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Unpublished Manuscript Transcription of Bach’s “Fugue in G Minor”

Signed by Leopold Stokowski

Item: 22844
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STOKOWSKI, LEOPOLD. (1882-1977). English-born, American conductor. AMusMs. (Unsigned). 21pp. (Plus title page). Folio. N.p., N.d. Stokowski’s transcription for orchestra of Bach’s beloved organ work Fugue in G minor. Stokowski has written on the title page in red pencil, “Bach / Fugue / G minor / (longer) / 2d Version.” The musical appears to be entirely in Stokowski’s hand, but the instrumentation is in the hand of an amanuensis, except at the work’s conclusion where Stokowski has listed the instruments. Editorial emendations in red pencil are also in the maestro’s handwriting.

Stokowski began his professional career in his early twenties, first as organist and choirmaster at New York’s St. Bartholomew’s Church (1905-1908), then as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony (1909-1912). It was, however, in nearly 25 years as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1912-1936) that Stokowski achieved his greatest acclaim, as a musician of exceptional technique and wide-ranging interests. Stokowski also conducted (with Arturo Toscanini) the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1942-1943), was musical supervisor for, and appeared in, Walt Disney’s film Fantasia (1940), and founded (1962) the American Symphony Orchestra, which remains a forum for both established and new work.

“Stokowski became a controversial figure through his orchestral transcriptions of works by Bach and others, and his persistently revised instrumentations of established classics from Beethoven to Brahms to Richard Wagner and Puccini,” (The New Grove Dictionary). His personal contributions to the classics invariably included a rigorous attempt to improve the tonal quality of the music through an unconventional orchestral platform arrangement, guided by his longtime research into acoustics and electronics. Although Stokowski’s improvisations earned him the antagonism of contemporaries and scholars, the tonal richness of his performances did much to popularize classical music in this country.

Bach composed few works for orchestra, motivating Stokowski to transcribe this beloved organ piece into an immensely popular orchestral version, here performed by the New York Philharmonic under his baton in 1969, with an introduction by Leonard Bernstein. Our manuscript is a longer version of Bach’s fugue and appears to be unrecorded and unpublished. Rare.

Written in pencil on 24-stave Schirmer music paper; some pages loose. In generally fine condition.

Unpublished Manuscript Transcription of Bach’s “Fugue in G Minor”

Signed by Leopold Stokowski

$POR • item #22844

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