Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Beethoven Symphony No 5 Schubert Symphony No 8 / Leopold Stokowski London Philharmonic Orchestra|
Actors: Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Monteux
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Superb readings from legendary maestro Leopold Stokowski.
L. Chisholm | Denton, TX United States | 09/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this over the summer. I was not disappointed.1) DVDThe quality is terrific. The sound is in stereo and is in color, which is striking because you mostly get black&white footage from the 'golden age' conductors and in mono sound. The picture is outstanding for the time it was taped. You can select individual movements or watch the whole program from start to finish. EMI did a great job on this DVD. 2) MUSICWhat we have here is documentation of a great artist at the twilight of his career. It is the accumilation of a life's experiances we are witness too.Beethoven- Sym. No. 5: The first thing you notice is that the celli and bass are on a high riser behind everyone else (above them to be more precise). Stokowski, as usual, uses no baton and his nose is in the score. But don't be fooled: He is in charge and the players follow his EVERY gesture! The overall temi is rather laid back, and the second movement is slow for my taste. The finale is rousing. I would say that this is the least convincing of all of the music presented because of Stokowski's idiosyncratic approach to musical sound. Sometimes he would re-orchistrate is order to get the famous 'Stokowski sound' (Gustav Mahler did this as well, and it would end up sounding more like Mahler than Beethoven). This does not sound like Beethoven. But it does not to negate from this being a fine performance. It is a terrific reading.Schubert- Sym. No. 8: This fairs better than the Beethoven. The orchestra comes alive and captures the dark and mysterious mood. The bass and horns are especially effective. The second movement is outstanding.Wagner- "Die Meistersinger", Ov.: I own this entire concert on an old LP as it is part of a celebration honoring Stokowski's first performance with London. According to the DVD notes, he did not have much time to rehearse this overture because of all of the other music that needed more attention. You would never have known this when you see the performance. It is spellbinding! Debussy- "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun": What can I say...it is the most beautiful performance I have ever heard. Even with the minor re-orchestraitions Stokowski engages in, which I am generally opposed to, it does not detract from the beauty of this performance. A true wonder!Note: It is pity that these are the only two selections that we get from this wonderful concert. The rest of the evening they played the Glazinov Violin Concerto, Brahms Symphony No. 1, and ending with the Tchikovsky "March Slave" as an encore. It is not explained in the notes why they do not have any more video, but I suspect they either did not broadcast the entire concert or the tapes were destroyed. It is a shame. (And it is even more of a shame that they have not released this concert on CD!)Dukas- "Sorcerer's Apprentice": This bonus is from Pierre Monteux and London Symphony. It is in black&white and mono. It is quit probably the best version of this composition I have heard. The orchestra is in top notch form and Monteux's reading is Olympian. You will notice when you watch this that Monteux is very different from Stokowski in that he uses little body movement and usually conducts from his arms and eyes. It is very effective. Today, most conductors engage in the 'flamboyant' style (think Bernstein or Simon Rattle). While it can create excitement, it can also be a great distraction from the music and what the composer is saying. With Monteux, you see that he is not seeking his own glory, but that of the composer."
Stokowski A Titan among 20th Century Musicians
dayao | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD allows one to see, as well as hear, why Leopold Stokowski is considered a titan among 20th Century musicians and perhaps the greatest conductor of all time. No one before or since can get an orchestra to play with the commitment and virtuosity achieved by Stokowski, even with less than great ensembles. But here he is conducting two great London Orchestras and the performances are astounding, especially the Schubert Unfinished Symphony, which is played with a fresh youthfulness and majesty that is astonishing to hear. Highly recommended."