Stokowski's British music at the NBC

Here’s a Planets crammed full of interpretative incident, superbly played by a legendary orchestra which had never previously set eyes on Holst’s masterwork.  Stokowski’s broadcast performance evinces a giant theatricality and abundant zeal that proves hypnotically compelling..." - Gramophone, 2000

This magnificent disc brings three very special recordings, all sourced from previously unheard near-mint acetates in superb condition and bestowing superb sound quality for the era: Stokowski's 1943 NBC SO performance of The Planets was the first American and the first continuous performance of this epochal work to be recorded. As magical as it is, at times, idiosyncratic, it deserves to be heard over and over.

Coupled with it are two shorter works: the only Stokowski performance of Butterworth's idyll A Shropshire Lad and a one-off entirely orchestral version of Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, rescored for orchestra only, bringing the release to a festive and magical conclusion.