The Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski
The transcriptions of Bach’s keyboard works for full symphony orchestra by Leopold Stokowski, one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, formed a successful part of his crusade to increase the accessibility of music. In reality Stokowski’s transcriptions had little to do with Bach: they are rather complete re-compositions in the manner of Wagner or Tchaikovsky for the late-romantic symphony orchestra. They have enjoyed continuing popularity since Stokowski first introduced them, and took a central rôle in the internationally popular film which he made with Walt Disney, Fantasia.
The recordings on this CD were made between 1927 and 1939, with Stokowski conducting in all instances
The Philadelphia Orchestra, whose lush orchestra style was clearly well suited to his musical vision of Bach.
Contemporary audiences and conductors continue to respond warmly to these re-compositions with many successful performances and re-recordings, such as those by José Serebrier (Naxos 8.557883).
“Leopold Stokowski was known for flashy moves such as shaking hands with Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. As an orchestrator famous for applying his idiosyncratic touch to music composed by others, Stokowski made similar choices. The maestro's musical personality --- old-fashioned gentleman cum media-savvy huckster, not to mention tireless champion of the music of his day --- is apparent in every bar of his
TimeOut New York