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Discussion: Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Francesca da Rimini - Stokowski

Posts: 24
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Post by terence April 11, 2006 (1 of 24)
very tempting review! i assume this is 4.0 from a quadrophonic original? what use is made of the rear channels in this remastering?

Post by seth April 12, 2006 (2 of 24)
Stokowski loved to do gimmicky things in post like spot-light instruments (and that was part of his charm) -- I wonder how much input he had in making the surround sound mix. If anyone would have been in favor of placing instruments behind the listener to make it sound like they were surrounded by the orchestra, it would have been him.

Post by Peter April 12, 2006 (3 of 24)
seth said:

Stokowski loved to do gimmicky things in post like spot-light instruments (and that was part of his charm) -- I wonder how much input he had in making the surround sound mix. If anyone would have been in favor of placing instruments behind the listener to make it sound like they were surrounded by the orchestra, it would have been him.

I think by this stage old age made him wise! I have yet to know the feeling. From what I've read, the rear channels are ambient, so no Tacetmania here.

Post by seth April 12, 2006 (4 of 24)
Peter said:

I think by this stage old age made him wise! I have yet to know the feeling. From what I've read, the rear channels are ambient, so no Tacetmania here.

While he may have gotten wiser in age, his Decca recordings, made during this period, are heavily spotlighted per his request.

Post by Peter April 12, 2006 (5 of 24)
seth said:

While he may have gotten wiser in age, his Decca recordings, made during this period, are heavily spotlighted per his request.

I think these are even later than his Phase 4 recordings who spotlit for everybody on that label. The last recordings he made for Philips and RCA are much less spotlit, much more natural. Even the last Phase 4 ones seem to have fewer mikes, for example the Franck symphony recorded in Holland. (The RCA Mahler 2 doesn't appear to have an organ in the last movement, though.)

Post by seth April 12, 2006 (6 of 24)
Peter said:

I think these are even later than his Phase 4 recordings who spotlit for everybody on that label. The last recordings he made for Philips and RCA are much less spotlit, much more natural. Even the last Phase 4 ones seem to have fewer mikes, for example the Franck symphony recorded in Holland. (The RCA Mahler 2 doesn't appear to have an organ in the last movement, though.)

He was with Decca through '75...

Post by Peter April 12, 2006 (7 of 24)
seth said:

He was with Decca through '75...

What did he record for Decca in '74 and '75?

All I can say is, the spotlighting in, say, Tchaik 5 from 1966, is severe (typical for all early Phase 4) compared to Beethoven 7 from Jan 1973, or even the Franck from 1970, which are recorded far more naturally.

Unfortunately, by the time he started with Decca Phase 4, he'd grown out of adding things like real fireworks to Handel, and cows and sheep to the Pastoral, or was it real thunder and lightning?

If you haven't heard his Sibelius 1, from November 1976, it's worth a listen, then ask, "How old is this conductor?" Amazing stuff.

Post by Edvin April 12, 2006 (8 of 24)
The rears are used with the typical good taste we have come to expect from Pentatone. They add ambience and thus give a better illusion of a concert hall than plain stereo can ever do. No spotlighting, just great playing.

But I have two qualms. First, not a word about Stokowski in the booklet. How difficult would it have been to find someone who was present at the sessions to recollect and maybe tell a good story or two about the conductor.

Secondly, a minor issue indeed...but isn´t it time Pentatone learned that Brent Hall is in Wembley and not not in Wembly.

Post by seth April 12, 2006 (9 of 24)
Peter said:

What did he record for Decca in '74 and '75?

He recorded a bunch of Transcriptions (none of it Bach) with the LSO in '74. I don't currently have access to it, but I believe the second Decca Original Masters Box Set lists the recording year of the Beethoven 7 as '75

Post by Peter April 12, 2006 (10 of 24)
seth said:

He recorded a bunch of Transcriptions (none of it Bach) with the LSO in '74. I don't currently have access to it, but I believe the second Decca Original Masters Box Set lists the recording year of the Beethoven 7 as '75

Beethoven 7 is 1/1973, according to a discography I've got, so there's misprint somewhere. The Franck is considered one of the best performances of that work, available on Cala as well as in the second Decca Masters box.

Anyway, as far as quad recordings are concerned, I've checked the "Quad" website and RCA's Mahler 2, a disc of Bach transcription, Beethoven 3, Brahms 4 etc and Tchaik 6 were all issued on CD4 LPs, and CBS issued Sibelius 1 etc on SQ LP, so perhaps one day they'll be remastered for SACD. They should all be very good discs. Of all those, I'd like the Sibelius most; it's still available cheaply in a 2CD EMI great conductors set.

That said, I've ordered the above Pentatone, and very much look forward to hearing it.

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