Stokowski: Bach Transcriptions Vol 2 / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO

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As in his previous recording of Stokowski Bach transcriptions for Naxos, José Serebrier deploys an imaginative mix of the great man himself with other early...
As in his previous recording of Stokowski Bach transcriptions for Naxos, José Serebrier deploys an imaginative mix of the great man himself with other early masters. Outstanding items among the latter include Palestrina's Adoramus Te, Byrd's Pavane and Galliard, and a really yummy (but never too droopy) Boccherini Minuet. Stokowski, as I mentioned in that earlier review, was not really a brilliant orchestrator in terms of timbral variety, but he was a very characteristic one. Key to any successful new recording of his arrangements is string sonority, that special, luminous sheen, especially in soft passages.

Serebrier understands this, as others who worked with Stokowski (such as Matthias Bamert for Chandos), do not. It doesn't matter whether the sound is achieved naturally or through sonic manipulation--witness Stokowski's own recordings with the Houston Symphony on Everest, for instance. The final sound is the only significant issue. Listen to the violins attack and sustain the opening of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; to the rich tone of Sleepers Awake!; or to the amazingly sweet violins and oboe in Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. This is undoubtedly the real deal, even if more than an hour of largely gentle, elegiac bonbons may be a bit much to take in at a sitting.

My only reservation with this second installment concerns the bottom end of the orchestra. Those rumbling "organ pedals" for brass, basses, and timpani in the Toccata and Fugue don't have quite the amplitude that they should, despite the theatrical flair that Serebrier imparts to them. Whether this is a function of the engineering, or of many English orchestras' chronic lack of fullness in the bass register, is hard to say. I suspect it's a little of both, and it's the only issue that precludes giving this disc a highest rating. It's pretty wonderful nonetheless, and I recommend it highly.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Release Date: January 27, 2009


  • UPC: 747313205073


  • Catalog Number: 8572050


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: ""


  • Composer: Giovanni Palestrina, Jeremiah Clarke, Johann Mattheson, Johann Sebastian Bach, Luigi Boccherini, Roman Hoffstetter, William Byrd


  • Conductor: José Serebrier


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra


  • Performer: Serebrier, Bournemouth So