J.S. Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D minor – Stokowski at 90

adam28xx – Mar 29, 2014 – 11:11
h/t Mary Poppins’ Practically Perfect Piercing on A♠

In 1972, Leopold Stokowski visited Prague to conduct two concerts with the Czech Philharmonic. By now a very frail 90-year-old, the Maestro’s taxing programme (played on two successive evenings) consisted of six of his Bach Transcriptions, followed after the interval by Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” and Scriabin’s “Poem of Ecstasy,” plus a couple of encores. It was recorded ‘live’ in ‘Phase 4 Stereo’ and for the first concert the TV cameras were on hand to capture Stokowski for almost the last time in his long career.

The programme opened with his own transcription of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, a work he had first performed and recorded in the 1920s. He had played it many times over the years but this is the last film to show him conducting his most famous Bach arrangement in public.

Stokowski soon gave up concerts altogether, due to his clearly evident frailty, but continued to make records until he was 95. His final studio recording of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was made with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1974 for RCA / BMG.