• Stokowski on Chopin

This extraordinary track popped up this morning as one of Simon Callow’s choices on R3’s ‘Essential Classics’ (how I still loathe this programme title, one year on). Callow is culturally literate but even he underplayed the mind-blowing chutzpah of this arrangement.  Even harder to understand today is the milieu in which a transcription such as this was both artistically acceptable and regarded as worthy of audio recording by the LSO in the early 1970s.  But I’m glad it survives, even if only as a curiosity, one whose un-mazurka-like tempo is a rival to Bernstein’s ‘Nimrod’…


It’s almost tempting (but not quite!) to see connections in the light of today’s revelation that the ‘signer’ on Rothko’s painting at Tate Modern at the weekend is also of Polish origin.


%d bloggers like this: