As the reviewer below mentions, Stokowski recorded the Wagner heard here with a youth orchestra in 1941. Throughout his career, Stokowski had a keen interest in and affinity for working with young musicians, and he gets an energetic, enthusiastic performance from this group. He recorded the other pieces with RCA in New York in 1950 (Stravinsky, Debussy) and 1953 (Enesco) and "his" symphony orchestra, an all-star pick up orchestra consisting mainly of first chair NY Philharmonic and NBC Symphony players and top freelancers, many of whom, like flutist Julius Baker, later became principal players in the NY Philharmonic and other top orchestras. I've read that this crack orchestra often arrived at the sessions not knowing what they were going to play, but that only seems to have added to the intensity of the playing, and the results, here and in other CDs of these sessions released by Cala, are nearly always triumphant.
All of the pieces here are Stokowski specialties. The Firebird Suite is dramatic and exciting, the Nocturnes are lush and colorful, and the Romanian Rhapsodies are sparkling. A note about the sound quality of the Firebird Suite, which as the reviewer below notes, is not up to that of most of this series, generally very high for late 40s and early 50s mono. Apparently, the original tapes for the Firebird sessions (of May and June 1950) were lost, and this CD instead uses an original LP from the collection of noted sound engineer Mark Obert-Thorn, who did the transfer to digital. I have the original LP, and can report that Mr. Obert-Thorn did a fine job of preserving the music while eliminating most of the background noise. It's a shame the original tapes could not have been used, but that's the sort of problem you inevitably encounter with vintage recordings. Still well worth having.