I've never seen Stokowski and Mitropoulos paired before, but both conductors were associated with the NY Phil. in the late Forties and early Fifties. This twofer from DG brings together material originally released elsewehre. Anyone who assumes that Stokowski can't touch a score without tricking it out in plush strings and soupy phrasing should hear this lovely Brahms Serenade #1, incongruously paired with a dated American semi-classical work, the folksy but pretty basic Dawson Symphony based on Negro spirituals. In the original CD issue from MCA I threw the Dawson away to keep the Brahms. The "Symphony of the Air" is a moniker briefly taken on by the NBC Sym. after Toscanini died in 1956 and the musicians were thrown back on their own devices.
The Mitropoulos material features two Prokofiev chamber pieces; both are sparkling and vibrant, and the transferred sound is quite good for its age. The Over. on Hebrew Themes, here played in its chamber version, is the best recording I've ever come across. Since the musical groups involved form quite a divrese bunch, here's a run-down:
Symphony Of The Air / Leopold Stokowski - Serenade No.1 in D op.11 (Brahms). New York Ensemble of the Philharmonic Scholarship Winners / Dimitri Mitropoulos - Quintet in G minor op.39. Overture on Hebrew Themes op.34 (Prokofiev). American Symphony Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski - Negro Folk Symphony (William Levi Dawson). New York Ensemble of the Philharmonic Scholarship Winners / Dimitri Mitropoulos - Night Music - Weintraubenmusik (Howard Swanson).