach organ toccata, orchestrated by Heinrich Esser.  A few weeks ago I decided to use a different stylus to make a new transfer, the original one being afflicted by a swish towards the end.  I think this one sounds a little better:

Bach: Toccata in F, BWV 540 (orch. Esser)
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Albert Coates
Recorded February 18, 1932
Victor 11468, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC file, 24.70 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 9.35 MB)

The links at the original post have also been updated.

1 comment:

  1. Listening to the Coates Bach Toccata right now - great transfer, Bryan!! Thank you for this fine recording.