Leopold Stokowski, Franck – Symphony In D Minor. Hilversum Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Insanely rare Japanese pressing of this Audiophile classic
Phase 4 was Decca’s souped-up hi-fi line, and it didn’t blush about offering garishly recorded releases, but here the engineering, though vivid, sounds normal. I don’t feel the need to own more than one Franck D minor, but in any case this performance is more about Stokowski than the composer: he does more pulling and stretching than anyone I’ve ever heard since Mengelberg, who in fact offers the best comparison. Here is a very old-fashioned orchestral favorite, once ubiquitous, now pushed to the fringes of the repertoire, done in Golden Age fashion. It’s as if by a sonic miracle a subscription concert from Philadelphia in the Thirties crossed through time. there is much lingering and caressing, so unless you enjoy being dipped in a candy vat, you should probably stay away. both the Franck and Messiaen are available in Decca’s bargain tribute to the conductor.