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Thread: Leopold Stokowski

  1. #61
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I read a biography of Stoki that said that he often complained about balances, wanting them to sound the way he heard it from the podium. He asked to have volume pots put on his podium so he could adjust it on the fly. One of the engineers played a joke and built a glass booth with a bunch of dummy dials and meters, hooked up to nothing. They wheeled the booth out as a surprise at a recording session. Stoki was delighted and hopped in and did a short rehearsal from inside the booth. As he conducted, he would occasionally adjust something and go back and have the orchestra repeat the passage with the new setting. After a half hour he called a coffee break and thanked everyone and marched off the stage. When he came back, he called out "Let's do a take." and walked right past the booth to his regular podium and never looked at the booth again.
    Great story but apocryphal I think. Stokowski was well known for having an expert's knowledge on sound matters, see above. Who won, the great one will be back with another 300 pages "momentarily" as the colonists say.

  2. #62
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Thanks! I was inspired by this thread to write a post for my blog about Stokowski. I'll include that playlist...

    Leopold Stokowski: Artist of the Past, Artist of the Future
    http://animationresources.org/?p=6754

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  4. #63
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Thanks! I was inspired by this thread to write a post for my blog about Stokowski. I'll include that playlist...

    Leopold Stokowski: Artist of the Past, Artist of the Future
    http://animationresources.org/?p=6754
    Good blog! The Tchaikovsky piece was ,I think,from the film "Carnegie Hall" a dreadful effort but including people like Jan Peerce, Pinza, Reiner and Heifetz.

  5. #64
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webernite View Post
    There's a long, avant-garde radio programme that Glenn Gould made about Stokowski. I've listened to it a couple of times on Youtube. It's funny, but quite good.
    Thanks! I was just reading Gould's recollection of this production in the Glenn Gould Reader. A fascinating compilation of interviews, essays, and musical analysis.

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  7. #65
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Our own John Adams has a great blog on Stokowski:



    http://earbox.com/posts/62


  8. #66
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    ... No subtlety, no nuance; the brass are hellish, the strings, appropriately schizophrenic.
    ... No subtlety, no nuance; the brassiness of tone is hellish and off-putting, the strings of 'thought', appropriately schizophrenic.

    Well, I think it best to shun / ignore anything with all those qualities....
    Last edited by PetrB; Nov-26-2012 at 07:43.

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  10. #67
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    A little late to this party ... but better late than never

    As far as Stoky ... I like him enough to have invested in both of the Decca sets:





    Whether it's Stoky's transcriptions, his conducting/orchestrations, whatever ... I can listen to his recordings for LONG periods of time w/o the urge to something else. I think this has to do with what Wiki notes: "characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed".

    The OP noted a dislike for, for example, Scheherazade. I wonder if one reason may be the recording of Scheherazade itself? It was on Decca's "Phase 4 Stereo" sub-label. This style of engineering was a sort of gimmick -- it over-spotlighted instruments and sections, and (often) over- and hard-panned. If wonder if the Phase-4 technique made Stoky's already-sumptuous style sound a bit over the top?





    Refs:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mSselTZySM
    https://www.discogs.com/Leopold-Stok...elease/9063883
    Last edited by 13hm13; Aug-19-2017 at 21:58.

  11. #68
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    That LSO/Stoky recording is my definitive version of Scheherazade.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13hm13 View Post
    That video make me even more want this recently released set:

    https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/cl...cca-recordings
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Mar-23-2018 at 03:58.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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  14. #70
    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    That video make me even more want this recently released set:

    https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/cl...cca-recordings
    Christmas is just around the corner Fritz.....
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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  16. #71
    Senior Member Star's Avatar
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    Great conductor but absolute poseur. I mean, who else born in Bermnsey would speak with a foreign accent apart from Nigel Kennedy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star View Post
    Great conductor but absolute poseur. I mean, who else born in Bermnsey would speak with a foreign accent apart from Nigel Kennedy?
    Stokowski was actually born in St Johns Wood in north London in 1882.

    However, to disguise his Englishness not only did he affect a bogus accent, he furnished himself with bogus birth certificates from Krakow, Poland, dated 1887, and Pomerania, Germany, 1889. The latter he was reported to have destroyed in 1914 since it may have made him liable to be called up into the German army.

    (Source: Abram Chasins Leopold Stokowski - a profile London, Robert Hale 1981)
    Last edited by Harrowby Hall; Apr-14-2018 at 14:06.

  18. #73
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    Stokowski was quite a character for sure, and quite a womanizer as well, a characteristic not uncommon with podium giants...

    My Mom grew up in Philadelphia during the Stoki/Phila years, and she was a devoted fan of this combo...she was very interested in modern dance, and was taking lessons at the time....apparently the owner/teacher of the dance studio was the current "apple of Stoki's eye" - his current "main squeeze"....Mom said that all of the students would look on in wide-eyed fascination when Stoki would arrive in his limo, to pick up his girlfriend, to zoom off to wherever, whatever....

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  20. #74
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    One of the most memorable concerts of my childhood was given by Stokowski conducting his American Symphony Orchestra, and he was delighted to meet, shake hands and say hello with a big smile to each of the many children in the green room afterwards, including me. He wasn't giving autographs, but as he was in his late 80s at the time, that was understandable.

    He could produce the famous Stokowski sound in spades with that orchestra, made up of good but not necessarily all of the very best New York area freelancers. Before that, he directed and recorded with the Houston Symphony, and before that, he made a series of records for RCA from circa 1947 to 1961, and then for a short time for Capitol, with the "Stokowski Symphony Orchestra", arguably one of the best freelance orchestras ever assembled, made up of principal and other top players from the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony (until 1954 when that orchestra disbanded), with a few from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and some other top freelancers, most of whom had been or would later become members of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and/or other famous ensembles. Often these players would arrive at the recording studio not knowing what they were going to be playing.
    With all of those orchestras, and with the London Philharmonic in his final years recording for Philips, Stokowski was always able to produce his wonderful signature sound. They may not always be one's favorite versions, certainly not the only valid or successful versions, but so many of Stokowski's records are great achievements.

    Mention was made above of Glenn Gould's recounting of his famous interview of Stokowski, as reprinted in the Glenn Gould Reader. Gould relates the story of this interview as the final part of a wonderful essay entitled Stokowski in Six Scenes. For me, this is the highlight of that wonderful book. Fans of Toscanini, whom Gould dismisses as a lesser Felix Weingartner, and of Karajan, whom Stokowski himself deftly dismisses in a conversation delightfully related by Gould, may wince a bit, but otherwise I guarantee it is one of the best and most entertaining of all classical music essays.

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  22. #75
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    Stokowski was living in the apartment building next door to the Guggenheim museum in New York before he returned to England in the early Seventies.I believe he lived in the penthouse at 1067 Fifth Ave.That is where he was interviewed by Gould.It is right across the street from Central Park.

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