Listen to TRACK 5: Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30
Irish-born Victor Herbert was one of the most celebrated names in American music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A cellist, conductor, and composer of light operas, he was also a recording artist. His two Cello Concertos are full of graceful melodies, the First having a songlike slow movement and a spirited Polonaise finale that earned praise at its 1885 première in Stuttgart. The Second Concerto, scored for a large orchestra, is more tightly constructed than the First. It was hearing this work that inspired Herbert’s boss at the National Conservatory in New York, Antonin Dvořák, to write his own great B minor Cello Concerto.
Listen to TRACK 3: DEBUSSY, C.: Sarabande et Danse
Maurice Ravel’s incomparable skill in orchestration and command of orchestral colour is evident both in his own works and in his orchestrations of music by other composers. His versions of both Chabrier’s vibrant Menuet pompeux and the colourful commedia dell’arte figures of Schumann’sCarnaval were commissions for ballet, while new life was given to his late friend Debussy’s Sarabande et Danse at the request of publisher Jean Jobert. Ravel’s iconic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition makes telling use of a large orchestra, vividly depicting scenes that range from the playful to the macabre.
Listen to TRACK 6: Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 32
Begun when he was a seventeen-year-old naval cadet, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 1 was hailed by the nationalist group ‘The Five’ as the first truly Russian symphony, in contrast with the German-influenced music of Anton Rubinstein. With its use of Russian folk-songs, this is a work of remarkable natural talent, justifying the early enthusiasm of Balakirev. Symphony No. 3, cast in a thoroughly Russian musical language, is notable not only for its significantly enhanced technical competence but for its great rhythmic vitality and subtle orchestration.
Listen to TRACK 1: BACH, J.S.: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
Leopold Stokowski was both one of the twentieth century’s greatest conductors and an inveterate orchestral arranger. This compendium features a colourful selection of his transcriptions, which received the highest praise when first released in a series played by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the distinguished baton of José Serebrier, one-time associate conductor to Stokowski himself.
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