1934 Recordings of
Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Stokowski Recordings of 1934
1934 was the most active recording year for Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra since the intensive recording program of 1927, shown by the impressive results. There were at least 33 works recorded in that year, of which 32 were released (the Heifetz - Stokowski Sibelius Violin Concerto not being released until 2000). The recording sessions were balanced about equally between the March to April 1934 Spring recording sessions, and the Autumn series of recording sessions in October to December of 1934. As described in the www.stokowski.org page 1931 Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings for economic reasons, Victor had moved all the recording sessions of this period back to Victor's Camden Church Studio, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
The Camden Church Studio
The 1934 Spring Recording Sessions
The recording sessions of Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Spring of 1934 took place during three intensive days: March 17, April 7, both Saturdays prior to the Saturday evening subscription concert and on Monday, April 30, 1934. Preparing for these recording sessions, the concerts of January to April 1934 were in part also made up of the works recorded in March and April, 1934. These included in the concerts of January 19, 20, 1934 Stokowski's "Synthesis" of Act 3 of Wagner's Parsifal and in the concert of March 22, 1934, the Brahms Hungarian Dance no 1. Stokowski and the Philadelphians also recorded the Russian Sailor's Dance from Reinhold Glière's ballet The Red Poppy, which they had performed in concert January 11, 1934. Stokowski performed Glière's Symphony Ilya Murometz in New York City on March 20, 1934, but did not record the Symphony until 1940 . Also, on April 27 and 28, 1934 Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra performed the Beethoven Symphony no 9, to be recorded in Camden the following Monday April 30, 1934.
Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra began their 1934 recording program on March 17, 1934. The works recorded on that Saturday morning included works by Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914), Maurice Ravel (1855-1914), Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).
1934 - Liadov - Eight Russian Folk Songs opus 58
Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra's first recording of 1934 was of the Eight Russian Songs, opus 58 composed in 1906 by Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914). The music is arranged by Stokowski, but surprisingly, does not make use of the full symphony orchestra for most of these eight short works. These pieces reinforce the view of critics of Liadov who say that he had a facility and invention in composing, but that he lacked application, and in fact, did not work particularly hard as a composer. Liadov did not in fact complete any large-scale works. Recall that Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra had recorded a Liadov work as one of his last acoustic recordings on December 8, 1924: the 'Dance of the Amazons', composed in about 1910 or 1911. Liadov's lack of application had the beneficial result that the ballet which Sergei Diaghilev commissioned in 1909 from Liadov for his Ballets Russes, never completed, was instead given to a young Igor Stravinsky, who produced the Firebird ballet.
The Eight Russian Songs, opus 58 as arranged by Stokowski were issued one 12 inch (30 cm) Victor Red Seal record 8491 and one 10 inch Red Seal record, 1681. In Europe, the recording was issued on or HMV disks DA 1415 and DB 2443. The matrices were CS 82121-1, CS 82122-1, BS 82123-1, and BS 82124-1.
The titles of each of the songs are given in the mp3 links below. These 1934 readings are fine recordings, and I have added slight acoustic reverberation to partially compensate for the dead acoustics of the recording location, the Victor Camden Church Studio number 2.
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 1 - 'Religious Chant'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 2 - 'Christmas Carol - Kolyada'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 3 - 'Plaintive Melody'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 4 - 'Humorous Song "I Danced With The Gnat"'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 5 - 'Legend of the Birds'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 6 - 'Cradle Song'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 7 - 'Round Dance'
Click here to listen to (download) the Russian Song 8 - 'Village Dance Song'
Maurice Ravel - 'Rapsodie espagnole' 1934 Recording
Maurice Ravel wrote the 'Rapsodie espagnole' originally for piano four hands in 1907, and orchestrated it in 1908. It consists of four sections: Prelude à la nuit, Malagueña, Habanera, and Feria.
This was Ravel's first major work for orchestra, written when he was 34 years old. The March 15, 1908 premier was given by Édouard Colonne in one of his Paris Concerts Colonne concerts. It is interesting that Maurice Ravel was a very active 59 year old composer at the time of this recording.
Maurice Ravel in 1912
The Philadelphia Orchestra, reduced to 70 musicians recorded the work in the Camden Church Studio number 2 on March 17, 1934. What gorgeous playing from this orchestra at the height of its virtuosity! Listen to the solos by Marcel Tabuteau, oboe and to the strings.
This recording was released on Victor Red Seal 12 inch (30 cm) disks Victor 8282 and 8283, matrices CS 82125, CS 82126, CS 82127, and CS 82128. In Europe this was release by the Gramophone Company on HMV DB 2367 and DB 2368, matrices 2A-62125, 2A-62126, 2A-62127, 2A-62128.
In the mp3 music files in the links below, the sides are reorganized onto 'Part 1' including Prélude à la nuit and Malagueña and 'Part 2' concludes with Habanera and Feria.
Click here to listen to (download) 'Rapsodie espagnole' Part 1 Prélude à la nuit and Malagueña
Click here to listen to (download) 'Rapsodie espagnole' Part 2 Habanera and Feria
1934 Glière - Russian Sailor's Dance from " The Red Poppy"
Recorded March 17, 1934 in the Camden Church Studio no 2. This performance was released as Victor 1675, matrix BS 82129 Victor 1675
1934 Brahms Hungarian Dance no 1 in g minor
In May, 1920, Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra had made a successful early acoustic recording of the Brahms Hungarian Dance no 1 in g minor. Nearly 14 years later, during the March 17, 1934 session, they again recorded the Hungarian Dance no 1. The Brahms followed the recordings described above of the Lyadov Eight Russian Folk Songs, the Ravel Rapsodie espagnole, and Glière's Russian Sailor's Dance from the 'Red Poppy' - a full recording day.
This 1934 performance has a interpretive characteristics in common with the 1920 recording. The opening theme is played more slowly than perhaps any other conductor would have tried, contrasted with the following section which is played at dazzlingly fast speed. In fact, for me, this performance represents a caricature of a willful manipulation of the music, in a way that Stokowski's critics claimed, falsely, that he applied generally in his performances. A far better representation of a similar, but far better interpretation is in the 1975 London recording with the pick-up 'National Philharmonic Orchestra' at the twilight of Stokowski's career.
This Hungarian Dance no 1 was issued as Victor 1675, matrix BS 82134-1.
Click here to listen to (download) the 1934 Brahms Hungarian Dance no 1.
1934 Strauss 'Tod und Verklärung' opus 24
On April 7, 1934 in the Camden Church Studio no 2, Stokowski recorded a brilliant-sounding recording of Richard Strauss 'Tod und Verklärung' - 'Death and Transfiguration' opus 24 (1889). This recording was issued in Victor in 1934. Seven years later, in July, 1941, Stokowski recorded 'Tod und Verklärung' again, this time with the All-American Youth Orchestra, in a similar interpretation, but with somewhat inferior sound.
Stokowski performed 'Tod und Verklärung' many times, including at a pair of concerts January 7 and 8, 1910 during his first season 1909-1910 as conductor of the Cincinnati Orchestra, when the work was only 21 years old ('Tod und Verklärung' having been completed in 1889 and premiered in Germany June 21, 1890). Stokowski also performed 'Tod und Verklarung' during his first 1912-1913 season as the newly appointed conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The Gramophone in its June 1936 review of this recording admired both the performance and the tone of the orchestra:
":...the Philadelphia affords a high enrichment of the tone, in the delicacy of its wood-wind choir (which, I think, after hearing it several times at first ear, has never been quite fully conveyed by any record), and in the weight and glow of its bass tone..."
Leopold Stokowski with Richard Strauss in Philadelphia, 1921
The program of this work can be appreciated from the poem which Strauss's friend Alexander Ritter (1833-1896) wrote as an interpretation of Death and Transfiguration after it had been composed. The four episodes of the work depicting the death and transfiguration of the artist can be summarized as:
- Memories of childhood and the sick artist nearing death
- The struggle between life and death
- The dying man sees his life pass before him and then dies
- The transfiguration of the artist
Victor originally recorded 'Tod und Verklärung' on seven sides, using matrix numbers CS 82169-1A, CS 82170-1, CS 82171-1, CS 82172-1, CS 82173-1, CS 82174-1, CS 82175-1. However, since the last two sides were short, Victor later dubbed CS 82174-1 and CS 82175-1 onto one side, matrix CS 86194-1A, which is how the set is usually found. The recording was issued on three 12 inch (30 cm) Red Seal disks Victor 8292, 8293, and 8294 in album M-217, or in Europe on HMV DB 2324, DB 2325 and DB 2326.
Click on the link below to listen to one of the finer recordings to come out of the Camden Church Studio among Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra's records there between 1930 and 1936. The mp3 file is of the unbroken performance, since the composer intended that should be listened to without break. However, this means, also that the mp3 file is large (27 megabytes), so the download may be lengthy, depending on the speed of your internet connection. Enjoy!
Click here to listen to (download) the 1934 Strauss 'Tod und Verklärung'
1934 Wagner - Parsifal - Act 3 Symphonic Synthesis
Immediately after recording the Straus 'Tod und Verklärung', on April 7, 1934, Stokowski recording his 'Symphonic Synthesis' of Act 3 of Wagner's Parsifal.
Act 3 of Parsifal opens at the Castle of Monsalvat, home of the Grail. Leader of the Grail Knights, Gurnemanz, finds Kundry, who, half awake tells him to 'serve'. Parsifal then returns from his journeys with the holy spear, and recounts to Gurnemanz Parsifal's long and fruitless wanderings, seeking to return to the Grail. Gurnemanz tells Parsifal that the curse preventing him from finding the correct way is lifted, that Titurel is now dead, and today is Titurel’s funeral. It is the music at this point near the end of Act 3, Scene 1 with which Stokowski begins his 'Symphonic Synthesis'.  Kundry and Gurnemanz recognize Parsifal as the King of the Knights of the Grail, and prepare Parsifal for his great duty regarding the Grail. Parsifal observes the beauty of the day, and Gurnemanz tells Parsifal that today is Good Friday. Parsifal baptizes the weeping Kundry, and with bells tolling, Kundry, Gurnemanz, and Parsifal depart for Monsalvat. The beautiful 'Good Friday Music' from the end of Act 3, Scene 1, Stokowski does not include in his Symphonic Synthesis, since he will record this music separately.
Parsifal Act 3, Scene 1 - Bayreuth Production
In Act 3, Scene 2, the Castle of Monsalvat, Amfortas is led before the Grail shrine and the coffin of Titurel. Amfortas cries out to his father Titurel to give him rest from suffering. The Knights urge Amfortas to reveal the Grail, but he says never again will he do so, instead urging the Knights to slay him for the disgrace he has brought to the Knights. Parsifal steps forth and states that only the holy spear will heal Amfortas. Parsifal touches Amfortas's side with the spear, and Amfortas is immediately healed. Parsifal then commands that the Grail be revealed, and immediately, Kundry is also released from her curse, and she falls lifeless. A white dove hovers over Parsifal's head as the opera is dramatically concluded.
This is a beautiful performance, and although the orchestra was reduced, this is not so apparent in the resulting records. I have added a slight amount of ambience to this recording, seeking to compensate for the dry acoustics of the Camden Church Studio no 2. This recording was issued on two Victor 12 inch (30 cm) Red Seal disks, 8617 and 8618, matrices CS 82176, CS 82177, CS 82178, CS 82179. In Europe, HMV issued the recording on DB 2272 and DB 2273.
Click here to listen to (download) the April, 1934 recording of the Parsifal - Act 3 Symphonic Synthesis
April, 1934 - Four Bach Transcriptions by Stokowski
On Saturday morning 7 April 1934, Stokowski and the Philadelphians recorded four Stokowski transcriptions of Bach keyboard works. Three of these were included in Victor Musical Masterpiece album M-243 commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach that was to have occurred in 1935.
"Great Fugue" from the Prelude and Fugue in g minor BWV 542
Stokowski first premiered his transcription of the "Great Fugue" (so-called to differentiate it from the "Little" Fugue in g minor BWV 578) in 1926. This was in an all-Bach concert of 30 December 1926, when Stokowski also performed the Bach Brandenburg Concerti 4, 5, and 6. This transcription has not been performed often by Stokowski or others.
This transcription, about 6 minutes long is, to my ears, an effective evocation of the original organ work, the Fugue from Prelude and Fugue in g minor BWV 542. This "Great Fugue" would have been played fairly often by Stokowski during his time as an organist.
> Click here to listen to (or download) the 1934 "Great Fugue" transcription
The other three Stokowski Bach transcriptions were recorded for Victor's planned album commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach, which was released in 1935.
Victor album M-243 of works by Bach
'Well-Tempered Clavier' Book 1 - the Fugue from the Prelude and Fugue no 2 in c minor BWV 847
This is a beautiful and delicate fugue from near the beginning of Book 1 of Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier', typically played on keyboard in about 1 1/2 minutes and well-known to all admirers of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Stokowski in this transcription, gives the themes first to the strings, then to the woodwinds and then the brass, before employing the full orchestra as a finale. So, this work gradually becomes a massive work for full orchestra losing the delicacy of the original. One of the less successful Stokowski transcriptions (in my opinion).
This recording was issued on Victor 1985 in M-243 (Bach "250 Anniversary Album") or HMV DB 2453 matrix BS 82182-1
Click here to listen to (or download) the 1934 Well-Tempered Clavier Fugue transcription
Chorale Prelude - 'Nun komm der Heiden Heiland' BWV 599
This work is from the Bach The Orgelbüchlein or "Little Organ Book containing some 46 chorale preludes which Bach wrote in the period 1708–1717. 'Nun komm der Heiden Heiland' BWV 599 is the first of these chorale preludes.
The original work for organ is played in about 1 1/2 minutes, but Stokowski has arranged a transcription which is extended to 4 1/2 minutes.
Click here to listen to (or download) the 1934 Chorale Prelude 'Nun komm der Heiden Heiland' BWV 599
score for Chorale Prelude 'Nun komm der Heiden Heiland' BWV 599
Sarabande from the English Suite no 3 in g minor BWV 808
This is a Stokowski transcription from the English Suite no 3 for harpsichord which Bach wrote between 1718 and 1720. This slow and contemplative movement typically is played in slightly more than 3 minutes in modern performances. In Stokowski's transcription, and takes nearly 5 minutes. This is a heavily upholstered transcription for full string orchestra and woodwinds. Stokowski gives a beautiful solo oboe part to Marcel Tabuteau.
Stokowski also transcribed the Bourrée from the English Suite no 2, which he and the Philadelphia Orchestra performed on 10 January 1936.
Click here to listen to (or download) the 1934 Sarabande from the English Suite no 3
1934 - Two Traditional Church Melodies - 'Veni, creator spiritus' and "Veni Emanuel'
Also on April 7, 1934 in the Camden Church Studio, with 70 Philadelphia musicians, Stokowski recorded his arrangement of two traditional melodies Stokowski must have rehearsed and performed as a church choir master: 'Veni, creator spiritus' and "Veni Emanuel'. Stokowski's love of these two church melodies shines through his arrangement and orchestration of the music. Although this music was recorded in the Camden Church Studio no 2, a larger orchestra of 70 musicians were employed.
This recording was issued on a Victor 10 inch (25 cm) Red Seal disk 1789, and in Europe on HMV DA 1551. The matrix numbers BS 82167 and BS 82168.
Click here to listen to (download) 'Veni, creator spiritus' and "Veni Emanuel'
1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9 'Choral Symphony'
On Monday, April 30, 1934, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra returned to the Camden Church Studio no 2 to record the mighty Beethoven Symphony no 9, the 'Choral Symphony'. Stokowski was not then, nor later, regarded as one of the leading Beethoven interpreters, such as were his contemporaries Wilhelm Furtwängler or Arturo Toscanini, in their different ways. However, in spite of the economic depression, reaching its peak at this time, Victor agreed to record this symphony which would be issued in Victor Musical Masterpiece album M-236, containing nine disks (think of the weight as well as the cost).
This 1934 performance was the first U.S. recording of the Beethoven Symphony no 9. However, there were previous European recordings, such as the Felix Weingartner 1926 London Symphony Orchestra recording for (British) Columbia Graphophone. There were also two acoustic performances in 1923, one by Bruno Seidler-Winkler on Polydor/DGG on 14 sides, and the other by Albert Coates for HMV on 16 sides. Not having listened to either of these, I cannot imagine the acoustic recording process being able to capture anything close to the large forces and musical complexity called for by Beethoven's score of the this symphony !
The 1934 Stokowski Beethoven Symphony no 9 was disadvantaged by several factors. First, the soloists, soprano Agnes Davis, contralto Ruth Cathcart, tenor Robert Betts and baritone Eugene Loewenthal, were all singers who had worked before with Stokowski. However, none of them had an independent singing career of any distinction. Perhaps more of a disadvantage in this recording is what seems to be a poorly trained amateur chorus. Also, the recording took place in the acoustically dead Camden Church Studio, and only about 70 musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra were used.
In addition, the performance itself is variable. It shows qualities in certain passages, such as in most of the second movement, marked 'Scherzo - Molto vivace'. In this second movement, Stokowski gives the music a steady pulse, along with a level of élan. However, elsewhere, including in the third and fourth movements, things are less satisfactory. The third movement, 'Adagio molto e cantabile' is not cantabile, but rather slow and ponderous. In the fourth movement, which calls for a most exalted and inspired reading, this recording seems to me disappointing and uninspired. That Stokowski was later able to deliver a thrilling performance is shown by his 1967 Decca/London recording with Heather Harper, Helen Watts, Alexander Young, Donald McIntyre and the London Symphony Orchestra. This 1967 performance is a transformation from the 1934 interpretation, with the Adagio molto e cantabile third movement showing great beauty and inspiration.
In fact, it is to this third movement of the 1967 Stokowski recording to which Edward Greenfield, famous critic in the Gramophone gives particular praise: "...The slow movement is what more than anything puts the seal on the greatness of this performance. When I played it first I had just done a detailed comparison of half a dozen Ninths, and the one which it resembled most closely, at least in its rapt opening pages, was the Klemperer. Like Klemperer, Stokowski brings out the purity, the nobility of the first theme with no exaggeration, and even though - as in the first Adagio variation - Stokowski temporarily adopts a more flexible style, the result completely belies any idea of the conductor as a sentimentalist." 2
Incidentally, the mating of the sides in this 1934 recording is complicated by Victor's practice in a few of the 1930s recordings, including this one, of repeating or overlapping music from the ending of one side with the same bit of music beginning the next side.
This 1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9 covered 17 sides with the following matrix numbers: CS 82185-1, CS 82186-1, CS 82187-1, CS 82188-1, CS 82189-1, CS 82190-1, CS 82191-1, CS 82592-1, CS 82593-1, CS 82594-1, CS 82595-1, CS 82596-1, CS 82597-1, CS 82598-1, CS 82599-1, CS 83100-1 and CS 83101-1, all first takes, so essentially a 'live' recording. The nine Victor 12 inch Red Seal disks in album M-236 were numbered 8424, 8425, 8426, 8427, 8428, 8429, 8430, 8431, 8432, a massive set! The eighteenth side of this album contained a Stokowski orchestration of Bach: the song 'Komm, süsser Tod' BWV 478 in the U.S. Victor album, and the Adagio from the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in c major BWV 564 in the British HMV album.
When you click on the links below to listent to (i.e. to download) the mp3 files, please keep in mind that these are large files. Movement 4, some 25 minutes long is nearly 30 megabytes in size. This means that, depending on your internet connection speed, the download could take several minutes.
Click here to listen to (download) movement 1 of the 1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9
Click here to listen to (download) movement 2 of the 1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9
Click here to listen to (download) movement 3 of the 1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9
Click here to listen to (download) movement 4 of the 1934 Beethoven Symphony no 9
1934 - Die Walkure - 'Symphonic Synthesis'
Monday, April 30, 1934 must have been a busy day for Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Following the recording of the Beethoven Symphony no 9, they recorded Stokowski's 'Symphonic Synthesis' of Wagner's Die Walkure, and the Chaconne from Bach's Violin Partita no 2, as described below.
The Symphonic Synthesis' of Wagner's Die Walkure was another of Stokowski's arrangements of music selected from a Wagner opera, intended to give a continuous musical flow, primarily of the orchestral music of the portions favored by Stokowski.
The first side of this synthesis begins with an orchestral introduction leading up to Act 2 Scene 4, called the 'Death Prediction' or 'Todesverkundigung' scene. In this scene, Sieglinde tells Siegmund she feels unworthy of him, and apprehensive about his upcoming fight with Hunding. Siegmund reassures Sieglinde and she falls asleep. Brünnhilde then predicts death for Siegmund if he fights Hunding. Siegmund tells Brünnhilde he would choose to kill himself and Sieglinde, rather than fall to Hunding. Brünnhilde, moved by Siegmund's love for Sieglinde, which he prefers to immortality in Valhalla, fatefully decides to aid Siegmund against Hunding, against Wotan's orders.
Score - beginning of the 'Death Prediction' scene Die Walkure Act 2 Scene 4
In the 1934 Stokowski recording, this music ends somewhat abruptly, and then leads directly into the famous 'Ride of the Valkyries' music from the beginning of Act 3. This music acts as a prelude to Act 3 and introduction to the scene in which the Valkyries are preparing to fly the heroes to Valhalla on their magic horses. This is followed by the confrontation between Wotan and Brünnhilde, whom he accuses of defying him. Wotan banishes Brünnhilde from Valhalla, and takes away her immortality, and will place her in a deep sleep upon a rock. Brünnhilde defends her actions as being Wotan's true will, and pleads with Wotan to at least assure that only a hero will awaken and claim her. Wotan relents.
This music of the 'Ride of the Valkyries', and Brunnhilde's plea is included in Part 2 of the Walküre synthesis, below.
Stokowski's Synthesis next transitions to the conclusion of Act 3 (and conclusion of Die Walkure), in which Wotan kisses Brünnhilde, putting her into a deep sleep. Wotan then summons Loge, the fire god, to surround Brunnhilde with a ring of magic fire, so that only a hero, without fear, may dare to awaken the mortal Brunnhilde from her sleep high on the rock. Wotan then departs, and the opera concludes with the beautiful and dramatic music included in Part 3, below.
'Ring of Magic Fire' by artist N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945)
This 1934 recording of music from Die Walkure, in spite of being recorded in the acoustically dead Camden Church Studio number 1 is beautiful and atmospheric.
The Gramophone in its 1935 review praised this performance:
"...It will easily be imagined that the Philly's tonal beauties are bountifully expended upon this great work. I do not recall finer brass piano tone, for instance, than side 1 provides. In the themes of this work lies deep and natural feeling, such as Wagner never surpassed. His gods and goddesses, thus considered, are not abstractions or prosy creatures, as is sometimes alleged, but the epitome of all our humanity. The Ride is rightly proportioned so that it sounds impressive, but is not noisy; it is music raised above normal stature, without coming into the range of mere monstrosity. Where the orchestra is fully loosed, the tone is the more significant because there is a sense of proportion throughout. We hear the voice of Wotan, a little too wrapped up in certain typical and obscuring bass vowel-shapings; but Tibbett gets the size of the character, and of the emotion..."
This 'Symphonic Synthesis' of Die Walküre was issued in 1934 in Victor Musical Masterpiece Album M-248. It contained four Victor 12 inch (30 cm) Red Seal disks 8542, 8543, 8544, 8545. In Europe, this recording was issued on HMV disks DB 2470, DB 2471, DB 2472, DB 2473. The matrices were CS 83102-1, CS 83103-1, CS 83104-1, CS 83105-1, CS 83106-1, CS 83107-1, CS 83108-1, and CS 83109-1.
Click here to listen to (download) Part 1 - the 'Death Prediction' music of 1934 Die Walkure
Click here to listen to (download) Part 2 - 'Ride of the Valkyries' and Brünnhilde's Plea of 1934 Die Walkure
Click here to listen to (download) Part 3 - Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music of 1934 Die Walkure
1934 - Chaconne from Bach Violin Partita no 2 in d minor BWV 1004
Another extended Bach orchestration by Stokowski of music from the Baroque era was recorded at this April 30, 1934 session. This was from the Bach Violin Partita no 2 in d minor BWV 1004, the famous Chaconne movement, for solo violin which Stokowski transcribed for full symphony orchestra. The result is an extended work (more than 18 minutes in the Stokowski version) occupying five 78 RPM sides: Victor matrices CS 83110-1, CS 83111-1, CS 83112-1, CS 83113-1, CS 831114-1 (all first takes).
This recording was issued, along with the Bach orchestrations listed above, in the Victor Musical Masterpiece album M-243 commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. Also included in this album of Stokowski Bach orchestrations were: the Chorale Prelude 'Nun komm der Heiden Heiland' BWV 599, the Sarabande from the English Suite No 3 in g minor BWV 808, 'Komm, süsser Tod' BWV 478, the Siciliano movement from the Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 4 in c minor BWV 1017, the Adagio from the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major BWV 564, and the Prelude in b minor from the Prelude and Fugue BWV 869, number 24 from the 'Well-Tempered Clavier' (all described above).
Although this orchestration is relatively delicately done, Stokowski performs it with his practice of emphasizing the echoes of the contrapuntal voices, and a romantic speeding up and slowing down of the music, rather than the steady musical pulse that seems to suit the music better, and is the usual practice by most modern violinists. Also, as with other Bach orchestrations, he takes the music in several places to a crescendo of swollen (in my opinion) orchestral Technicolor blazing sound (for example, at 15:15 to 16:45 as well as at 8:40 and at 14:20). All this is not a characteristic of the subtle beauty of what Bach originally wrote. However, the playing of the Philadelphia Orchestra is gorgeous, and gives the transcription every chance of success.
Click here to listen to (or download) Stokowski version of Chaconne from Bach Violin Partita in d minor BWV 1004
More 1934 Recordings
This Bach recording was the final work of 14 different pieces recorded by Stokowski in the Camden Church Studio during March and April, 1934. 1934 was such an active recording year for Stokowski and the Philadelphians that the 18 further recordings they made in October, November and December, 1934 are covered on a separate page of this www.stokowski.org website. Please click on the link below to read about and listen to these further 1934 recordings.
Click here to go to More Recordings of 1934 by Stokowski
If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address: email@example.com
Note on listening to the Stokowski recordings
The recordings in this site are files in mp3 format (128 mbps) encoded from my collection. Links to the mp3 files are located in two places:
First - in the page covering the year of the recording. For example, links to a 1926 recording are found in the page: 1926 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings
Second - in the Chronological Discography page. For example, links to a 1926 recording are also found in the electrical recordings chronological discography page: Chronological Discography of Electrical Recordings This page lists all the electrical recordings from 1925 to 1940 made by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski and issued by Victor, including of course the 1926 recordings.
The mp3 files in this site are (usually) encoded at 128 mbps. This means that the files are of different sizes, according to the length of the music. For example, the second electrical recording, the April 29, 1925 Borodin ‘Polovetzki Dances’ is small (3.6MB). In contrast, the 1929 Le Sacre du Printemps file is large. Le Sacre du Printemps part 1 is 14MB and Le Sacre du Printemps part 2 is 16MB.
This means that a large file will take a longer time to download, depending on your internet connection speed. Please keep this in mind when you click to listen to - download a particularly music file. You may click the link to the music file, but need to wait a number of seconds or even minutes to listen to the file.
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1 Drawing by H. S. Moskovitz, magazine illustrator in early 1930s.
2 Greenfield, Edward. page 50. The Gramophone. London October, 1970.
3 page 26. The
Gramophone. London June, 1936.