Stokowski rerecorded both of these works in stereo, but this CD is valuable for presenting his takes on these pieces earlier in his career. The Falla, from 1946, is a stunning achievement. The sound engineering is crisp, with a wide dynamic range, but perhaps not as full as it might have been. Throughout, the orchestra's playing is exceptional, not least in the propulsive, fiery hot version of the Ritual Fire Dance. Nan Merriman's contribution is truly exceptional. Stokowski himself called it musical perfection, in that it combined true Spanish style with rock solid technique. The Brahms, from 1945, is more controversial. First of all, the sound engineering, from the Hollywood Bowl, has a lot of echo, so important passages frequently are obscured. Secondly, although Stokowski conducts a taut, exciting reading, there are details that really seem inimical to a true appreciation of Brahms. The string sound is rich and caloric, more in the manner of Rachmaninoff, so that the statement of the last movement's main theme feels like a mountain of rich chocolate. The chorale in the coda is VERY SLOW, with phrasing that sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie. I am reminded of what Sibelius said about Stokowski: I am sure Mr. Stokowski is an interesting man, with many interests, but music is not one of them. I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that the Stokowski Brahms Firsts with the All-American Youth Orchestra and the London Symphony are more satisfying than the one on this CD.