STOKOWSKI conducts Beethoven & Wagner

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Continuing our Beethoven season, this week sees Stokowski with the NBC Symphony Orchestra conducting three symphonies: the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh, adding to our previous issue of the Ninth to complete this set.

We also get some fabulous Wagner, whose "Prelude and Liebestod" followed the Beethoven 7th in the 1942 broadcast heard here. A one-time church organist, Stokowski clearly enjoyed pulling out all the stops! 'Parsifal' was the only Wagner opera that he conducted complete; he also began making "Symphonic Syntheses" of Wagner's music dramas and the "Good Friday Spell" is followed by one of these arrangements: music from Act 3 evoking the world of the Knights of the Holy Grail. Here Stokowski brings in a chorus from the opera's final pages - a wonderful effect not realised in his three orchestral recordings of the 'Parsifal' "Synthesis", making this performance unique in his immense discography.