Respighi, Khachaturian, Shostakovich, Bloch, Gabrieli

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COMPOSERS: Bloch,Gabrieli,Khachaturian,Respighi,Shostakovich
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Stokowski
WORKS: Pines of Rome; Symphony No. 2 (The Bell); Symphony No. 1; Schelomo; Sonata pian’ e forte
PERFORMER: George Neikrug (cello); Symphony of the Air/Leopold Stokowski
CATALOGUE NO: ZDM 5 65427 2 ADD (1958-59)
This eclectic two-disc set consists of the first CD transfers of recordings made for the United Artists label in the late Fifties. The documentation warns that the sound quality has its shortcomings and, indeed, the tapes reveal frequent distortion, drop-out and sudden shifts of perspective. As for the performances (the Symphony of the Air comprised former players of Toscanini’s NBC SO), we are in classic Stokowski territory: Technicolor Respighi, over-driven yet powerful Khachaturian, brash Shostakovich (the first movement of the Symphony is strangely cumbersome) and self-indulgent transcriptions of Palestrina and Gabrieli that will offend any die-hard authenticist. A set more for aficionados of Stokowski than for the library. Matthew Rye