WAGNER: Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin. BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. RAVEL: Alborada del gracioso. STRAVINSKY: Suite from Petrushka. CLARKE: Trumpet Prelude. GOULD: Guracha. RACHMANINOFF-STOKOWSKI: Prelude in C sharp minor. HAYDN: Finale from Symphony No. 45 in F sharp minor "Farewell."
Philadelphia Orch/Leopold Stokowski, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 379 TT: 79:20
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HANDEL-GÖHLER: Suite from Alcina. BACH-MAHLER: Air from Suite No. 3 in D. J. C. BACH-STEIN: Sinfonia in B flat, Op. 18 No. 2. MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute. BEETHOVEN: Egmont Overture. MENDELSSOHN: War Mach of the Priests from Athalie. MEYERBEER: Coronation March from Le Prophète. WAGNER: Forest Murmurs from Siegfried. HUMPERDINCK: Overture to Hansel and Gretel. SAINT-SAËNS: Omphale's Spinning Wheel, Op. 31.
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/Willem Mengelberg, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 378 TT: 72:54
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BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a. Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90. Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.
Philharmonia Orch/Arturo Toscanini, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 377 (2 disks) TT: 1 hr. 40:39
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SOLER: Six Concertos for Two Organs. BACH: Eight Little Preludes and Fugues
E. Power Biggs, Daniel Pinkham,organists
PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM 050 TT: 77:40

Here is another welcome concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski; this site recently mentioned a concert recorded March 16, 1962 (REVIEW). Now, thanks again to the efforts of Edward Johnson, we have another concert remastered from the Maestro's private recordings, a concert December 17, 1962, a gala benefit occasion. The famed orchestra was in top form and played brilliantly, opening with a dazzling performance of the Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, followed by a powerful performance of the Beethoven Fifth—truly outstanding. Ravel's Alborada del gracioso is given a virtuoso reading (with some added percussion at the end), followed by a 16 minute suite from Petrushka. Then we have a group of what Sir Thomas Beecham used to call "lollipop," music by Clarke, Gould, and Rachmaninoff, the latter Stokowski's gong-laden transcription of the famous Prelude in C# minor, and the concert ends with the finale of Haydn's Farewell symphony, with the players leaving the stage as the music progresses. Highly entertaining, and the audience obviously loved it. The concert also included Sensemaya by Revueltas, a favorite of Stokowski's (he recorded it in 1947 with a pickup orchestra for RCA). As it wouldn't fit onto this new disk; Pristine has made it available for free download from their site. The XR remastering, which has added a touch of hall sound, is very effective in helping reveal the sound from original stereo tapes. Great release!

During his tenure with the New York Philharmonic (1922-1928), Willem Mengelberg made some magnificent recordings, particularly Ein Heldenleben recorded in 1926 (available in a superb transfer on Pristine). When Arturo Toscanini began to share the music director position with Mengelberg, their styles clashed totally, the orchestra took sides, and it all ended with Mengelberg leaving New York. . The Dutch conductor recorded many shorter works for Victor, and this fine new disk contains some of the best, as listed above. Of particular interest is the Wagner, a magic performance for sure. The Mozart, Beethoven and Humperdinck were recorded in 1930 in New York's Liederkranz Hall, a smaller venue, with a reduced orchestra—perhaps Victor was trying to save $$$$? Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers are outstanding—this is a superb example of the distinctive music style of Mengelberg. How sad that some recording plans were aborted—there was to have been a Das Lied von der Erde! Well, that's the way it is. Like the time Rachnmaninoff's suggested to Victor that they record Rachmaninboff's two-piano music with the composer and Vladimir Horowitz and was told it wouldn't sell!!

Last month this site mentioned the first issue in Pristine's remastered Toscanini/Philharmonia Orchestra Brahms concerts in Royal Festival Hall in 1952 (REVIEW). Now we have the second volume that contains the other major Brahms works featured during these concerts. Again we have electrifying performances sounding better than ever because of the XR remastering. Thanks, Pristine Audio!

We're just now getting around to mentioning another delightful Pristine issue, a well-filled (77:40) disk of Soler and Bach featuring organist E. Power Biggs. Of greatest interest are six concertos for two organs by Soler in which Biggs is joined by Daniel Pinkham performing organs in Busch-Reisinger Museum in Harvard University, March 30, 1959. Biggs' instrument is on the left, Pinkham's on the right, with stereo separation that will delight audiophiles. The Bach recordings have entirely different circumstances. Each of the preludes and fugues was recorded on a different instrument in France, Germany, Holland, and Austria. They are part of a series made by Biggs with portable equipment from the U.S. It seems odd that Columbia allowed this—they seemed not to realize the many technical problems that could develop, in particular variable power currents which often resulted in hum and pitch problems. Pristine has been able to solve these problems, and the result is an admirable series of Bach recordings.However, the Soler concertos are the prize of this CD.

R.E.B. (March 2013)