MAHLER: Symphony No. 8 n E Flat "Symphony of a Thousand."
Joyce Baker, Agnes Gieel and Berryll Hatt, sopranos; Kerstin Meyer and Helen Watts, contraltos; Kenneth Neate, tenor; Alfred Orda, baritone; Arnold van Mill, bass; BBC chorus/BBC Choral Society/Goldsmith's Choral Union/Hampstead Chorl Society/Emmanuel School Boy's Choir; Orpington Junior Singers/ London Symphony Orch/Jascha Horenstein, cond.
WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman Overture. Bacchanale from Tannhäuser. Siegfried Idyll.
Royal Philharmonic Orch/Jascha Horenstein, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO OASC 449 (2 disks) TT: 2 hrs. 1:13

WGNER: Tannhäusser Overture. Prelude to Act I Tristan and Isolde (beginning). (conclusion). PURCELL-STOKOWSKI: When I am Laid in Earth from Dido and Aeneas. TCHAIKOVSKY: Movement 2 from Symphony No. 5 n E minor. Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy from The Nutcvracker. PROKOFIEV: Excerpts from The Love for Three Oranges.
Symphony Orchestra/New York City Symphony Orchesra/NBC Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski, cond. PRISTINE AUDIO [ASC 442 TT: 65:02

DEBUSSY: Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun. SHUBERT: Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished" WAGNER: Rienzi Overture. Ride of the Valkyries and Wotan's Farewell from Die Walküre. Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin. TCHAIKOVSKY: March from Symphony No. 6. Second movement from Sympohony No. 5. Dance of the Flutes from The Nutcracker. Song Witout Words, Op. 40 No. 6 (arr. Stokowski)
Philadelphia Orch/Leopold Stokowski, cond.

DEBUSSY: Prelude toThe Afternoon of a Faun. DEBUSSY: Nuages and Fètes from Nocturnes. DEBUSSY-RAVEL: Danse. Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2. La valse. HONEGGER: Concertino for Piano and Orchestra. BERLIOZ: Hungarian March.
Oscar Levant, piano/ various orch / Reiner

The first time I heard Jascha Horenstein's live 1959 performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 was on a set of transcriptions sent to public radio stations by the BBC. I was amazed by it then, and still am. This site mentioned the first commercial release of this performance in 1999 on IMG BBC CDs. In that review I went into considerable detail about circumstances of how the performance came to be (REVIEW). Since that time, the performance has been issued as part of a set called BBC LEGENDS at super-low[e budget price (REVIEW). Now we have this truly legendary performance in finest possible audio. It always was a superb recording, apparently the first BBC stereo recording, with seemingly perfect balance and extended dynamic range—the Royal Albert Hall organ sounds impressive indeed. . Pristine's remastering has enhanced the sound, and even if you own a previous issue, this is essential. My only disappointment is that at the end of the symphony Pristine has included only 42 seconds of the huge ovation. The original BBC transcriptions included about 12 minutes of this and, in its own way, it was exciting to hear. There was plenty of room to have included it all, an opportunity missed. The first disk begins with Wagner played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: The Flying Dutchman Overture, Bacchanake from Tannhäuser, and Siegfried Idyll, all recorded in Walthemstow Hall in England September 29-30, 1962 for Reader's Digest, produced by the Charles Gerhardt/Kenneth Wilkinson team. Andrew Rose's remastering has corrected pitch problems and seems as welt to have added a bit of brightness to the sound.. This is an essential part of any Mahler collection.

Here are two more essential CDs for the legion of Leopold Stokowski admirers. The first is particularly important as it contains recordings never before issued. You probably never will hear another reading of the Tristan excerpts than what is heard here—the ultimate in passionate performance. Both of these are abridged as is the Andante from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 (he already had recorded the complete symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra for RCA in 1934). By visiting the Pristine WEBSITE you can read producer Mark Obert-Torn's comprehensive comments about each recording including details of performers. The other CD is of equal importance—first issues of Stokowski's acoustic recordings of many works he would re-record as the recording process improved. Thus we have his first recording of the Debussy Prelude, a work he would record five more times—but this one has a particular magic, and one would not believe such sensuous sounds could have been captured in the primitive acoustic process. Typical of the Maestro, many small cuts are made, some doubtless to accommodate limited playing of the acoustic disk (the March from Tchaikovsk's Symphony No. 6 is but 4:02). Producer Obert-Thorn's fascinating detailed comments about the performances and recordings can be read on Pristine's WEBSITE. Highly recommended!! And a reminder for Stokowski fans: don't miss the superb Music&Arts 2-disk set of early recodings (REVIEW).

Pristine already has issued a number of memorable remastered recordings by Fritz Reiner with various orchestras including highlights from Die Fledermaus, Bach orchestral works, and a reissue of the conductor's famous 1954 Chicago Symphony recording of Also sprach Zarathustra (REVIEW). They also have issued 2 CDs of "Reiner Rarities" featuring live ad commercial recordings mostly appearing on CD for the first time. The second disk includes the rare stereo version of Rolf Liebermann's Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra recorded in 1954as well as Marian Anderson's recording of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 294. Volume III contains equal treasures, all French repertory. Of particular importance is Honegger's brief Concertino of which Reiner gave the American premiere with Oscar Levant as soloist, an unjustly neglected 11-minute charmer that has received few recordings. MOT's comments on these recordings are available on Pristine's WEBSITE. If you have collected the conductor's famous Chicago recordings, you surely will wish to investigate all three of these new releases.

R.E.B.(June 2015)