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Serenade for Strings Op.48 / Hybrid SACD


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1. Fantasy After Dante
2. Pezzo In Forma Di Sonatina: Andante Non Troppo
3. Waltz: Moderato (Tempo Di Valse)
4. Elegie: Larghetto Elegiaco
5. Finale (Tema Russo): Andante-Allegro Con Spirito

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The best serenade and Francesca EVER! Oct. 2 2006
By Brian H. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
There are dozens of recordings of the Serenade. Most people feel that Ormandy has the best one out there. I felt that way too until I heard this one. Stokowski's phrasing, nuance of touch and silky smooth strings, coupled with TRUE multichannel sound, makes Ormany's version sound old. Ormandy's version should be remastered to remain competitive. That being said, this is one the best serenades you'll hear. The wonderful quadraphonic engineering makes the LSO sound so spacious and natural. And if that isn't enough, Stoky does Francesca for the third time. Now many classical lovers know that Stoky's version of this piece has been HEAVILY reorchestrated. And is it any wonder? The piece is mediocre, but in Stokowksi's hands, it becomes a masterpiece. If you are a purist, then skip this version, but if you love Stokowski, you have to compare this one to his famous version with the New York Philharmonic. It's true, that version has a blistering intensity and fire that is unbelieveable. A critic for the American Record Guide says that version is unbeatable. However, upon listening to this, the wonderful sound makes the Everest recording sound old. So, I'm more inclined to say that this one is better. Stoky even adds more percussion to the ending of this one and it's thrilling! But hey, don't take my word for it! Listen for yourself. And when you do, be mesmerized at the genius that is Stokowski!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great recordings revived with sumptuous sound! Aug. 26 2007
By Scriabinmahler - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this SACD for Serenade for Strings expecting overly impassioned expansive reading by Stokowski. It turned out to be surprisingly straightforward and smooth performance. He draws gorgeous sound from LSO and every movement is most beautifully played, but it lacks passion and force Karajan and Ormandy creates so powerfully especially in the first movement.

Francesca da Rimini, on the other hand, turned out to be bonus, very powerful and passionate with the very expressive slow love-theme sections and with the overwhelming ending with loud percussions. It surpasses Stokowski's Everest version. Even on normal CD player, the remastered sound quality of the both works is amazingly vivid and sumptuous.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Less than inspired from the old Master March 25 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
While mine is an admittedly minority opinion, I thought the audio more than a little soft, round, billowy, and overblown. Moreover, I found the performances of both the Serenade for Strings and the tone poem Francesca da Rimini a little less than inspired. However, it isn't that Stokowski doesn't take the works at a quick enough tempo, bring out enough beauty, create enough excitement, or play without enthusiasm. Stokowski does. It's just that despite everything, the performances seem perfunctory, ordinary, which is something wholly uncommon to a conductor like Stokowski.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
The art of musical narration July 24 2011
By Jose Gorostiza - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I had the privilege of watching Stokowski perform in London a couple of times in the early seventies. How was it that this frail 90 plus year old man could transform an orchestra into a maniacal performing machine is something that still needs explanation to this day. Such things come to mind because Stokowski at his best was somewhat the magician that had, among his peers, unique powers of musical narration. That is exactly what is needed for 'Francesca da Rimini' Op. 32, a true tone poem that had passed under my radar for many years until I heard Stokowski's Phillips recording in 1974. Finally I weaned off my LP and cassette copy and got this CD Hybrid SACD. Sadly, yes, the transfer loses some of the brilliance of the original stereo LP but you get used to it and the performance still comes across just fine. No other recording I know of comes even close to this marvelous Stokowski recreation of the score, and that includes fine performances by Bernstein and Ozawa. The LSO at its peak, plays for him like for no one else and the way Stokowski delivers the middle section romance between Francesca and Paolo will, if you are caught off guard, bring tears to you eyes. Yes, there are some unmistakable stokowskian traits like the overbearing cymbal at the beggining and end of the score but to great effect. The Serenade for strings is also fine. Here Stokowski uses the full body of strings (no chamber stuff for him) in a straightforward and totally serious approach that has yet to receive some credit. If you still don't have a Francesca da Rimini in your library this is the way to go.


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