VILLA-LOBOS: Uiraperú. PROKOFIEV: Suite from Cinderella. The Ugly Duckling
(with Regina Resnik, sop.) DEBUSSY: Excerpts from Children's Corner Suite
Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York/Leopold Stokowski, cond.
Everest 9023 (M) (AAD) TT: 69:44
The magic of conductor Leopold Stokowski (1992-1977) is nowhere more vividly documented than on this superb remastering of 1958-9 recordings with the "Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York" (actually the New York Philharmonic, then under contract as such exclusively to CBS). Villa-Lobos' exotic symphonic poem Uirapurú, is an incredible array of rich, exotic orchestral sounds. This is the story of an enchanted bird that is transformed into a human being. Many folk tunes are used, and orchestration includes a number of strange percussion instruments (the côco, tamborim, tambur surdo and réco-réco). Stokowski omits the first section's repeat; hence his recording is a bit shorter than competing versions. Stokowski's fabled string sound adds much to the introspective moments of Prokofiev's Cinderella ballet, with a dazzling "Midnight Waltz." Of lesser interest is Prokofiev's rather lengthy song, The Ugly Duckling. Three excerpts from Debussy's Children's Corner Suite fill out the CD. All of these recordings were made on 35mm film and were state-of-the art when originally issued—they sound even more impressive today.
R.E.B. (Sept. 1999)