BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 Pastorale. Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92. WAGNER: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde. Good Friday Spell / Symphonic Synthesis of Act III of Parsifal
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 591 (2 disks) TT: 73:10 / 79:27
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STRAVINSKY: The Firebird Suite. Petrusha (arr. Stokowski): TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36. Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Russian Easter Overture, Op. 36. Capriccio espagnole, Op. 34.
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 596 (2 disks) TT 79:00 / 73:06:
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WILLEM MENGELBERG - Columbia Reordings with Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra
BACH: Suite No. 2 in B minor. J. C. BACH: Sinfonia in B flat, Op. 18 No. 2 "Lucio SillaOverture."CHERUBINI: Anacreon Overture. BEETHOVEN: Allegretto from Symphony No. 8. Turkish March from The Ruins of Athens. Coriolan Overture, Op. 62. Leonore Overture No. 1, Op. 138. Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b. Egmont Overture, Op. 84. WEBER: Der Freischütz øverture. Euryanthe Overture. Oberon Overture. MENDELSSOHN: Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream. BERLIOZ: Dance of the Sylphs and Hungarian March from The Damnation of Faust. LISZT: Les preludes. Early editions and alternate takes of Beethoven Coriolan and Egmont overtures andd the Mendelssohn Scherzo.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 595 (2 disks) TT: 74:55 / 78:29
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Here are many treasures for the Stokowski collector, all live pervformances from broadcasts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Beethoven's Smphony No. 5 was a broadcaxt Decembe 26, 1943, Symphony No. 6, March 24, 1942, Symphony No. 7, November 22, 1942, the Wagner Tristan November 22, 1942, the Parsifal excerpts March 31, 1942. Stokowski recorded all of these works commercially, some multiple times, but it is a plus to have these vital live performances available in remastering that belies their age. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 is from a concert November 25, 1941, Symphony No. 5, November 29, 1942. Stravinsky's Firdnitf dates from April 7, 1942, Petrushka from Februaryt 20, 1944. Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture was recorded March 31, 1942, Capriccio espagnole Feb ruary 20, 1944. These are volitile perfortmances of the Tchaikovsky symphonies, almost as if Stokowski was on steroids. In the Russian Easter Overture Stokowski has the important trombone solo of a Russian Orthodox priest chant during an Easter service sung by bass-baritone Nicola Moscona, but it sounds as if he is off-stage and his voie is not clear. Its interesting that when Stokowski made his RCA recording of this overture in 1953 he also used Moscona, this time very much on-mike. The two Stravinskhy works are equally dynamic, no loitering here, for sure. Stokowski's brief recorded introductions for Frebird and the,two Rimsky-Korsakov pieces are included. These performances show the magnificent conuctor in his prime, exciting music-making indeed. Incidentally, when RCA issued Stokowski's NBC recording of the Pastoral, there was a separate band on side 2 of the seond movement that added nature sounds including rippling water to augment Beethoven's idyllic By the Brook movement.

Of great interest for collectors is this set of many of Willem Mengelberg's Columbia recordings with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra which he conducted for a half-century beginning in 1895. Engineers of the time captured realistic, well-balanced sound. Now we hear these remarkable performances via new transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, and they sound better than ever. Pristine already has issued all of Mengelberg's Columbia Tchaikovsky recordings (Symphonies 4 and 5, Romeo and Juliet, Waltz from Serenade for Strings) (REVIEW). I understand there will be another release of the remainder of the famed Dutch conductor's Amsterdam recordings. Fascinating release! We point out that Pristine has a large catalog of Mengelberg performances including live performances of all of the Beethoven symphonies and the remarkable 1939 performance of Maher's Symphony No. 4. Serious collectors surely should investigate these important historic performances.

R.E.B. (May 2020)