Leopold Stokowski Transcriptions and Orchestrations

    With Comments and Brief History by José Serebrier





Leopold Stokowski Transcriptions and Orchestrations

    With Comments and Brief History by José Serebrier



  José Serebrier with Leopold Stokowski reviewing a Serebrier score October 1963


Other Articles about Stokowski:
click here read about Stokowki Transcriptions by José Serebrier
click here to read about Leopold Stokowski and British Music by Edward Johnson
click here to read about Stokowski and Vaughan Williams by Edward Johnson
click here to read about Stokowski's Return to Britain by Edward Johnson
click here to read about Letters to Stokowski by Edward Johnson
click here to read about Stokowski and "His Symphony Orchestra" by James H. North
click here to read a biography of Leopold Stokowski
click here to read about great symphony orchestras of the USA
click here to go to the Home Page of stokowski.org


Leopold Stokowski Transcriptions and Orchestrations


Comments by José Serebrier


When the Leopold Stokowski Society approached me a few years ago with their idea that I should consider recording some of the Stokowski transcriptions, my first reaction was that these scores probably didn't need new versions, since Stokowski's numerous recordings were still available.  But Edward Johnson from the Stokowski Society persisted and sent me numerous other recordings of these works by a number of conductors.


After listening to a few of these versions I was persuaded to try my own hand.  At the time, I believed that the fact that I worked with Stokowski as associate conductor in New York for five years didn't give me any particular advantage, since during that tenure I had not incorporated his transcriptions into my repertoire.  I thought they were "his," and that his very personal interpretations were imprinted onto every note.  I felt strongly about not doing an imitation, since imitations are seldom as good as the original. 


Stokowski, on the other hand, played my compositions since I was 17, starting with my First Symphony, which he premiered as the last-minute replacement for the world-premiere of the Ives' Fourth Symphony, which was still too difficult for orchestras at the time.  He performed my Elegy for Strings at a Carnegie Hall concert the following year, and later on he opened the Carnegie Hall season with the premiere of my Poema Elegiaco


  CD of Serebrier Poema Elegiaco with the Bloch Violin Concerto conducted by José Serebrier on ASV


It is possible that because I remember the quality of sound that Stokowski obtained from orchestras, that this might have given me an edge, and in any case it provided me with a further reason to tackle the orchestrations.


Some of the works have such specific interpretation guidelines that to follow them would indeed create a clone of the Stokowski versions.  I listened to other conductor's recordings to observe how they had handled these directions to slow down, speed up, hold on to one note here and there, all written out in clear language just as Mahler did in his music.

Serebrier 2000

It was a predicament.  I had to study and decide on each one of these directives, and in the end I felt convinced that my own solutions improved the performances.  I tried to make the versions my own.  The first try was with the orchestrations of Mussorgsky works.  These made the most sense to me at the time, since Mussorgsky had left many of his works unfinished and many other composers had tried their hand at orchestrating them.  The first time I heard Stokowski's take on Pictures at an Exhibition was in Houston, Texas, when he premiered my First Symphony.  The concert included the Mussorgsky.  But I had never conducted it, only the Ravel version.  The Symphonic Synthesis of Boris was of great interest to me since I have conducted the opera many times in the original Mussorgsky orchestration, which was the basis for Stokowski's synthesis.


I realized that he did this at a time, early in the Twentieth Century, when the opera was unknown to American audiences, and this was a way to make this music known.  Some of the "fillers" in that CD are gems of brilliant, sensitive orchestration.  Favourites of mine are Tchaikovsky's "Solitude" and Mussorgsky's Entr'acte from Khovantchina, mini-masterpieces.


NAXOS SACD 6.110101


The success of this recording took me and the wonderful Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra by surprise, and not just the three GRAMMY nominations, but the press comments and the public's enthusiasm.  We quickly started to plan the next CD, which I had never expected, and Bach was the obvious choice.


The Toccata and Fugue in D minor had become Stokowski's signature piece, but I would not agree to include it.  I felt that it was so personal a statement that in doing a performance it might sound like an imitation.  Besides, Stokowski had recorded it many times.  Instead, I rummaged through the poorly kept manuscripts of dozens of orchestrations and with the help of Edward Johnson we came up with an enticing repertoire.  This recording was even more successful than the Mussorgsky, and it encouraged us to tackle the most ambitious follow-up: Wagner.


Here we had a different consideration.  These were not transcriptions, but symphonic syntheses of operas.  Stokowski's reasons at the time were similar to the ones I mentioned above: Wagner was still largely unperformed in the opera houses, and Stokowski wanted this music to be heard. The only work in which he made actual orchestration changes was the Ride of the Valkyries, where he cleverly accentuated some things in the second violins which might otherwise be obscured, and also made some flashy doublings.  On the other hand, he took away some doublings in the brass to clarify the texture.  The changes are in general quite subtle.  The other adjustments, in the large operatic chunks, were to link the different orchestral fragments and to give vocal lines to musical instruments.  But in general he left Wagner alone!  Letter after letter started to arrive demanding a continuation of the Bach recording and specifically requesting the Toccata and Fugue


Stokowski's personal score of his orchestration of Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 1

Eventually I got enough nerve to approach it, especially after I heard other versions both in recordings and public performances. I also listened to organ performances to try to get close to the "original", and studied the musicologist's notes that claimed that this amazing work may not be by Bach after all.  I wondered how Stokowski would have felt about that, considering the disdain he felt for musicologists and what they stood for.


NAXOS CD 8.557883 Bach Transcriptions Volume 1


This recording of Bach Transcriptions was quite successful and the public asked for more Bach.  So, I decided to devote a second CD to Stokowski's transcriptions of Bach, this time including the Toccata and Fugue in D minor


NAXOS CD 8.572050 Bach Transcriptions Volume 2


3 Bach Scores

  2 Three scores of Stokowski Bach transcriptions; see notes below regarding sources for the Stokowski transcriptions.

The Stokowski Orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition


Mussorgsky wrote his Pictures at an Exhibition or Tableaux d'une Exposition for piano in 1874.  The composition represented Mussorgsky's musical impressions of 10 (or perhaps 11) tableaux by Mussorgsky's friend Viktor Hartmann (1834-1873), shown at a retrospective exhibition of Hartmann's works.  Hartmann had died unexpectedly of an aneurysm the year before.  Hartmann's death is said to have made a deep impression on Mussorgsky, and Mussorgsky (who also died young - 7 days after his 42nd birthday, 1839-1881) later recounted that he composed these piano pieces in only six weeks.


In Mussorgsky's original piano composition of 1874, there are ten "tableaux", linked by "Promenades".  Mussorgsky composed the "promenade" music to represent an exhibition visitor walking from picture to picture. 


The original piano score order, with the numbered paintings is:

1 "Gnomus", Promenade,

2 "Il vecchio castello" (Old Castle), Promenade,

3 "Tuileries",

4 "Bydlo" (a heavy Polish cart), Promenade,

5 "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks",

6 "Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle", Promenade,

7 "Limoges, le marché" (Marketplace at Limoges),

8 "Catacombs",

9 "Baba-Yaga's Hut on Fowl's Legs",

10 "Great Gate of Kiev".


Source books indicate that Mikhail Tushmalov (1861-1896), a lesser Russian composer, was the first to orchestrate Pictures at an Exhibition in about 1891, but including only of 7 of the 10 pictures.  Sir Henry Wood also produced an orchestration of Pictures in 1915, but he apparently also made major changes to the original composition rather than a faithful orchestration of the original piano composition.  Ravel produced his famous orchestration of the complete 10 pictures in 1922 under a commission by Serge Koussevitzky.


Stokowski introduced the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's piano work in 22, 23 November 1929 concerts, after Koussevitzky's performance exclusivity of the Ravel orchestration ended. 


On November 17, 1939 Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra gave the premiere of Stokowski's orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.  Ten days later, on November 27, 1939, Victor recorded Stokowski and the Philadelphians performing this work in the Academy of Music.


The Stokowski orchestration is made up of 10 sections, counting both Promenades and Tableaux, but not exactly corresponding to Mussorgsky's original piano composition.  Stokowski left out two of the original piano tableaux:

3. "Tuileries", depicting children fighting after games, and

7. "Limoges, le marché" ("Marketplace at Limoges"). 


Stokowski is said not to be convinced that these two movements were in fact composed by Mussorgsky, but perhaps may have been added by Rimsky-Korsakov.  Stokowski further said in interviews that he found these movements to be more French than Russian. 


Stokowski's score for Tableaux d'une Exposition 1939 1


Leopold Stokowski was one of the twentieth century conductors most in tune with the compositional style of Mussorgsky, and was deeply read into Mussorgsky's scores.  Certainly, it is the dark, Russian tone which Stokowski felt was essential and wanted to assure in his orchestration.  Stokowski also revised sections of Mussorgsky's score to gain what he said in an interview was a more "Slavic" musical tone.  Stokowski's orchestration, although not yet as widely performed as is Ravel's, is particularly effective in the orchestral representation of Mussorgsky's art.


NAXOS CD 8.570293 Wagner Symphonic Syntheses


Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of Tristan und Isolde


From the start of his career, Leopold Stokowski was a great advocate of Wagner's music, which he conducted and recorded very often, and with which he had a special affinity.  Tristan und Isolde was one of Stokowski's favourite works.  He wrote:


"All through the three acts of Tristan, there is the sound of the despair and the ecstasy of love, but its supreme expression is in the garden scene in the second act and in the final scene of the third act.  Wagner created a new style, a new technique, new harmonic sequences, new combinations of timbres, and a new orchestral palette for Tristan.  He conceived of sound in a new tonal perspective, so that we hear the hunting horns so far away that they are merely a suggestion of harmony and rhythm.  Nearer we hear the sounds of the trees swaying in the forest during the Liebesnacht.  At other times, the music leaps towards us like a flame with burning impulsiveness.  It mounts up into great climaxes of sound.  The tempo is always agitated - always changing - and yet an unbroken line passes through every impulsive phrase and unifies the seemingly improvised tonal design.  This love music continues its over-powering eloquence when words cannot continue, when even life cannot further express itself.  It is the supreme and ultimate of the poetry of love."


Stokowski's "symphonic synthesis" consists of Wagner's own concert version of the Prelude and Liebestod, interpolating between them music of the Liebesnacht from the second act.  His intention was not to create a suite, but an extended symphonic poem, with the several sections moving seamlessly from one to the next, harmonically and thematically.  Stokowski did not alter Wagner's scoring but limited his input to replacing the vocal lines with instruments, such as the cellos performing Tristan's lines at the start of Liebesnacht and the violins taking up Isolde's.  At other times, Stokowski leaves Wagner's orchestral music alone, without the vocal lines, as Wagner himself had done in his own orchestral versions of scenes from his operas.


Stokowski's score of his transcription of Tristan und Isolde

(note Stokowski's hand-written change from "arranged" to "freely transcribed" on the front of the score)

Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis from Wagner's Parsifal: Act 3


In spite of his life-long championship of Wagner, Stokowski conducted only one Wagner opera in its entirety, a concert performance of Parsifal in three consecutive evenings during Easter 1933.  That experience moved him to devise a symphonic synthesis from Act 3, performed in Philadelphia the following year.  Stokowski wrote about his synthesis:


"I have tried to follow the development from the time when Parsifal receives enlightenment and initiation from Gurnemanz.  From that moment on, I have tried to continue the idea of a more complete and profound perception on Parsifal's part of the mysteries of which the Holy Grail is a symbol, and of which the outward manifestations are, first, Parsifal's initiation, and then his acceptance by the Knights, and finally the acknowledgement of him as their leader."


Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of Act 3 includes the transformation music from the conclusion of the final scene and the final moments when Parsifal heals Amfortas's wound by touching it with his spear.


Stokowski excluded the "Good Friday Spell" music from his version because Wagner himself had already made a concert version of it.  While Parsifal was Wagner's last music drama, he had worked on it for decades, and it was finally given its premiere in Bayreuth in 1882, a few months before the composer's death.  Bayreuth held the exclusive rights, and it took twenty years for the Metropolitan Opera to obtain the rights for the first American performance, on Christmas Eve 1903.

Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of Wagner's Das Rheingold


Stokowski first performed his Symphonic Synthesis of Wagner's Das Rheingold in 1933.  The beginning of the Synthesis consists of the Prelude, then the scene of Alberich and the Rhinemaidens, followed by the descent of Wotan and Loge into Nibelheim, then transitioning to Erda's warning to Wotan of the consequences of his actions, and to avoid the ring.  "...All that is, ends. A day of doom dawns for the Gods...".  Stokowski gives Erda's music to the English horn in a 5 minute extended solo in this beautiful transcription.


The Symphonic Synthesis continues with the dramatic conclusion of Das Rheingold, included in the Naxos recording.  For these particular excerpts Stokowski enhanced existing published scores with his own special brand of magic.  Das Rheingold forms the basis for the entire cycle of The Ring.  The final scene, the "Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla" depicts the mighty god Wotan hailing Valhalla with delight, as he leads the procession of gods and goddesses towards the bridge and into their home, the castle in Valhalla.  As the curtain falls, the gods enter Valhalla by a rainbow that has been thrown across the valley of the Rhine.  Here Stokowski used the edition prepared for concert use by the ardent Wagnerian conductor, Hermann Zumpe (1850-1903), further enriching the brass and percussion with vivid effect.  In addition, for this recording, the anvil stroke required by the scenario at the start of the scene has been reintroduced from the full opera score.

Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of Wagner's Die Walküre


Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of music from Die Walküre was first performed by Stokowski in 1933 and 1934.  His Symphonic Synthesis begins with an orchestral introduction leading up to Act 2 Scene 4, called the "Death Prediction" or "Todesverkundigung" scene in which Brünnhilde predicts death for Siegmund if he fights Hunding, Siegmund tells Brünnhilde of his determination, and Brünnhilde, moved by Siegmund's love for Sieglinde fatefully decides to aid Siegmund against Hunding - contrary to Wotan's orders.  Several vocal lines are given to the oboe and English horn.  In the Synthesis, this dramatic music is followed by the famous "Ride of the Valkyries", which is included in the Naxos recording. 


The "Ride of the Valkyries" opens the third act of Die Walküre.  In colourful orchestral strokes Wagner paints the wild ride of the warrior maidens through lightning and storms, carrying the bodies of dead heroes into Valhalla.  Stokowski simply added some of his own very colourful "tricks", such as doubling some of the violin runs with the piccolos, so they can sound even more brilliant and striking, and in other places removing some "padding" to enable inner voices to be heard more clearly.  He made these alterations minimally and, with Wagner's sound and effects in mind, achieved dramatic and highly effective results.


The "Magic Fire Music", the ending of Die Walküre, is one of Wagner's great accomplishments.  Wotan, the head of the gods, in pursuit of Brünnhilde, reaches the mountain summit.  He has decided that Brünnhilde should be stripped of her Valkyrie status and become a mere mortal.  In vain her sisters plead with him to spare Brünnhilde.  He threatens them unless they cease their interference and they depart with wild cries.  Brünnhilde seeks to justify her action as she addresses Wotan in the passage beginning "Thou, who this love within my breast inspired".  But the law of the gods has to be obeyed and Wotan must punish his favourite daughter for her transgressions of Valhalla's code.  He places Brünnhilde on a rock and bids her a heart-breaking farewell: she is to remain asleep on the rock and shall fall prey to the first man who finds and awakens her, now a mere woman and no longer a Valkyrie.  Wotan kisses her eye lids and as she falls into a permanent sleep he summons the god of fire, Loge, to provide a curtain of fire around Brünnhilde.  She had begged Wotan for this protective wall of fire so that only a real hero would dare to penetrate it and save her.  Again Stokowski enhances the orchestration and transfers Wotan's vocal lines to solo instruments or full orchestral sections.


Stokowski in 1968


To read about Other CDs of Stokowski Transcriptions, click here


Edward Johnson provides information on Stokowski Transcriptions scores:


Four scores as published by Broude Brothers from the collection of Edward Johnson are shown below:


Four Scores   2

Edward Johnson also advises that Theodore Presser Company is the source for the "unpublished" scores of Leopold Stokowski. (Broude Brothers offered the scores for the transcriptions which Stokowski had caused to be published, but Broude Brothers seems not currently active - perhaps a futher search will locate these scores).


The Theodore Presser published scores (located in suburban Philhadelphia: 588 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406 USA)are readily available by contacting Maria V. Iannacone, Manager, Rental and Performance Department at email miannacone@presser.com. The link to the Theodore Presser web site is shown below:


Theodore Presser


About the Author: José Serebrier


GRAMMY-winner conductor and composer José Serebrier is one of most recorded classical artists in history.  He has received 41 GRAMMY nominations in recent years.  All his recent recordings have received multiple GRAMMY nominations.


When José Serebrier was 21 years old, Leopold Stokowski hailed him as "the greatest master of orchestral balance".  After five years as Stokowski's Associate Conductor at New York's Carnegie Hall, Serebrier accepted an invitation from George Szell to become the Composer in Residence of the Cleveland Orchestra for Szell’s last two seasons.  Szell discovered Serebrier when he won the Ford Foundation American Conductors Competition (together with James Levine).  Serebrier was music director of America's oldest music festival, in Worcester, Massachusetts, until he organized Festival Miami, and served as its artistic director for many years.  In that capacity, Serebrier commissioned many composers, including Elliot Carter's String Quartet No. 4, and conducted many American and world premieres.


photo: Clive Barda

Serebrier has made international tours with the Juilliard Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Spain and others.


Serebrier's first recording, the Ives' 4th Symphony with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, won a Grammy nomination. 


Leopold Stokowski, assisted by José Serebrier conduct the 26 April 1965 premiere of Ives Symphony no 4.


His recording of the Mendelssohn symphonies won the UK Music Retailers Association Award for Best Orchestral Recording, and his series of Shostakovich's Film Suites won the Deutsche Schallplatten Award for Best Orchestral Recording.  Soundstage magazine selected Serebrier's recording of Scheherazade with the LPO as the Best Audiophile Recording. 


He has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, the Russian National Orchestra, Czech State Philharmonic Brno, Weimar Staatskapelle, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide symphony orchestras and many others. Serebrier Conducts Prokofiev, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky filmed at the Sydney Opera, has been shown over 50 times on U.S. television.  Serebrier conducted at the 2004 GRAMMY Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, telecast live to 175 countries.  Serebrier presently records for Naxos, BIS, Warner Classics, RPO Records and Sony/BMG.


recording Stokowski transcriptions with the Bournemouth Symphony


As composer, Serebrier has won most of the important awards in the United States, including two Guggenheims (as the youngest in that Foundation's history, at age 19), Rockefeller Foundation grants, commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Harvard Musical Association, the B.M.I. Award, Koussevitzky Foundation Award, etc.


Born in Uruguay of Russian and Polish parents, Serebrier has composed more than 100 works, published by Peer Music, Universal Edition Vienna, Kalmus, Warner Music, and Peters Corp.  His First Symphony was premiered by Leopold Stokowski (who premiered several of his works) when Serebrier was 17, as a last-minute replacement for then then still unplayable Ives 4th Symphony.  His music has been recorded by conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, among others. Serebrier made his US conducting debut at 19 with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, performing his Symphony No. 2, "Partita". His new Third Symphony, "Symphonie Mystique" received a GRAMMY nomination for "Best New Composition of 2004".  It was premiered at Carnegie Hall, New York in 2005.  His Carmen Symphony CD, with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, won the Latin GRAMMY for "Best Classical Album of 2004".  The French music critic Michel Faure has written a new book about José Serebrier, published last year in France by L'Harmattan.  Serebrier's first recording with the New York Philharmonic, on Warner Classics, was released recently, and his new recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, for Sony Classical was also recently released.



Click here to read the Edward Johnson article on Leopold Stokowski and British Music.


Click here to read the Edward Johnson article on Leopold Stokowski and Ralph Vaughan Williams.


Other CDs of Stokowski Transcriptions:


Chandos Series

Matthias Bamert / BBC Philharmonic


"Stokowski's Symphonic Bach"

Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565

Aria "Air on the G-String" (from Orchestral Suite no 3, BWV 1068

"Little" Fugue in g minor BWV 578

"Sheep May Safely Graze" from Cantata BWV 208

Prelude in B minor BWV 869 from Book I of the "Well-Tempered Clavier"

Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582

'Siciliano' from Sonata for Violin and Clavier BWV 1017

'Mein Jesu' BWV 478 from the Schemelli Songbook

Chorale from the 'Easter Cantata' BWV 4

Adagio in C from Toccata, Adagio and Fugue BWV 564

Chorale from "Komm, süsser Tod" BWV 478

"Wir glauben all an einen Gott" ('Giant Fugue') BWV 690

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 9259



"Stokowski Encores"

Handel: Overture in D minor

Giovanni Gabrieli: Sonata Pian e Forte (premiere recording)

Jeremiah Clarke: Trumpet Prelude

Johann Mattheson: Air (premiere recording)

Mozart: Piano Sonata no 11 - Turkish March

Beethoven: Adagio from the Piano Sonata no 14 in C-sharp minor "Moonlight Sonata"

Schubert: Serenade (from Schwanengesang D 957 - premiere recording)

Franck: Panis Angelicus

Chopin: Marche funèbre (Piano Sonata no 2 in Bb minor - premiere recording)

Debussy: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Préludes Book I no 8 - premiere recording)

Ippolitov-Ivanov: "In the Manger"

Shostakovich: United Nations March (premiere recording)

Tchaikovsky: Quartet no 1, opus 11, D major: Andante cantabile

Albeniz: Festival in Seville from Iberia

Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 9359


"Stokowski's Mussorgsky"

A Night on the Bare Mountain

Boris Godunov: Symphonic Synthesis

Entr`acte to Act IV of Khovanshchina

Pictures at an Exhibition

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 9445



"Stokowski's Wagner"

Die Walküre: Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music

Tristan and Isolde: Symphonic Synthesis

Parsifal: Symphonic Synthesis from Act III

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 9686



"Stokowski's Symphonic Baroque"

Handel: Suite from Water Music (premiere recording)

Buxtehude: Sarabande and Courante (premiere recording)

Antonio Cesti: Tu mancavi a tormentarmi, crudelissima speranza

Handel: Dead March from Saul (premiere recording)

Purcell: Suite (premiere recording - music from chamber works, The Fairy Queen, and Dido and Aeneas)

Tomás Luis de Victoria: Jesu dulcis memoria (premiere recording)

Byrd: Pavane and Gigue

Corelli: Adagio (from Violin Sonata opus 5 no 5 - premiere recording)

Gluck: Sicilienne (from Armide)

Vivaldi: Concerto grosso No. 11 in D minor (from opus 3)

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 9930


"Stokowski's Symphonic Bach" Volume 2

Fantasia and Fugue in G minor BWV 542

Arioso - Largo from Concerto for harpsichord and strings BWV 1056

Wachet auf - Chorale Prelude BWV 645

Ein' feste Burg

Chaconne in D minor - from Partita no 2 in D minor BWV 1004

Andante sostenuto - from Sonata no 2 in A minor BWV 1003

Preludio in E - from Partita no 3 in E major BWV 1006

Aus tiefer Noth - Chorale Prelude BWV 686 (from Clavier-Übung Book III - premiere recording)

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - from Cantata BWV 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben"

My Soul Is Athirst - from St Matthew Passion BWV 244

Sarabande - from Partita no 1 in B minor BWV 1002

Aus der Tiefe rufe ich - Chorale Prelude BWV 745 (now attributed to CPE Bach)

Fugue in C minor - from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I BWV 847

Matthias Bamert

BBC Philharmonic

CHAN 10282




Naxos Series

Jose Serebrier / Bournemouth Symphony


Mussorgsky - Stokowski

Mussorgsky: A Night on Bare Mountain

Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina, Entr'acte to Act IV

Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov: A Symphonic Synthesis

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Tchaikovsky: Humoresque, opus 10, no 2

Tchaikovsky: Solitude (Again, as before, alone) opus 73, no 6

"Traditional Slavic Christmas Music"

(in his notes to the Chandos 9349 CD, Edward Johnson wrote: In 1918, an English-language edition of "Folk Song Carols for Christmas" was published in America and included several by Russian composers, one of which - entitled In the Manger - was ascribed to Ippolitov-Ivanov. In 1932, Stokowski made a very simple arrangement of this carol but rather curiously deleted the reference to Ippolitov-Ivanov and later published it himself as "Traditional Slavic Christmas Music".

Jose Serebrier

Bournemouth Symphony

NAXOS SACD 6.110101 and NAXOS 8.557645




Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions

Bach: Aria "Air on the G-String" (from Orchestral Suite no 3, BWV 1068)

Bach: "Was mir behagt" BWV 208, "Hunt Cantata": Aria: Sheep may safely graze

Bach: "Little" Fugue in g minor BWV 578

Bach: Chorale from "Komm, süsser Tod" BWV 478

Bach: Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4: Jesus Christus Gottes Sohn

Bach: St. John Passion, BWV 245: Aria: "Es ist vollbracht!"

Bach: Clavierubung III: "Wir glauben all' an einen Gott", BWV 680

Bach: Orgelbuchlein: "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland", BWV 599

Liturgical melodies: Veni Creator Spiritus and Veni Emmanuel

Handel: Messiah: Pastoral Symphony

Purcell: "When I am laid in earth" from Dido and Aeneas

Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582

Jose Serebrier

Bournemouth Symphony

NAXOS CD 8.557883


Stokowski - Bach Transcriptions - Volume 2

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056: II. Largo (Arioso)

Bach: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645

Bach: Das Orgel-Buchlein: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639

Bach: Adagio in C from Toccata, Adagio and Fugue BWV 564

Bach: Mein Jesu! was vor Seelenweh, BWV 487

Bach: Ein Feste Burg

Bach: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147: Chorale: Jesus bleibet meine Freude

Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I: Prelude No. 24 in B Minor, BWV 869

Bach: 'Siciliano' from Sonata for Violin and Clavier BWV 1017

Palestrina: Adoramus te Christe

William Byrd: Pavane and Gigue

Jeremiah Clarke: Suite in D Major: Prince of Denmark's March,

Boccherini: String Quintet in E Major, Op. 11, No. 5, G. 275: III. Minuet

Johann Matheson: Suite No. 5 in C Minor for Harpsichord: Air

Hoffstetter: String Quartet in F Major, attributed to Haydn opus 3 no 5: Serenade

Bach: Fugue in C minor - from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I BWV 847

Jose Serebrier

Bournemouth Symphony

NAXOS CD 8.572050



Stokowski - Wagner Symphonic Syntheses

Das Rheingold, Scene IV: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla

Tristan und Isolde: Symphonic Synthesis

Parsifal: Act III: Symphonic Synthesis

Die Walküre: Act III: Magic Fire Music

Die Walküre: Act III: Ride of the Valkyries

Jose Serebrier

Bournemouth Symphony

NAXOS CD 8.570293



Stokowski Transcriptions - Wolfgang Sawallich

Bach: "Sheep May Safely Graze" from Cantata BWV 208

Bach: Chorale "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (from Cantata BWV140)

Bach: "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" Chorale (from Cantata BWV 80)

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

Boccherini: String Quintet No 1 in E opus 11 no 5 G 275 - 3rd mvmt Minuetto

Beethoven: Piano Sonata no 14 in C sharp minor "Moonlight" opus 27 no 2 - Adagio sostenuto

Chopin: Prelude in D minor, opus 28 no 24

Franck: Panis Angelicus (1872)

Tchaikovsky: Quartet no 1, opus 11, D major: Andante cantabile

Tchaikovsky: Romance opus 38 no 3. Sred' shumnogo bala ("At The Ball")

Debussy: Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Debussy: Préludes I, no 10 - "La cathédrale engloutie"

Rachmaninov: Morceaux de fantaisie opus 3 no 2 Prelude in C sharp minor

Wolfgang Sawallisch / Philadelphia Orchestra

Marjana Lipovsek, soprano

EMI Classics 7243 5 55592 2


The Fantastic Stokowski: Transcriptions for Orchestra - Erich Kunzel

Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight": Adagio sostenuto

Boccherini: Minuet in A major from String Quintet Op. 11 No. 5, G275

Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D flat major

Debussy: Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Rachmaninov: Morceaux de fantaisie opus 3 no 2 Prelude in C sharp minor

Erich Kunzel / Cincinnati Pops

Telarc CD-80338



Mussorgsky: Symphonic Transcriptions by Leopold Stokowski - Oliver Knussen

Pictures at an Exhibition

Boris Godunov – Symphonic Synthesis

Entr’acte to Khovanshchina (Act IV)

Night on Bare Mountain – Witches’ Sabbath

Oliver Knussen / Cleveland Orchestra

Deutche Grammophon 457 646-2



The Fantastic Stokowski: Transcriptions for Orchestra - Erich Kunzel

Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight": Adagio sostenuto

Boccherini: Minuet in A major from String Quintet Op. 11 No. 5, G275

Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D flat major

Debussy: Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Rachmaninov: Morceaux de fantaisie opus 3 no 2 Prelude in C sharp minor

Erich Kunzel / Cincinnati Pops

Telarc CD-80338


Stravinsky Bach Stokowski - Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

"Little" Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Bach: Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor BWV 582 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Stravinsky: Pastorale (1907, rescored 1933 transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin / Philadelphia Orchestra

DG 479 1074



Yannick Nézet-Séguin shows how it is done (con amore)


Bach-Stokowski: Transcriptions pour orchestra symphonique - Jacques Grimbert

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

Chorale "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (from Cantata BWV140)

Chorale from "Komm, süsser Tod" BWV 478

Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582

Aria "Air on the G-String" (from Orchestral Suite no 3, BWV 1068)

Chaconne (From Violin Partita no 2 BWV 1004)

Prelude (from Violin Partita No. 3 BWV 1006)

Arioso "Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe" (from Cantata BWV 156)

"Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" Chorale (from Cantata BWV 80)

Jacques Grimbert / Orchestre de Paris-Sorbonne

Arsis Classics AS-00-A-64004-C



An Evening with Leopold Stokowski - Richard Egarr

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

Cesti: 'Tu mancavi a tormentarmi'

Handel: Suite from the Water Music

Bach: Aria "Air on the G-String" (from Orchestral Suite no 3, BWV 1068)

Purcell: Suite of 5 Purcell pieces

Palestrina (attributed): 'Adoramus te, Christe'

Ockeghem (orchestrated by Richard Egarr): Intemerata Dei Mater

Tchaikovsky: March Slav

Richard Egarr / Brussels Philharmonic

Glossa GCDSA 922209



J. S. Bach Orchestral Transcriptions - Robert Pikler (all transcribed by Leopold Stokowski)

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major BWV 564 - Adagio

"Little" Fugue in g minor BWV 578

Chorale "Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn" from "Christ Lag in Todes Banden" Easter cantata BWV 4

Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582

Chorale from "Komm, süsser Tod" BWV 478

Bach: Chorale prelude: "Wir glauben all an einen Gott" BWV 680

Robert Pikler / Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Chandos CHAN 6532


Stokowski Transcriptions - James Sedares

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

James Sedares / New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Koch 3-7344-2 H12



The following CDs contain other works, and include Stokowski Transcriptions


Philip Jones Brass Ensemble: Festive Brass


Leopold Stokowski also transcribed the music of Pablo Casals: O vos omnes, a liturgical work intended for the Easter holy week composed by Casals in 1932 for mixed choir. Transcribed by Stokowski for brass ensemble --- an example of the breadth of Stokowski's interest.


Pablo Casals: O vos omnes - Stokowski transcription

Alfred Uhl: Festfanfare

Franck: "Pièce Héroïque"

Sir Arthur Bliss: Fanfare for the Lord Mayor of London

Henri Tomasi: Fanfares Liturgiques

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Britten: Russian Funeral

Britten: The Eagle has Two Heads

Richard Strauss: Festmusik der Stadt Wein

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

LP:  Argo ZRG 912,  CD:  Marcophon CD 926-2



Debussy: Engulfed Cathedral - Geoffrey Simon

Debussy: Engulfed Cathedral (Préludes I: "cathédrale engloutie") - Stokowski transcription

Debussy: L'Isle Joyeuse - orchestrated by Bernardino Molinari

Debussy: "Deux Arabesques" - orchestrated by Bernardino Henri Mouton

Debussy: La Mer

Debussy: Bruyères - orchestrated by Percy Grainger

Debussy: Danse – Tarantelle Styrienne - orchestrated by Maurice Ravel

Debussy: Children's Corner - orchestrated by André Caplet

Geoffrey Simon / Philharmonia Orchestra

Cala Records CACD1024



Debussy: Night in Granada - Geoffrey Simon

Debussy: "Night in Granada" (from Estampes: "La soirée dans Grenade") - Stokowski transcription

Debussy: Clair de lune - orchestrated by André Caplet

Debussy: "Pagodes" - orchestrated by Percy Grainger

Debussy: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair - orchestrated by William Gleichmann

Debussy: Nocturnes: Nuages, Fêtes, Sirènes

Debussy: Première Rapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra - James Campbell clarinet

Debussy: Petite Suite opus 12 - orchestrated by Henri Büsser

Geoffrey Simon / Philharmonia Orchestra

Cala Records CACD1025


Johann Sebastian Bach Transcriptions - Esa-Pekka Salonen

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (transcription by Leopold Stokowsi)

Fantasy and Fugue in C Minor (transcription by Edward Elgar)

Musical Offering (transcription by Anton Webern)

Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major "St. Anne" (transcription by Arnold Schoenberg)

"Little" Fugue in G Minor (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Suite for Organ, Harpsichord and Orchestra (selections from Orchestral Suites 2 & 3 (transcription by Gustav Mahler)

Esa-Pekka Salonen / Los Angeles Philharmonic

Sony SK 89012



Twentieth Century Bach - Virtuoso Orchestral Transcriptions - Seiji Ozawa

Prelude and fugue, E-flat major "St. Anne", BWV 552 (transcription by Arnold Schoenberg)

Choral variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her' ich her", BWV 769 (transcription by Igor Stravinsky)

Ricercare a 6 from "Musikalisches Opfer" BWV 1079 (transcription by Anton Webern)

Partita in D minor BWV 1004: Chaconne (transcription by Hideo Saito)

Toccata and fugue in D minor BWV 565 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Seiji Ozawa / Boston Symphony

Philips 432 092-2


Bach Métamorphoses - Yoav Talmi

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

William Walton: The Wise Virgins ballet suite (choir of Cantata BWV 99, Chorale of BWV 727, aria from Cantata BWV 85, overture of Cantata BWV 26, air from Cantata BWV 208, chorale finale of Cantata BWV 129)

Bach: Fugue in G major, BWV 577 (transcription by Gustav Holst)

Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor BWV 537 (transcription by Sir Edward Elgar)

Bach: Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971 (transcription for keyboard and orchestra by Yoav Talmi)

Bach: Ricercare a 6 from "Musikalisches Opfer" BWV 1079 (transcription by Anton Webern)

Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582 (transcription by Ottorino Respighi)

Yoav Talmi / Orchestre symphonique de Québec

ATMA ACD2 2570



Five Versions of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue - Nikos Athinaos


Five Transcriptions of Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582 by Leopold Stokowski, Eugen d'Albert, Franz Liszt, Max Reger, and the original organ work

Nikos Athinaos / Staatsorchester Frankfurt

Signum SIG X 93-00



A Salute to Disney - Arthur Fiedler

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski) and also includes music from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio, "Mary Poppins" Medley, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Song Of The South, "The Happiest Millionaire" medley, "Mickey Mouse March" from The Mickey mouse Club, Tchaikowsky "Waltz Of The Flowers", Dukas "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", Mussorgsky "A Night On bald Mountain.

Arthur Fiedler / Boston Pops

DG 447 013 2GH


Richard Wagner Orchestral Music – Charles Gerhardt

Tristan and Isolde: Love Music from Acts II and III (as arranged by Leopold Stokowski)

Die Walküre: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music

Siegfried Idyll

Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music

Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries

Charles Gerhardt / National Philharmonic

Chesky CD161



Songs of the Earth - 25 Hours on our Planet – John Mauceri

Arnold Schoenberg: Gurre Lieder - Seht die Sonne (see the sun rise)

Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt - Morning

Carl Nielsen: Helios overture

Maurice Ravel: Daphnis and Chloé - Dawn

Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde: Love Music from Acts II and III (as arranged by Leopold Stokowski)

Franz Waxman: Dusk

John Mauceri / Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

Philips 438 867-2



American Youth Symphony - Mehli Mehta

Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde: Love Music from Acts II and III (as arranged by Leopold Stokowski)

Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Suite

Mehli Mehta / American Youth Symphony

Protone PRCD 1109


Rozhdestvensky Conducts Ippolitov-Ivanov & Mussorgsky

Mussorgsky-Stokowski Pictures at an Exhibition in the Stokowski orchestration

Alexandre Scriabin: Symphony no 5, opus 60 "Prometheus, Poem of Fire"

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov: Caucasian Sketches, opus 10

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky / USSR State Symphony

Russian Revelation RV 10073



Mussorgsky - Stokowski: Pictures At An Exhibition - Kazuki Yamada

Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Maurice Ravel: La valse

Mussorgsky-Stokowski Pictures at an Exhibition in the Stokowski orchestration

Kazuki Yamada / Japan Philharmonic

Exton DSD 489



Pomp and Pizazz - Erich Kunzel

Hector Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust, opus 24 Rakoczi March

Sir Edward Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March no 1 in D major, opus 39 no 1

Julius Fucik: Entry of the Gladiators

Richard Hayman: March Medley

John Ireland: Epic March

John Philip Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever as arranged by Leopold Stokowski

Josef Suk: Towards a New Life, Op. 35c

P. I. Tchaikovsky: Coronation March

traditional: When The Saints Go Marching In

Josef Franz Wagner: Under the Double Eagle

John Williams: Olympic Fanfare

Erich Kunzel / Cincinnati Pops

Telarc CD-80122


Artur Rodzinski Artist Profile

Manuel de Falla: El amor brujo: Ritual Fire Dance

Manuel de Falla: El sombrero de tres picos: Suite no 1 and Suite no 2

Enrique Granado: Danzas españolas for Piano, opus 37: no 5 Andaluza

Isaac Albeniz: Iberia: no 13, Navarra (unfinished)

Isaac Albeniz: Iberia: Book 1 no 3 Fête-dieu à Seville as arranged by Leopold Stokowski (note: arrangement attributed to Arbos but in fact it’s by Stokowski)

Isaac Albeniz: Iberia:, Book 2, no 3 Triana

Mikhail Glinka: Russlan and Ludmilla: Overture

Modest Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina: Act 1 Prelude "Dawn on the Moscow River"

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture, opus 36

P. I. Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture

Richard Strauss: Salome opus 54: Dance of the seven veils

Richard Strauss: Le bourgeois gentilhomme - Dance Suite

Richard Strauss: Tod und Verklärung opus 24

Artur Rodzinski / Royal Philharmonic

EMI Classics 7243 5 68742 2 0



Russian Masterpieces - Charles Gerhardt

Alexander Borodin: Borodin In the Steppes of Central Asia

Alexander Borodin: March from Prince Igor Act 3

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov: Caucasian Sketches

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture

Dmitri Shostakovich: Prelude in Eb, opus 34 no 14 (as orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski but not credited to him)

Charles Gerhardt / National Philharmonic

Menuet 160002-2



Romantic Favorites - various conductors on a Reader's Digest record

Albinoni: Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ

Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings

Chopin Nocturne in E-Flat Major, opus 9 no 2

Claude Debussy: Beau Soir

Gabriel Faure: Pavane, opus 50, Berceuse opus 16

Ignacy Paderewski: Minuet in G opus 14 no 1

Satie's Gymnopedie No. 3 (orch. Debussy);

Sibelius's Berceuse;

Johann Strauss Jr. An der Elbe waltz opus 477

Tchaikovsky's Solitude (again in an uncredited Stokowski orchestration).

the Tchaikovsky- Stokowski conducted by Charles Gerhardt / National Philharmonic

Menuet 160004-2


Asian Youth Orchestra - 10th Anniversary

recorded "live" in a concert at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington on August 16, 1999

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (transcription by Leopold Stokowski)

Tchaikovsky: Symphony no 4

Sergiu Comissiona / Asian Youth Orchestra

Asian Youth Orchestra CD



Serenade - Famous Classical Works

Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV1068: Air ('Air on a G String')

Corelli: Concerto grosso Op. 6 No. 8 in G minor 'fatto per la notte di Natale'

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (Orphée et Euridice): Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Handel: Largo from Xerxes (instrumental arrangement by Neville Marriner)

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (from Solomon)

Mozart: Serenade No. 13 in G major, K525 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik'

Pachelbel: Canon and Gigue

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas Act 3 Scene 2 "When I am laid in earth" - Dido's Lament - transcription by Leopold Stokowski

Iona Brown / Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Hänssler HAEN 98591



Click here to read the Edward Johnson article on Stokowski and Vaughan Williams .


Click here to read the Edward Johnson article on Leopold Stokowski Letters .


Click here to read the Edward Johnson article on Stokowski's Return to Britain .


Click here to read the José Serebrier article on Stokowki Transcriptions


Click here to read the James H. North article on Stokowski and "His Symphony Orchestra"


Click here to go to the Home Page of stokowski.org .


1  photographs by Larry Huffman of materials from the Stokowski Archives courtesy of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2  scores from the collection of Edward Johnson.



If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address: leopold.stokowski@gmail.com  


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