MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...

MusicWeb - "A Beacon of Probity and Integrity" - Ralph Moore

Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews



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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony No. 2 in D, Op.73 (1877) [41:20]
Symphony No. 4 in E, Op.98 (1885) [38:33]
Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
rec. April 1929, Academy of Music, Philadelphia (No.2) and March-April 1933, Camden, NJ (No.4)

Pristine has now concluded its transfers of Stokowski’s pre-War Philadelphia Brahms symphonic cycle. The First Symphony is on PACO 500, the Third on PACO 540 and the disc under review contains the Second and Fourth symphonies.

The Second was set down over two days in April 1929 but as producer Mark Obert-Thorn relates Stokowski remade one side nearly a year later managing in the process to omit twelve bars of music. That remade side has not been included here, though you can hear it on Pristine’s website and can download it. The original recording has always proved problematic to some Stokowski admirers. Yes, the luscious free bowing is often ravishing, slides lavishly and lovingly employed in the slow movement in particular, and Marcel Tabuteau is his lordly self, a tonalist and phrase-maker of the most august kind, and those deep-hewn basses make their accustomed mark. But there is something a little sentimentalised about the reading of the slow movement, and in the scherzo a feeling that things are being taken to excess. As a direct consequence of these interpretative instabilities the finale is not the commanding and culminatory edifice it might, or should be. The earlier movements have destabilized the architecture and feeling of the work.

The Fourth Symphony of Stokowski’s I love best is the last recording he made in 1974. His Brahms tempi tended to speed up as he grew older and the intensity he generated in the works similarly increased. The 1933 Philadelphia reading has had some artificial reverberation added to the dead-ish acoustic of Church Studio No.1 in Camden. The 1974 also demonstrated Stokowski’s metrical flux in the work, as does this one, but in a way that tends to sweep objections aside. This shellac version is a little manicured in places and there is certainly a lack of the usual Philly corporate heft, due to the reduced numbers of players used, in the unsympathetic acoustic.

There is, however, nothing unsympathetic about the restorations, so if your aim is to acquire this symphonic cycle, you can be assured of top-class transfers.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Rob Barnett

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano





Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 1