MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Symphony No.5 in D minor Op.47 (1937)
The Stadium Symphony Orchestra Of New York/Leopold Stokowski
rec. 1958
Reviewed as download

Originally recorded for Everest Records on 35 mm film instead of tape, an already remarkably fresh and vivid recording has come up wonderfully in this HDTT remastering.

“The Stadium Symphony Orchestra Of New York” is of course just the New York Philharmonic in summer garb and their playing is wonderfully sonorous yet mostly disciplined; entries and intonation are precise – which matters, especially in this kaleidoscopic music, ranging as it does from biting irony to languorous lyricism. Stokowski is remarkably non-interventionist here for a conductor with his reputation for tweaking; he simply lets the music unfold naturally, maintaining a sense of “over-arching shape” (a cliché, I know, but apt here). Bernstein’s almost contemporaneous recording is more overtly episodic, driving home individual high-points of tension but perhaps as a result compromising the organic unity of the symphony.

This is a relatively swift, driven account, if not as fast as Stokowski’s live performance with the LSO in the Royal Albert Hall six years later. It is sometimes broody and dark and sometimes relaxed - not as sharp and tense as Bernstein. Shostakovich’s fascination and kinship with Mahler are underlined; never has the Allegretto sounded so akin to a Mahler Scherzo, as per the “Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt” in the Resurrection symphony.

There are a few peculiarities, however: a strangely watery, wavery flute with a fast vibrato in the first and third movements and the Largo is perhaps the least compelling component here, in that although it is suitably elegiac Stokowski does not find quite the gripping, aching Angst Bernstein invokes - but in the context of Stokowski’s more benign interpretation it fits and there are some lovely, atmospheric touches; the warm string chords exactly halfway through at 6:30 and the gentle conclusion are both pure Vaughan Williams pastoral.

Stokowski resolves the eternal question of whether the conclusion to the finale is straightforwardly triumphant or ironically forced and hollow, by going for the first option, despite the melancholy central section - and it works; this is a highly energised account, if not as fast and driven as Bernstein’s – which for some tastes, at two minutes shorter than Stokowski’s, is too fast and bordering on the crude and vulgar – and I tend to agree. The switch to D major sounds like the hard-won reward following a struggle, making better musical sense, and the climactic thuds on the bass drum come through well.

Admirers of Stokowski such as I will want to hear this; it offers a credible, coherent and consistent interpretative stance and sounds wonderful. If you require a more histrionic account, go to Bernstein; these are in a sense complementary recordings offering equally interesting viewpoints.

Ralph Moore

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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount