Before it came to an end, Cala had released several dozen recordings in cooperation with the Leopold Stokowski Society tat did much to establish the conductor's reputation as permanently as it ever will. In some quarters he is sniffed at for venturing so flamboyantly into popular culture, but that prejudice died decades ago, and whatever kind of hijinks and tampering with scores he pulled off, a flood of reissues tells the story of an eminently gifted musician. Here is the Blue Danube Waltz as recorded in stereo in 1957. On LP is was part of an album titled "Landmarks of a Distinguished Career" (not a title to get your heart racing) consisting of stereo remakes of some of his more popular 78s.
The waltz is done in high spirits, with springy rhythm and not a hint of Viennese lingering. "His" orchestra, made up of top-flight New York freelancers and personnel from the New York Phil., plays with exuberance. No one else has quite done the Blue Danube like this. The sound is good-enough analog sound for the period, suffering a little from shallowness. The remainder of this CD, in better sound, consists of string music, offered in the spirit of those "Classics for Relaxation" products that serious listeners avoid. But these snippets are done with elegance, and one is reminded that Stokowski based the Philadelphia Sound on his expert way with string sonority. Not that they sound overly lush or high calorie here. Stokowski is on his best behavior, as they used to say when he seemed like a horse that was liable to bolt. In all, a thoroughly enjoyable release from Guild, who have taken up the cause after Cala's Stokowski series ended. At present there are 200 Stokowski CDs in print, and counting, with many more that enjoyed a brief life before going out of print. It's a rich legacy and uniquely enjoyable.
Rondino giocoso for string orchestra, Op. 4
String Quintet Op. 13 No. 5 in A major, G281: Menuet
String Quartet No. 2: 3rd Movement (Notturno)
Lento (from Iphigenie in Aulis)
Musette (from Armide)
Orfeo ed Euridice (Orphée et Euridice): Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Tamburino (from Alcina)
arr. William Gillies Whittaker
Moto perpetuo, Op. 11, MS 72
Third Act Hornpipe (From King Arthur)
Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
Strauss, J, II:
An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314
Andante Cantabile (from String Quartet No. 1 in D Op. 11)