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  • Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini; Hamlet / Scriabin: Poem of Ecstasy ~ Stokowski
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Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini; Hamlet / Scriabin: Poem of Ecstasy ~ Stokowski


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Audio CD, September 11, 1996
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$41.00 $16.98

Product Details

  • Orchestra: NY Stadium Symphony, Houston Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Stokowski
  • Composer: Tchaikovsky, Scriabin
  • Audio CD (September 11, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Everest
  • ASIN: B0000023H8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,190 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Frantasia for Orchestra (after Dante), Op. 32: Francesca da Rimini - TCHAIKOVSKY/SCRIABIN
2. Hamlet (Overture and Fantasy) - TCHAIKOVSKY/SCRIABIN
3. Le Peome D'Extase, Op. 54 - TCHAIKOVSKY/SCRIABIN

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It's hot in here! Leopold Stokowski's volatile, batonless hands transform Tchaikovsky's Dante-inspired fantasy into terrifying reality. The venerable maestro doesn't let up in Hamlet either, as he puts his trusty New York freelance orchestra through its paces, to staggering results. To cool down, Stokowski favors linear clarity over textural opulence in the Scriabin, abetted by a closely miked Houston Symphony. A disc that blends fire and ice into a potent musical and audiophile brew. Drink up! --Jed Distler

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By dv_forever on June 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This conductor was a specialist in sensational, colorful, over the top music. I really like Tchaikovsky's programmatic works, where his extravagant emotionalism is allowed to run wild without the constraints of symphonic form. Leopold Stokowski is the perfect conductor to realize the full intentions of these pieces.

Francesca da Rimini is a piece that is sometimes derided by critics, but what an intense orgasmic work it is! Tchaikovsky in his program music builds on the foundations set down by Franz Liszt, all the while reshaping the symphonic poem into his own brand of music, filled with originality. Lush orchestrations, soaring melodies, extreme expression coupled with manic assault is the stuff that Romantic dreams are made of. I haven't heard a more intense recording of this piece, just listen to the whirlwind strings throughout. The one thing I have to mention is the final moments with the tam tam strikes. The recorded sound is very fine for it's time but lacks the final amplitude of today's digital records, making the tam tam strikes not as overpowering as they can be. Listen to Pletnev's version with the Russian National Orchestra on DG for comparison. Pletnev really strikes that tam tam out of the park! Nonetheless, I take my hat off to Stokowski for his masterful realization of this piece that few conductors can hope to match.

The Hamlet symphonic poem is one that has been far less popular than Francesca da Rimini or Romeo and Juliet and with good reason. It's not as structurally sound or as melodically inspired as those two. But that doesn't matter in Stokowski's capable hands as he wrings the last drop of passion from this score. The only recording that even compares is probably Leonard Bernstein's version with the New York Philharmonic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Stokowski liked to keep up with innovations in recording technology, so he must have been fascinated by the idea of using 35 mm film stock as an audio medium. The results, as evidenced here, are spectacular. Even though the Hamlet dates from 1958, and the other two recordings from around that time, the sound could be mistaken for the best SACD today. It has enormous impact, warmth, and clarity. The works here are all opulent in orchestration, which added to the LP's reputation among audiophiles. The CD sounds just as good in Everest's Super Bit Mapping transfer.

As to the performances, the Francesca da Rimini was once without peer for excitement, but that was before we heard Markevitch and Mravinsky, who trump Stokowski's volatility by going volcanic on the pice. Even so, this is a wonderful reading, not at all excessive, with complete musicality to support the fervid drama.

Hamlet is the most famous item on the program because Stokowski single-handedly rehabilitated one of Tchaikovsky's neglected step-children. The work comes from the period of Sleeping Beauty, when Tchaikovsky was at the peak of inspiration. Not here, though. As a tone poem it suffers from a sprawling structure, too many diffuse elements loosely strung together, and no memorable melodies. Given all those drawbacks--not to mention that the opening theme all but quotes Francesca--Stokowski throws himself into the piece with cinematic conviciton, painting vivd images that surpass the potential of the score, a rare thing. Nobody to my knowledge has come close to this kind of intensity since, and the recording, which is in even better sound than the Francesca, remains a classic. You return to it not for Tchaikovsky'inspiration but for Stokowski's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Claris on September 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD
These are indeed ne-plus-ultra, sine-qua-non classic Stokowski performances, the most exhilarating performances of the 2 Tchaikovsky warhorse tone poems ever, recorded in in-your-face fabulous late'50s-audiophile scintillating stereo. The only other versions of the Tchaikovsky numbers that come close are those of Igor Markevitch on Philips Tchaikovsky: Complete Tone Poems. The CD has AGAIN been reissued, this time shorn of the Scriabin/Houston Poem of Ecstasy Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini; Hamlet (stokowski).
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on September 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The music is as great as the works they were inspired by. The Frances De Remini and Hamlet music by the Eminent Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsk (known for his sweeping Romanticism in such works as the Pathetique Symphony, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and Sleeping Beauty) is exceptional. Perhaps the best interpretor of Tchaikovsky's music is Antal Dorati but the other great conductors who do his music justice are Markevitch and Ormandy. Dante's classic story of the two Italian lovers who shared a forbidden romance and are doomed to hell is masterfully captured in the music. It seems Tchaikovsky had the special God-given talent to make such great Romantic Era music. It was a talent that was in much the same line as Mozart's exceptional abilities in the Classical repoirtaire. And the Hamlet Overture is another masterpiece of music. Shakespeare's vengeful prince, who has all the pyschological turmoil appropriate enough to be put into music, is orchestrated into musical bliss in the Overture. I highly recommend this music. Perhaps it would be better with those conductors I listed conducting.
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