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1957-2007 - Toscanini Anniversary - Shostakovich, Grofé, Etc


Release Date: 01/30/2007 
Label:  Urania   Catalog #: 313   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichFerde GroféSamuel BarberJean Sibelius,   ... 
Performer:  Nicola MosconaLeonard WarrenNan MerrimanJan Peerce,   ... 
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony OrchestraChorusRobert Shaw Chorale
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TOSCANINI ANIVERSARY 1957–2007 Arturo Toscanini, cond; NBC SO; Zinka Milanov (sop); 3 Nan Merriman (mez); 3 Jan Peerce (ten); 3 Leonard Warren (bar); 3 Nicola Moscona (bs); 3 Robert Shaw Chorale 4 URANIA 313, mono (3 CDs: 151:06) Broadcast: New York Read more 3/12/1944; 1 6/27/1944; 2 Live: New York 5/25/1944 3


BARBER Adagio for Strings. BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture. Romeo and Juliet: Excerpts. BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture. Gesang der Parzen. 4 GR0FÉ Grand Canyon Suite. SAINT-SAËNS Symphony No. 3. SIBELIUS Lemminkäinen Suite: The Swan of Tuonela. 2 SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 1. 1 R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks. VERDI Hymn of the Nations. 3 Rigoletto: Act 3 3


As this headnote may well suggest, everything in this set is from “official” releases. Nevertheless, it is not redundant, all save the Verdi items, the Berlioz overture and the Strauss Till currently being out of print. Consequently, the first question to be settled is how do these transfers compare to their predecessors? Very well indeed! So much so, in fact, that one might well guess they were taken directly from releases in RCA’s 1992 “Toscanini Edition.” From a sonic standpoint, the only major difference I could detect is that Urania has (unnecessarily, I think) brightened things. A slight treble cut, however, should correct this. What is inexcusable, though, is a piece of butchery in the Romeo and Juliet excerpts. We are given the 26-second prelude, as it were, to the “Festivities” at the Capulets. Then following the “dominant” forte chord that should lead into those festivities, we are thrust into the “Love” music that should be heard after what is omitted. This is inexcusable. It would have made far more sense, if space were, indeed, a problem, to have omitted the Berlioz overture, which is currently available, and include the excised item, which is three minutes shorter than that overture.


This glaring flaw aside, this set is worth acquiring for those seeking the repertoire it encompasses. In addition to the generally fine sound, it contains some of Toscanini’s finest work at NBC. The Saint-Saëns is one of the prizes. Not only does it offer one of many examples that contradict the notion that the conductor’s tempos were always faster than the so-called “norm,” it provides a cogent example of how Toscanini could make a work that is potentially bombastic and imbue it with a welcome (and rarely encountered) nobility. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, the underplayed directness of his approach to the Barber and Sibelius scores conveys all their implicit gloom without ever spilling over into sentimentality. And although currently available the two Verdi items may be welcomed by those who may want them, but do not need other items that are included in the multi-disc set in which they are contained. As for the Strauss, it remains one of the most sonically impressive of Toscanini’s recordings and, in its breadth, atypical of all but his last NBC broadcast of the work. Both Brahms pieces are superbly done, the Gesang der Parzen being a prime example of how Toscanini often directed attention to an undeservedly neglected score. All in all, this is a valuable set, but one that could have been even better had more care been exercised in its production.


FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in F minor, Op. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; USSR 
Date of Recording: 03/12/1944 
Venue:  Live  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
2.
Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/10/1945 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
3.
Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/19/1942 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
4.
Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22: no 3, Swan of Tuonela by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1897; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/27/1944 
Venue:  Live  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
5.
Symphony no 3 in C minor, Op. 78 "Organ" by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1886 
Date of Recording: 1952 
6.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/04/1952 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
7.
Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1844; France 
Date of Recording: 01/19/1953 
8.
Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Excerpt(s) by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
Date of Recording: 1947 
9.
Rigoletto: Act 3 by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Nicola Moscona (Bass), Leonard Warren (Baritone), Nan Merriman (Mezzo Soprano),
Jan Peerce (Tenor), Zinka Milanov (Soprano)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/25/1944 
Venue:  Live  Madison Square Garden, New York City 
Language: Italian 
10.
Hymn of the Nations by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Jan Peerce (Tenor)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/25/1944 
Venue:  Live  Madison Square Garden, New York City 
Language: Italian 
11.
Academic Festival Overture in C minor, Op. 80 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/06/1948 
12.
Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/27/1948 
Language: German 

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