Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 77

Thread: Leopold Stokowski

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    934
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Leopold Stokowski

    http://www.amazon.com/Original-Maste.../dp/B00067R3BQ

    I can honestly say that he's the WORST, THE ABSOLUTE WORST, Wagner conductor I've EVER heard (and I know pretty much all of them[ [on record, anyway]), and probably the most irresponsible and commercial conductor who has that many records. You thought Karajan was a showman? Listen to his guy. Everything is rigid, mechanical, and splashy. You think Karajan has a "smooth sound" You think Solti's "rough" and "brusque"? You think Boulez "suppresses the leitmotives"? This guys is guilty to the first degree on all three counts.

    No subtlety, no nuance; the brass are hellish, the strings, appropriately schizophrenic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Stokowski

    "obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted."

    Sumptuous? Try sclerotic.

    How is this guy famous? Uh. Why are his recordings still in print (I didn't buy them)?

    And no, I will not keep this sacred rage to myself. His conducting is an aberration, a throng of vulgarity, a stampede of disgrace.

    Before I had trouble coming up with a "worst conductor", since the ones I find third rate aren't so individualistic.

    Now, it's easy.

    Thank god he didn't get his hands on Mahler ... *shivers*...
    Last edited by brianwalker; Feb-24-2012 at 03:17.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,729
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    One thing for Stokowski, he did do a lot for new music in between the wars, when he was active in the USA. Here is a list of only a selection of his major premieres from the article on him on Wikipedia (some on the list below would be world premieres, others American premieres) -

    Edgard Varèse, Ameriques, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia, April 9, 1926
    Sergei Rachmaninoff,
    Fourth Piano Concerto, composer as soloist, Philadelphia Orchestra, 1927
    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, composer as soloist, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore, November 7, 1934
    Third Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, 1936
    Arnold Schoenberg,
    Violin Concerto, Louis Krasner as soloist, Philadelphia Orchestra, December 6, 1940
    Piano Concerto, Eduard Steuermann as soloist, NBC Symphony Orchestra, New York, February 16, 1944
    Nathaniel Shilkret, Concerto for Trombone, Tommy Dorsey as soloist, New York City Symphony Orchestra, February 15, 1945
    Alan Hovhaness, Symphony No. 2, Mysterious Mountain, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston, 1955
    Charles Ives, Fourth Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, New York, April 26, 1965
    Jean Sibelius, Fourth Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, April 23, 1932, Victor
    Dmitri Shostakovich, Sixth Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, August 1940, Victor
    Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sixth Symphony, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, February 21, 1949, Columbia

    I don't think Maestro Stokowski was a nincompoop if he could handle these complex scores. Which he did, the composers obviously trusted him with premiering their works.

    I wouldn't compare him to von Karajan who was largely a conductor stuck in the past, he didn't do much (or nothing) for new music.

    Like Stokowski's orchestral transcriptions of J.S. Bach or not, he did do a fair bit to popularize that composer's music at similar time, between the world wars & after too. His transcription of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is considered to be one of the best, much more idiomatic than Ravel's (who I'm not knocking, before someone goes on the usual false dichotomy rant).

    As for his Wagner, I really don't care to be honest, I'll take your word for it...
    Last edited by Sid James; Feb-24-2012 at 03:38.

  3. Likes moody, joen_cph, kv466 liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    934
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Do you like his recordings?

  5. #4
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    4,666
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    Do you like his recordings?
    I have seen some nonsensical rants on TC but this is easily the worst of all, everything you have said against him is the opposite of the facts. Have you just done this to cause an uproar or can you actually mean it ?What did you listen to him on, do you have decent equpment ?Rigid, mechanical,splashy, you apparently disagree with every writer on music that I know of. Orchestras PLAYED for Stokowski , the Philadelphia Orchestra under him was a phenomenon that will never be heard again. But he could get even the Hilversum Orchestra to play like one of the best ,not to mention youth orchestras. You must have spent a lot of time listening to have come to your questionable decisions, but then of course you haven't bought any of his recordings have you? I have heard criticism of Stokowski based on taste and interpretation but never re. orchestral standards. Fuddy duddys don't like his transcriptions of Bach, well Sir Henry Wood did his own as well and I think Bach is all the better for it and he would probably have loved it. Lastly, if you had been to his concerts you would have had an experience that seldom happens in the world of music. I have read posts that have made me laugh with dis belief, but yours is the first that has actually made me angry--I'm quite sure that your musical knowledge is extremely limited. I should think that I will be back with more, this was done on the spur of the moment when I read this stuff, maybe you didn't really mean it !!!

  6. Likes Sid James, fluteman liked this post
  7. #5
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    4,666
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    I have seen some nonsensical rants on TC but this is easily the worst of all, everything you have said against him is the opposite of the facts. Have you just done this to cause an uproar or can you actually mean it ?What did you listen to him on, do you have decent equpment ?Rigid, mechanical,splashy, you apparently disagree with every writer on music that I know of. Orchestras PLAYED for Stokowski , the Philadelphia Orchestra under him was a phenomenon that will never be heard again. But he could get even the Hilversum Orchestra to play like one of the best ,not to mention youth orchestras. You must have spent a lot of time listening to have come to your questionable decisions, but then of course you haven't bought any of his recordings have you? I have heard criticism of Stokowski based on taste and interpretation but never re. orchestral standards. Fuddy duddys don't like his transcriptions of Bach, well Sir Henry Wood did his own as well and I think Bach is all the better for it and he would probably have loved it. Lastly, if you had been to his concerts you would have had an experience that seldom happens in the world of music. I have read posts that have made me laugh with dis belief, but yours is the first that has actually made me angry--I'm quite sure that your musical knowledge is extremely limited. I should think that I will be back with more, this was done on the spur of the moment when I read this stuff, maybe you didn't really mean it !!!
    i said I would be back and here I am. You should check your facts before spouting, but that's probably farly unimportant to you.
    Stokowski conducted the US premiere of Mahler's 8th symphony in 1916, it was so successful that additional performances had to be laid on. He was then asked to take 1,200 performers to the Met to play it there . he gave the BBC Promenade Concerts premiere of the "Resurrection" symphony in 1963 and the Guardian's critic had this to say when it was put onto disc : "This recording confirms that the legends were true". Mind you I am sure that your opinion is of greater weight.

  8. Likes Sid James liked this post
  9. #6
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Cph, Denmark
    Posts
    5,573
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    There can be major differences between Stoky´s individual recordings of works, the "Poeme de l`Extase" being an obvious example - the early Houston (poor) versus the later Decca. I haven´t heard his Wagner & can´t tell if it is among his lesser succesful projects, but the negative views can´t be based on much knowledge of Stoky´s recorded legacy, any given polemical value nothwithstanding.

    EDIT: Stokowski recorded at least Mahler´s 2nd and 8th.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Feb-24-2012 at 16:23.

  10. Likes Sid James liked this post
  11. #7
    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hialeah, FL
    Posts
    2,582
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What are we talking about here? Wagner? Mahler? I've heard many a great recording of his where he conducted works from far bet--,...'different' composers. Perhaps he simply wasn't meant to conduct such rub--,..'works' and rather, others.

  12. #8
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    6,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    My only complaint with Stokowski's recordings is that occasionally his focus on some details has an adverse effect on the energy of the performance. Right now all I can drag out of memory as example is a performance of something with the LA Phil outdoors; really precise info, eh?
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

  13. Likes kv466, Webernite, Sid James liked this post
  14. #9
    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    590
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Stokowski had that rare gift of being able to spend one week rehearsing an unknown provincial orchestra and at the end of that week making them sound like the world's best orchestra.
    Rob

  15. Likes moody, Sid James, samurai and 1 others liked this post
  16. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,729
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    Do you like his recordings?
    Yes, those that I've heard, definitely yes. There is an energy and life force there. I had his recording of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique ages ago on tape, with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. It was pretty spectacular, imo.

    I've also got some of his orchestral transcriptions of J.S. Bach, I esp. like the Chaconne from Partita #2. It makes me just as emotional just as the original does. Of course, this is not "authentic," nor was it meant to be. It is what it is, a violin piece by Bach transcribed for a modern symphony orchestra. He had some critics with this kind of thing - eg. Glenn Gould - but even they would have begrudgingly given Stokowski credit where it was due, being one of those conductors in the early years to kind of put Bach on the map, more "authentic" interpretations could follow.

    & nobody has mentioned Stokowski's work on Disney's Fantasia, which would have surely introduced many young people to classical music in it's time, and exposed things to the wider public which they may have not heard...

  17. Likes GoneBaroque, samurai liked this post
  18. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    359
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    His recording of the Mahler 2nd on RCA from around 1970 was interesting, seems to be long Oop. I never tried any of his Wagner without words, but he gets kudos for a long list of premiers and first recordings and, of course, Fantasia.

  19. Likes Sid James liked this post
  20. #12
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    7,496
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    I wouldn't compare him to von Karajan who was largely a conductor stuck in the past, he didn't do much (or nothing) for new music.

    Even were that true... who cares? A good many of my favorite conductors have never conducted anything by a Modern or Contemporary composer. A great many of my favorite singers have never sang anything by a living composer. A great many of my favorite soloists have never played anything written within the last half-century. These individuals have elected to focus upon a repertoire that they love... often bringing new insights to the music... sometimes bringing the music alive for a contemporary audience for the first time since the artist died. rather than being "stuck in the past" (talk about dogmas or false dichotomies) I would suggest they bring the past alive for the present. At the same time, I have any number of other conductors, singers, soloists, etc... that I turn to for new music. I don't call them close-minded or limited because they are unable to (or have chosen not to) perform Baroque, or Renaissance, or Medieval music.
    Last edited by StlukesguildOhio; Feb-25-2012 at 03:37.

  21. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    934
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post

    & nobody has mentioned Stokowski's work on Disney's Fantasia, which would have surely introduced many young people to classical music in it's time, and exposed things to the wider public which they may have not heard...
    And many concertmasters promote classical music, people who write books popularizing classical music, people who give out free classical CDs, hold free concerts.

    I'm not sure how any of that makes him a better conductor. A great popularizer, yes, but not a better conductor.

    Likewise, I'm not sure why Karajan's antipathy to "new music" makes him a villain. I'm concerned with the conducting, and nothing personal. In fact, many people who promote new music have ulterior motives.

    Schoenberg, in his writings, converted Mahler’s faith in posterity into a religion of incomprehension and neglect. If a contemporary audience likes you, he said, you’re no good. At the same time, he himself delivered the verdict of posterity by painting Mahler, in a 1912 obituary, as a fragile, otherworldly saviour. That image, for all its obvious distortions, has prevailed in the public imagination. Schoenberg certainly owed Mahler something, because the great man had given him vital public support. At the premiere of the First String Quartet in 1907, Mahler had applauded ostentatiously and nearly got into a fistfight with an anti-Schoenbergian in the audience. Buried in La Grange’s account of this episode is a less attractive explanation for Mahler’s behaviour: appalled by the way Vienna had turned against him, he expressed his contempt for the establishment by applauding these outrageous new sounds. In private he admitted that he no longer understood what Schoenberg was doing. Was that generosity, or hypocrisy?

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v22/n16/alex-ro...iggest-rockets

    Bernstein's videos don't make his recordings of Beethoven any better.
    Last edited by brianwalker; Feb-25-2012 at 03:46.

  22. #14
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    4,666
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    And many concertmasters promote classical music, people who write books popularizing classical music, people who give out free classical CDs, hold free concerts.

    I'm not sure how any of that makes him a better conductor. A great popularizer, yes, but not a better conductor.

    Likewise, I'm not sure why Karajan's antipathy to "new music" makes him a villain. I'm concerned with the conducting, and nothing personal. In fact, many people who promote new music have ulterior motives.

    Schoenberg, in his writings, converted Mahler’s faith in posterity into a religion of incomprehension and neglect. If a contemporary audience likes you, he said, you’re no good. At the same time, he himself delivered the verdict of posterity by painting Mahler, in a 1912 obituary, as a fragile, otherworldly saviour. That image, for all its obvious distortions, has prevailed in the public imagination. Schoenberg certainly owed Mahler something, because the great man had given him vital public support. At the premiere of the First String Quartet in 1907, Mahler had applauded ostentatiously and nearly got into a fistfight with an anti-Schoenbergian in the audience. Buried in La Grange’s account of this episode is a less attractive explanation for Mahler’s behaviour: appalled by the way Vienna had turned against him, he expressed his contempt for the establishment by applauding these outrageous new sounds. In private he admitted that he no longer understood what Schoenberg was doing. Was that generosity, or hypocrisy?

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v22/n16/alex-ro...iggest-rockets

    Bernstein's videos don't make his recordings of Beethoven any better.
    So what, is this a change of tack? What about some comment on your errors and the thoughts so far on your thread?

  23. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,729
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    So what, is this a change of tack? What about some comment on your errors and the thoughts so far on your thread?
    Let's not grace this thread with our presence, moody. The guy has reverted to the usual: put Schoenberg down the toilet. A number of people have done this here when "cornered." I find it lazy thinking and basically behaviour that's not to my taste. I think I'll stick to current listening and my blog here, as well as Australian composers thread. This forum seems to being heading down the s-bend now, I'm basically fed up.

    Over and out...
    Last edited by Sid James; Feb-26-2012 at 01:31.

Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Pictures at an Exhibition: Ravel vs. Stokowski [vs. others]
    By Rondo in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 105
    Last Post: Jun-17-2020, 16:24
  2. Leopold Antonin Kozeluch (1747 - 1818)
    By opus67 in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Apr-13-2017, 05:09
  3. Silvius Leopold Weiss - Lute Sonatas
    By classicalmusicfan in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jan-28-2014, 14:26
  4. Kate & Leopold Waltz
    By titanicpiano14 in forum The Movie Corner: Music for Cinema and TV
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jul-05-2010, 23:20
  5. Leopold Mozart's "Allegro" (The Musical Sleigh-ride)
    By classicalmusicfan in forum Orchestral Music
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Jul-08-2009, 07:41

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •