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  41:3 (01-02 /2018)
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Reviewer: George Chien

If you have reached a certain age there’s a chance that you were introduced to the music of J. S. Bach by Leopold Stokowski. There’s another chance that you liked what you heard, and an even better chance that you came eventually to the conclusion that what you’d been listening to might have been more Stokowski than it was Bach. So you put it aside.

But not Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. Indeed, this disc celebrates Stokowski’s Bach, not by performing it but by emulating it. Much like the master conjuror, he plays the first and last works on the disc in his own arrangements for a full 20th-century symphony orchestra. No period instruments. No insanely fast tempos, which anyway he relaxes at cadences. Overall, the program, including the cantata and the suite, is expertly performed and lovingly shaped—without egregious exaggerations—a tribute to Stokowski at his best.

If you liked what you heard way back then, try this disc with no apologies. You’ll like it.

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