Friday, February 6, 2015

Brahms: Tragic Overture (Frederick Stock)

Frederick Stock
In his 37 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Frederick Stock (1872-1942) molded the organization into one of America's top orchestras. Originally hired by the orchestra's founder, Theodore Thomas, as a violist, Stock ended up succeeding Thomas as chief conductor after the older man's death in 1905. In 1916, Stock's Chicago Symphony became the first major American orchestra to make recordings, preceding Stokowski's Philadelphia Orchestra and Karl Muck's Boston Symphony by over a year. Stock's recorded legacy is sizable - some 200 issued 78-rpm sides - but not as extensive as someone of his stature would warrant. It fell into four distinct periods: a handful of acoustics for Columbia in 1916-17; a group of early electric Victors in 1925-30; another batch for Columbia in 1939-41 (which included concerto recordings with Nathan Milstein and Gregor Piatigorsky), and a final group for Victor in 1941-42 (including two Beethoven concertos with Artur Schnabel). From his last Columbia session in 1941 (the same session that also produced this recording of Toch's Pinocchio Overture) came this crackling, dynamic account of Brahms' Tragic Overture:

Brahms: Tragic Overture, Op. 81 and
Brahms: Minuet (from Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frederick Stock
Recorded April 26, 1941
Columbia Masterworks set MX-214, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 42.50 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 27.72 MB)


  1. Thank you sir for all the great albums you share with us.


  2. Thank you Bryan, always a pleasure to read your posts.