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Recent releases of broadcast performances by the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski on the Guild Historical have proved enormously successful and have received glowing praise from the critics worldwide. In this remarkable double-album we bring together two of Stokowski's momentous performances - one live, one studio - of the music of Arnold Schoenberg. It is a little-known fact that Stokowski was the only conductor to perform all of Schoenberg's orchestral music during the composer's lifetime, and he conducted the world premieres of two of the composer's greatest works - the Violin Concerto and the Piano Concerto. In 1961, he led a truly overwhelming account of Schoenberg's great 'Gurrelieder', of which Stokowski had given the US premiere in 1932; nine years before, he made this fabled recording of 'Verklaerte Nacht' with a hand-picked orchestra. The result is an issue of the highest importance, and the booklet notes are by Stokowski himself.
“McCracken enters strongly into the role...he always sings very expressively, with excellent enunciation, and he has the necessary power and even harshness for his contributions...[Rankin] is a magnificent Wood Dove, plangent and authoritative, with sombre vocal colouring. In smaller role Forbes Robinson, then in his prime, gives a dramatic vignette as the Peasant; John Lanigan is a memorably bitter Klaus-Narr.”
“It is a pleasure to hear Gré Brouwenstijn in such thrilling, confident voice as Tove. The chorus is magnificent but often occluded in a mush of sound. Insofar as we can hear it, it is clear that Stokowski brings this mighty, majestic work to a rousing close.”
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