Stokowski/Houston SO: Gliere "Ilya Mourometz" Symphony - Capitol P 8402
Jacket NM / LP EX
This superb LP – a beautiful collector’s copy – from Capitol (P 8402, US pressing, CFDS green label, mono) features Leopold Stokowski and the Houston Symphony Orchestra’s high-octane account of Gliere’s Symphony No. 3 “Ilya Mourometz”, taped in demonstration quality sound in the sumptuous acoustics of City Auditorium, Houston, on 6 March 1957.
Of an EMI CD re-issue of this recording, the eminent critic John Steane wrote for The Gramophone:
“As Stokowski was obviously born to conduct music of such dramatic spectacle and sonic gorgeousness [The Gliere], it is worth hearing for that reason alone, and the Houston strings are, to my ears, a match in every way for the Philadelphians, which is to say a class apart from anything you are likely to encounter today... The Alsatian-born Charles Loeffler, a contemporary of Debussy, emigrated to the States and became known as one of the Boston Classicists. Sorcery in his Pagan Poem (needed to secure the attentions of a truant lover) is provided by a concertante group of piano, cor anglais and three off-stage trumpets. It is a skilfully constructed piece with odd dashes of impressionist colour and harmony (it reminded me more often of d'Indy than Debussy), and is unlikely to receive a better (or indeed, any other) performance."
There are informative liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, printed in English only. The dazzling cover art was executed by Harold M. Kramer.