Penn Library

Leopold Stokowski:
Making Music Matter

Curated by Marjorie Hassen

Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania


Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, op. 92
"Allegro con brio" (final measures)

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Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Recorded on 6, 15, and 25 April 1927

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 7, op. 92, A major
Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, n.d.

Conducting score marked for performance by Leopold Stokowski
4th movement, closing measures

Critics have often taken Stokowski to task for altering many of the works he conducted. To informed listeners, these changes could be particularly jarring in performances of standard concert repertory, both on stage and in recordings. Stokowski, of course, was not alone in departing from the intentions of certain composers, as recordings made of others of his generation testify.

An examination of Stokowski's conducting scores turns up many different types of alterations. Dynamic and tempo changes are perhaps the most unobtrusive, while the addition of instruments to the orchestration, doubling of one instrumental part by another, cuts, and unabashed reconceptions of rhythmic or melodic passages are the most blatant. The final measures of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (above) offer a number of examples of the conductor's interpretive impulses, in this case, related to the work's orchestration.

Stokowski on Altering Composer's Music
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From an interview with John Amis, July 1956

Publicity photographs
Photographer: Bender
Place: New York
late 1930s

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