Thursday, January 19, 2017

Boris Godunov - Symphonic Synthesis (Stokowski, 1941)

Cover design by Alex Steinweiss
This is something that I should really have saved for Stokowski's birthday in April, but I simply couldn't resist posting it on this eve of Inauguration Day. A posting containing Stokowski's theatrical "symphonic synthesis" of the best-known, and greatest, musical work about a political figure (and not only that, but a political figure whose legitimacy to rule was widely questioned), seemed only too apropos. And this is the closest you will find me coming to making political commentary on this blog, for, as Charles Schulz said, when asked why he wouldn't make his "Peanuts" comic strip a vehicle for politics, "why would I want to offend fifty percent of my readers right off the bat?" With that in mind, I hope you will enjoy the music:

Mussorgsky-Stokowski: Boris Godunov - A Symphonic Synthesis
The All-American Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Recorded July 4-5, 1941
Columbia Masterworks set MM-516, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 59.42 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 41.38 MB)

Speaking of Columbia, I have recently completed compiling a numerical listing of their records in American Columbia's celebrity "-M" suffixed series (1925-1954), which I am making available as a PDF file here:

Link (448.08 KB)

Also, I am making available a copy of the Music Lovers' Guide from March, 1934. This magazine, edited by Axel B. Johnson, is the successor publication to the Phonograph Monthly Review, and eventually morphed into the American Music Lover and then the American Record Guide, which still flourishes. Until that happy day when a complete run of the Music Lovers' Guide is available online, this single copy will give you an idea of what the magazine was like:

Link (28.16 MB)


  1. Alternate links:



    PDF of Columbia list:

  2. And from me! Best wishes, Nick

  3. thanks for this. and politically speaking, you're spot on.

  4. thank you again. i find your commentary & the artifacts you offer here always informative & enjoyable. that name "les brown and his band of renown" has set off numerous bells but only vague memories. can't wait to hear it. did any of these bands ever appear on ed sullivan's show? -cheers, a.v.

  5. Thanks a million Bryan for that special recording.
    I could not refrain listening to it several times in a row......
    Stoky's arrangement and re-orchestration are particularly convincing and the mono sound is great.

  6. Hi Bryan -

    Thank you for doing this set. Those Columbia sides that Stoky and the AAYO made are significant recordings, but I know how difficult those transfers can be!! Great work here. And kudos for a well crafted comment regarding the opera and this past weekend's activities here in the states.

  7. Of course, as noted before (but now go for some reason), you can view the Music Lovers' Guide from March, 1934 online at -