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Discussion: Rhapsodies - Stokowski

Posts: 41
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Post by Stanbury July 17, 2011 (1 of 41)
Reviews of this album refer to Stokowski’s interpretations as “blasphemous” and “sure to send purists screaming”. I don’t dispute these assertions, but I am curious as to their origins. Can someone point out some specific examples of the liberties that Stokowski takes? Is it a matter of dynamics and pace, or does he alter the score in more concrete ways?

Post by rammiepie July 18, 2011 (2 of 41)
Stanbury said:

Reviews of this album refer to Stokowski’s interpretations as “blasphemous” and “sure to send purists screaming”. I don’t dispute these assertions, but I am curious as to their origins. Can someone point out some specific examples of the liberties that Stokowski takes? Is it a matter of dynamics and pace, or does he alter the score in more concrete ways?

"Sure to send purists screaming" and then sort of a disclaimer: Great Stuff.

I would certainly stick with the latter. This is great stuff, impeccably recorded and for $7.55 @ Amazon US, surely, why would one hesitate.

Great stuff, indeed!

Post by seth July 18, 2011 (3 of 41)
rammiepie said:

"Sure to send purists screaming" and then sort of a disclaimer: Great Stuff.

I would certainly stick with the latter. This is great stuff, impeccably recorded and for $7.55 @ Amazon US, surely, why would one hesitate.

Great stuff, indeed!

The playing and conducting are quite good, but I'd hardly say the recorded sound is "impeccable." There are lots of overload distortions.

Post by DSD July 18, 2011 (4 of 41)
seth said:

The playing and conducting are quite good, but I'd hardly say the recorded sound is "impeccable." There are lots of overload distortions.

Agreed and that is why I sold my copy, I just could not tolerate the distorted climaxes from the overloaded master tape.

Post by rammiepie July 18, 2011 (5 of 41)
seth said:

The playing and conducting are quite good, but I'd hardly say the recorded sound is "impeccable." There are lots of overload distortions.

Teresa, I know you DON'T want to hear this, but this is one of my early discs which I treated with Mapleshade Polish, Green ink and Ultra~Vivid (2x, in fact).

As played on my Marantz SA112s through my Meridian, it is a thrilling experience with an abundance of dynamic range...

And in all honesty, it is that very dynamic range which would literally overload smallish speaker systems.

And I am referring to the domestic rather than Japanese pressing, the latter of which is commanding much higher premiums.

Whether one agrees with Stokowski's interpretations is another matter altogether but IMO, the man is ON FIRE!

Post by DSD July 18, 2011 (6 of 41)
rammiepie I have large floor standing speakers that play the extreme dynamic range of the best Telarc DSD recorded SACDs with ease and no strain! And nothing I have ever heard has more dynamic range than a Telarc.

Listen again, I and Seth are talking about gross overload distortion on climaxes on the master tape itself by running the meters too far into the red, something one cannot magically remove.

Post by rammiepie July 18, 2011 (7 of 41)
DSD said:

rammiepie I have large floor standing speakers that play the extreme dynamic range of the best Telarc DSD recorded SACDs with ease and no strain! And nothing I have ever heard has more dynamic range than a Telarc.

Listen again, I and Seth are talking about gross overload distortion on climaxes on the master tape itself by running the meters too far into the red, something one cannot magically remove.

Teresa, before I treated the disc and when the Marantz was breaking in I was aware of some distortion but once I treated the disc I was awed at the dynamic range.

I am aware that Bob Simpson, one of the recording engineers on this session, was fond of pegging the meters to increase the S/N ratio but would Maestro Stokowski upon hearing the piece in playback NOT be aware of the inherent distortion? He was, after all, a perfectionist!

And I was playing it loud and am extremely sensitive to such aberrations.

I am also wondering if the more pricey Japanese pressing has the same "problems?"

I am also wondering if different players, pre~amps, amps etc. are more "forgiving" of such maladies because in all honesty, it sounds incredible for an early Stereo recording.

Also, except for the mention of Simpson's recording techniques, four other reviewers on this
site and on Amazon US have NOT alluded to the gross overload distortions which you and Seth allude to.

Hmmmmmm!

Post by seth July 18, 2011 (8 of 41)
rammiepie said:


I am aware that Bob Simpson, one of the recording engineers on this session, was fond of pegging the meters to increase the S/N ratio but would Maestro Stokowski upon hearing the piece in playback NOT be aware of the inherent distortion? He was, after all, a perfectionist!

I am also wondering if different players, pre~amps, amps etc. are more "forgiving" of such maladies because in all honesty, it sounds incredible for an early Stereo recording.

Also, except for the mention of Simpson's recording techniques, four other reviewers on this
site and on Amazon US have NOT alluded to the gross overload distortions which you and Seth allude to.

Hmmmmmm!

A surprising number of Stokowski stereo recordings on various labels suffer from overload distortions, such as "Iberia" on EMI and "The Firebird" suite on Decca -- I wonder if he was the person pushing the engineers to ride the gain.

I'm willing to believe that the degree to which the distortions are apparent vary from release to release due to remastering work, but it's an objective fact that it's there, on the tap, and clearly audible in the SACD.

Post by Disbeliever July 18, 2011 (9 of 41)
rammiepie said:

"Sure to send purists screaming" and then sort of a disclaimer: Great Stuff.

I would certainly stick with the latter. This is great stuff, impeccably recorded and for $7.55 @ Amazon US, surely, why would one hesitate.

Great stuff, indeed!

Every time I have tried to buy CD's /SACD's from Amazon US ,they automatically flag that they can not ship to my address. This is I suspect because the price from Amazon UK is usually more than TWICE as much, e.g. Amazon US price £4.63. Amazon UK price £10.99 . However Independants ship this disc at £6.92 + £1.25 shipping from the Amazon site, they pay Amazon a Commission.

Post by DSD July 18, 2011 (10 of 41)
Disbeliever as long as the listing says "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com" then it will ship to the UK. All other listings are by Amazon Marketplace sellers and it depends on the individual seller if they ship to other countries, most do not. The one priced for $9.85 is from Amazon, the other 32 listings are not.

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