For April, 2021, the Classics a Day Team celebrates a legend — Leopold Stokowski. He was born in April (1882), and became a cultural icon. His recording legacy spans over 60 years. And whether he was conducting a premier orchestra or a group of studio musicians, the sound was unmistakable.
To share all of Stokowski’s recordings and arrangements would take far longer than a month. But that means there’s quite a lot to choose from for April! Here are my selections for the first nine days of #ClassicsaDay #Stokowski.
04/01/21 Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5 (1917)
This was Stokowski’s first recording. It was done in October, 1917with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
04/02/21 Bizet: Symphony in C major (1977)
Stokowski recorded this work for CBS in June, 1977. It was his final session in his 60-year recording career, made just three months before his death. The National Philharmonic Orchestra was a studio group, and included some of London’s best classical musicians.
04/05/21 Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain (1958)
This recording was from a broadcast concert from Carnegie Hall. Stokowski and his Symphony Orchestra marked his 50th year as a conductor with music by Wallingford Riegger, Paul Creston, and the American premiere of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 9.
04/06/21 Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata (arr. Stokowski)
Stokowski was not just a brilliant conductor — he was also a brilliant orchestrator and arranger. He used his arrangement of the Moonlight Sonata as an encore piece.
04/07/21 100 Men and a Girl (excerpts)
Fantasia wasn’t Stokowski’s only film. In this 1937 classic he plays himself, alongside Deanna Durbin and Adolphe Menjou.
04/08/21 Tchaikovsky “Song Without Words”
Stokowski first recorded his arrangement of this work in 1924 with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
04/09/21 Creston: Saxophone Concerto, Op. 26
Stokowski was a champion of modern music. He made the premiere recording of Paul Creston’s concerto with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in 1944.