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David Hurwitz, September 2016

Stokowski was not really a “great” orchestrator, if by this we mean organic and idiomatic, but he was distinctive. His timbral palette was based on a rich string sound, with splashes of color and “special effects” added capriciously and often garishly, seemingly at whim. This is most obvious in the transcription of Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald [Bare] Mountain, with its tam-tam concerto climax. The only way to do it is to “go for it” with 100% conviction. This is what made Stokowski ’s own performances so effective, and that’s just what Serebrier does too. © 2016 Read complete review

Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine, September 2016


Stokowski’s arrangements added technicolour to music that was often pretty colourful already. The results—almost endearing in their unashamed excesses—are conveyed with some aplomb. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, July 2016

STOKOWSKI: TRANSCRIPTIONS (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier) 8.578305
STOKOWSKI, L.: Art of Orchestral Transcriptions (The) (BBC Philharmonic, Bamert) CHAN10900

…performances are superb. But I would give the edge to Serebrier’s, which has an authority and a grandeur a few notches greater than Bamert’s. © 2016 Musical Toronto Read complete review

Richard Bratby
Gramophone, July 2016

STOKOWSKI: TRANSCRIPTIONS (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier) 8.578305
STOKOWSKI, L.: Art of Orchestral Transcriptions (The) (BBC Philharmonic, Bamert) CHAN10900

Bamert relishes pure sonority. Serebrier’s performance is less extreme—though that’s a relative term with Stokowski transcriptions—but has more of a sense of musical line: a performance, rather than a sequence of thrilling sounds.

Serebrier is perhaps the more musically satisfying choice, with superior recorded sound and some beautiful playing. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2016

One of the 20th century’s great conductors, Leopold Stokowski was also a prolific transcriber of music for orchestra, creating a unique repertoire by bringing masterpieces to the concert hall that were often unfamiliar to audiences of the time. José Serebrier was Stokowski’s associate conductor in New York. Drawing on memories of his special quality of orchestral sound, Serebrier has revived and revised the best of these sumptuous arrangements. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)

Barry Bassis
The Epoch Times, June 2016

Stokowski’s approach makes no attempt to be historically correct. Rather, his arrangement is romantic, with a rich orchestral sound.

The Wagner excerpts are viscerally exciting. © 2016 The Epoch Times Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, May 2016

STOKOWSKI TRANSCRIPTIONS (Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier) 8.578305
STOKOWSKI, L.: Art of Orchestral Transcriptions (The) (BBC Philharmonic, Bamert) CHAN10900

Serebrier shares lots of the same repertoire, and it’s played every bit as well so that it’s difficult to put a cigarette paper between them. Most listeners will be swayed primarily by the choice of repertoire, and Serebrier’s gain is the two Wagner extracts. These are great, not least because, with only a few exceptions, Stokowski leaves well alone, creating concert paraphrases of the operas rather than re-scorings, and Serebrier unfolds them with gentle majesty. The oboes-as-Rhinemaidens sound a little odd, but the climaxes are very impressive. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

KDFC Radio, May 2016

Conductor Jose Serebrier has a unique perspective on the famous transcriptions of the legendary Leopold Stokowski, having worked with the Maestro as associate conductor in New York. Serebrier, a composer himself, revisits these striking transcriptions in recordings made with his Bournemouth Symphony from 2005 through 2009, newly compiled for this release. Works include the Bach Toccata and Fugue (as featured in Fantasia), the Boccherini Minuet, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, and many others, all with the unmistakable Stokowski sound! © 2016 KDFC Radio, May 2016

The Tchaikovsky, Boccherini and Purcell works are pleasant miniatures (with some fine cello playing by Timothy Walden in the Purcell), and Stokowski’s short arrangement of traditional Slavic Christmas music has a pleasant encore-like feeling about it despite its placement midway on this disc. …And some of Stokowski’s orchestral touches are elegant and perspicacious. But they are also relics of an earlier time, when the music heard here was not thought (at least by Stokowski himself) to be able to stand on its own in its original guise. © 2016 Read complete review

Robert Benson, May 2016

 Excellent performances, and very well recorded. © 2016 Read complete review

David Mellor
Classic FM, April 2016

Serebrier was Stokowski’s assistant for several years in the 1960s, and Stokowski thought really highly of him both as a composer…and as a conductor. In these recordings, Serebrier returns the favour with some marvellous stuff that makes for thoroughly entertaining listening. © 2016 Classic FM Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2016

British born before a life in the United States, the conductor, Leopold Stokowski, created a wealth of orchestral transcriptions covering a wide range of music. Sometimes controversial, but always one of the most interesting musicians working in the twentieth century, his work in resurrecting long forgotten composers was most widely recognised in the case of Johann Sebastian Bach. To present day audiences it seems bizarre that the reputation of that great name from the Baroque era had almost been forgotten by the birth of the 20th century, Stokowski responding to this neglect by orchestrating some of his great organ works, the 78rpm recording of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor becoming a top selling ‘pop’ classic of its day. Working for five years as his assistant in New York was one of today’s most frequently recorded conductors, José Serebrier, who a few years ago placed on disc four themed releases of those transcriptions from which eleven tracks have been taken to form this compilation. Opening with Bach’s mighty Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the disc later concentrates on music in a less dramatic mode, the scene having been set by the second track, Tchaikovsky’s Solitude. It goes on to include Bach’s now famous Sheep may safely graze, and Dido’s sad Lament from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, another composer who had become a stranger on the international stage. Stokowski equally looked to take Wagner to an audience outside of the opera house, and made elaborate orchestral ‘highlights’, this release including the Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla and The Ride of the Walkure from the Ring cycle. Much as I admire his work, I draw the line at his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s A Night on the Bare Mountain, the composer’s own score being infinitely preferable. In his day Stokowski also dabbled in the sound quality of recordings so as to give a full dynamic range to his transcriptions, and I am sure he would have been thrilled by the playing of the Bournemouth Symphony and Naxos’s ‘demonstration’ quality recordings. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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