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Arturo Toscanini's 1939 Beethoven Cycle / Nbc So


Release Date: 07/17/2007 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 1203   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jarmila NovotnáKerstin ThorborgJan PeerceNicola Moscona
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 6 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BEETHOVEN Symphonies: Nos. 1–9. Leonore Overtures: Nos. 1–3. Egmont: Overture Arturo Toscanini, cond; NBC SO; Jarmila Novotná (sop); Kerstin Thorborg (mez); Jan Peerce (ten); Nicola Moscona (bs); Westminster Ch MUSIC & ARTS 1203, mono (5 CDs: 370:12)


This set returns to domestic circulation the extraordinary Beethoven cycle that Toscanini led at Read more NBC in 1939—the first such release since the eight Naxos discs of nearly a decade ago. Now unavailable anywhere, they were withdrawn from circulation in this country shortly after their release in 1998. Unlike them, this set omits a few significant items from the cycle: a rather fierce Coriolan Overture, a magnificent Fidelio Overture; the Lento assai and Vivace from the op. 135 Quartet; the “Choral Fantasy” with Ania Dorfmann as pianist, and two brief excerpts from The Creatures of Prometheus . Aside from these omissions, Music & Arts has bypassed the many broadcast announcements that Naxos retained, inclusions that provided a welcome sense of occasion. That said, this is an important release, one that offers most of these six concerts in restorations that, while not always the equal to the best efforts of Naxos, seem to come from the same sources, the differences being mainly those resulting from divergent equalization and CEDAR noise suppression of the NBC acetates. Particularly apparent in this regard is M & A’s greater stress of treble in most instances and its filtering of extraneous noise. Note for example that the two infamous coughs between the opening chords of the “Eroica” have been excised, and the overall sound of that performance is well below the more natural Naxos transfer. But neither is a match for the superb RCA transfer of 1992, now unfortunately out of print. As the reading is (arguably) A.T.’s greatest achievement with this score, the deletion is all the more unfortunate. Elsewhere, when the Naxos releases surpass those in this set, improvement can readily be accomplished with either good treble and bass controls or, even better, a 10-band equalizer. Note, too, that the sound of this First and Ninth Symphony is better here than in any other I have heard.


Some brief comments about individual performances: Nos. 2 and 4 are superb and benefit from exposition repeats omitted in A.T.’s RCA accounts. This “Pastorale” is one of his great readings of the score, sometimes more relaxed than his gorgeous BBC account of 1937 and excellent NBC re-make of 1952. The Seventh is closer in style to the NBC 1951 recording than to either his June 14, 1935, BBC version or long-admired New York Philharmonic recording of a year later. In this 1939 NBC reading, we have the first example of Toscanini’s taking the work’s finale faster than Beethoven’s metronome marks indicate—a practice that many conductors since have favored. Moreover, the execution here is more polished than in 1951. All of the other performances offer significant glosses on the maestro’s studio versions and are often superior to them. The one exception is this Ninth Symphony, which suffers from first and third movements that are pushed much too hard. As for the overtures, all offer Toscanini’s finest achievements in the music, this Egmont being sonically superior to the (now deleted) RCA edition. With Chris Dyment’s uncommonly informative notes, this release is essential for anyone who cares about Beethoven or Toscanini and missed its content when the material first appeared in decent sound a decade ago.


FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/28/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
2.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/28/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
3.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/04/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/04/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
5.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
6.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
7.
Egmont, Op. 84: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/18/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
8.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/18/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
9.
Leonore Overture no 1 in C major, Op. 138 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/25/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
10.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/25/1939 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
11.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Jarmila Novotná (Soprano), Kerstin Thorborg (Alto), Jan Peerce (Tenor),
Nicola Moscona (Bass)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/02/1939 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: II. Andante cantabile con moto
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: III. Menuetto - Allegro molto e vivace
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: IV. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica": I. Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica": II. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica": III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica": IV. Allegro molto - Poco andante - Presto
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: I. Adagio molto - Allegro molto
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: II. Larghetto
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: III. Scherzo - Trio
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: IV. Allegro molto
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: I. Adagio - Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: II. Adagio
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: III. Menuetto: Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: IV. Allegro ma non troppo
Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b

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