Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stokowski Celebration in Philadelphia

This week the Philadelphia Orchestra is celebrating Leopold Stokowski. Stokowski had a long and legendary tenure as music director of the orchestra, and it all began in 1912. Thus, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of his first concerts in Philadelphia. To commemorate this important part of its history the Philadelphia Orchestra is giving four concerts this week, each of which relates to Stokowski. For more information visit the orchestra's website at The conductor for all the concerts this week is the music director designate Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

I will be in Philadelphia this week for the Stokowski Festival - the revised edition of my Stokowski book will be out this fall - and a report for LSM will follow.

This video of part of the last movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 with Stokowski conducting dates from 1965 and the concert was given in Japan. It is typical of the great conductor. It is well-prepared and exciting but the frequent tempo changes - none of which are in the score - indicate that Stokowski was more interested in personalizing the score than doing what the composer intended. The work of a great interpreter? Or desecration of a great piece of music? This is the Stokowski Problem.

Paul E. Robinson 

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