Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stokowski's All-American Youth Orchestra

Leopold Stokowski rehearsing with the
All-American Youth Orchestra, 1940
Leopold Stokowski's birthday is upon us again (he was born 134 years ago this Monday), and this year I've chosen some samples of his work with the All-American Youth Orchestra, essentially his own creation for the purposes of touring and recording. I will not go into the details, but instead direct you to this article at Larry Huffman's incredible site about the conductor, an article that contains a discography, orchestra roster, and several pictures (such as the one above). The orchestra existed for two years, in 1940 and 1941, and both years are represented here:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 and
Bach-Stokowski: "Little" Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578
The All-American Youth Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded November 14, 1940
Columbia Masterworks set MM-451, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 83.82 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 58.94 MB)

Liszt-Stokowski: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
The All-American Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded July 8, 1941
Columbia Masterworks 11646-D, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC file, 22.03 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 13.03 MB)

Mendelssohn: Scherzo (from "A Midsummer Night's Dream")
Bach-Stokowski: Preludio (from Partita in E Major, BWV 1006)
The All-American Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded July 11 and 20, 1941
Columbia Masterworks 11983-D, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC files, 21.38 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 13.07 MB)

The Beethoven set is a relatively recent acquisition for me; but for the two single discs I have revisited the reclaimed record pile. I'm particularly pleased to have reclaimed the Bach-Mendelssohn disc, for it was a gift from my first piano teacher, George A. Neely (1903-1990), with whom I began lessons at the age of 11. Mr. Neely was a kind man who traveled to our neighborhood once a week to give lessons to kids in their homes. When he learned of my interest in collecting classical 78s, he decided to give me his entire collection - accumulated 25-35 years previously and containing some 40 or 50 sets, among them all the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies! The Stokowski record I'm sharing here is all I have left of this largess. I took lessons from Mr. Neely until I was fourteen, at which point I wanted to learn to play Shostakovich and he declared he had nothing left to teach me, so another teacher was found. But I remember Mr. Neely with the greatest fondness, am grateful for his many gifts, and hope I give as much to my own students as he gave me.


  1. Alternate links:

    Beethoven FLAC:

    Beethoven MP3:

    Liszt FLAC:

    Liszt MP3:

    Bach-Mendelssohn FLAC:

    Bach-Mendelssohn MP3:

  2. I compared your transfer of the Bach Preludio with the one from the CALA transfer of many Stokowski-Bach recordings done with the AAYO. It is interesting how much reverb was added as well as the top end filtered by Cala.

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