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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 122
  Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Francesca da Rimini - Stokowski
  Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings Op. 48, Francesca da Rimini Op. 32

London Symphony Orchestra
Leopold Stokowski (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 3
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Site review by Polly Nomial April 2, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:    
If we could collect the electricity that flows from Stowkowski and the LSO in this pair of recordings, there would be no energy crisis! This is simply extraordainary playing which is matched to a very well balanced recording which has been bought back to life by Pentatone - thank you!

Firstly, we are treated to a most incredible Francesca da Rimini (something of a Stokowski speciality) in which the notes fairly leap off the page and out of one's speakers! If you don't know this superb work, you could not hope for a better introduction than how it is presented here. The outer sections are absolutely incredible in their energy and passion; they are beautifully offset by the sensitive playing of the central section (not that sensitivity is lacking in the outer sections nor energy or passion from the central section). Stokowski and the LSO combine to produce what must be one the finest accounts on disc that either has given. The ending is transformed here into one of music's most exciting moments which has gripping the edge of your seat until the last remnants of the dying gong sound has ended.

Following this, there is a loving but fortunately for the listener a more relaxed account of the Serenade for Strings. This is a joy to the ear and throughout the LSO strings are rich, delicate and almost translucent by turns. Stokowski encourages a romantic view of the score but the phrasing that he encourages are all to the service of the musical mood.

Philips Classics 4.0 recording was wonderful and has been extremely well transfered by Pentatone with a beautiful amount of ambience from the rears. At no time can one realise that the recording is over 25 years old! If all discs were of this quality, there would be no need for reviewers...

I cannot recommend this recording strongly enough - I sincerely hope there are more RQR releases like this to follow.

Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and

Review by thepilot June 21, 2006 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is the Francesca da Rimini of my dreams, and although I have other performances of the work with Stokowski (with lesser orchestras) this is the one to go for. The reading is trully unbelievable, the orchestra soars and the strings blossom magnificently. The serenade is as good as Francesca, again with strings to die for. The recording shows that the original taping was quite good and the only thing missing is the last ounce of extra transparency and detail that Pentatone's original DSD recordings have. 4,5 stars for the sound, but at least 10 or more stars for the performance!

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Review by Edvin April 21, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
It´s a small miracle that a person who is 92 years old can produce music of this calibre. There is no doubt whatsoever that Stokowki was a man full of vitality during these session because this music doesn´t play itself.

It is always a pleasant experiece to listen to how LSO sounded in the seventies since they were a bit more transatlantic sounding than the other London orchestras. But also, the orchestra in those days consisted of individual musicians of great character and personality and it is lovely to hear them again.

Francesca da Rimini is a play about passion, and passion we got here a plenty. Stokowski whips up a turmoil from bar one, the first notes sound like a cry of anguish. What follows is a high octane affair, a torrent of longing and dreams and suffering. The phrasing is exquisite and this is one of the most exciting performances ever.

The Serenade for strings is another thing, more wistful than dramatic. It´s very interesting to compare this full blooded, romantic version with Gatti´s new and leaner interpretation. Both are masterful and, of course, equally valid.

The recorded sound is very good with a wide dynamic range and a good front to back perspective. It sounds like in the old analogue days when you could actually tell where records were recorded, where you recognized the hall ambience.

But PentaTone, you could have found someone present at these sessions to write something interesting in the booklet.

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Works: 2  

Peter Tchaikovsky - Francesca da Rimini, TH 46 Op. 32
Peter Tchaikovsky - Serenade for String Orchestra in C major, TH 48 Op. 48