One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid world-wide.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Aurora's Wedding, Op. 66a (Sleeping Beauty ballet arr. Diaghilev) [38:42]
Humoresque Op. 10 No.2 (transcr. Stokowski) [2:03]
Solitude Op.73 No.6 (transcr. Stokowski) [3.37]
The Nutcracker Suite [22:20];
Stokowski Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
rec. 1950-53, location not specified

Stokowski’s orchestra in the 1950s included many of the top orchestral players in New York. Among these we find some legendary names: Robert Bloom (oboe), Juliet Baker (flute) and Leonard Rose (cello). His leader was often Oscar Shumsky or Mischa Mischakoff. This ad hoc recording orchestra also drew its players from the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony orchestras. The bottom line is that the standard of orchestral playing demonstrated on this and many other recordings is of the highest quality. Stokowski was also very interested in the engineering aspects of capturing his performances on tape and the results were often amazing for the time. He was very much part of the production team. All the hallmarks can be heard here - the big Stokey sound with its drenched string tone, free bowing style and a really flexible approach to phrasing. He takes liberties here and there but it’s all done with conviction and my goodness he knew how to get an exciting sound out of his orchestra.
The main item on this disc is the interesting arrangement from the Sleeping Beauty ballet by Diaghilev: Aurora’s Wedding. The sound quality is of an historic nature but it’s perfectly acceptable. I assume that it derives from a record judging from the odd patch of surface noise here and there. It also sounds like a “straight” transfer with no attempt to alter the characteristics or reduce background noise.
Stokowski was a great Tchaikovsky conductor and he makes his relatively small band sound huge and impressive here. It’s spontaneous and full of energy. Cameo has a serious competitor here and that is David Gideon’s online American company Rediscovery. They offer high quality MP3s of the same performance but with three significant advantages. First of all, it is free, secondly it derives from a tape and finally the sound has been restored and transformed. On an A/B comparison the Rediscovery version is markedly superior.
For those who still wish to opt for the Cameo there are the significant bonuses of Humoresque, Solitude and the Nutcracker Suite thrown in for good measure. The suite is well worth hearing. After the brisk opening Overture and March we are treated to a most unusual Sugar Plum Fairy. This fairy virtually grinds to a stop in her dance after a perfectly normal opening few bars. She sounds worse for wear to be honest. It’s both comical and bizarre. The Arabian Dance is utterly seductive with swooning vibrato laden strings. Dance of the Reed Flutes is pulled all over the place but magically so. There’s hardly a boring note to be heard. Despite some patches of distortion and surface noise this is very decent for a recording made in 1950.
This is a rather specialist disc that will be welcomed by Stokowski’s fans but, as I said earlier, the jewel of the collection can be sourced elsewhere and leave the wallet undamaged.
John Whitmore
Previous review: Jonathan Woolf