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Toscanini Conducts Mozart And Vaughan-williams


Release Date: 12/11/2007 
Label:  Opus Kura   Catalog #: 2045   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsWolfgang Amadeus MozartJohann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Symphonies: No. 40; No. 41, “Jupiter.” VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis Arturo Toscanini, cond; NBC SO OPUS KURA 2045, mono (67:52)


This release commands attention for a number of reasons. For one, unlike many of the historical items to come from Opus Kura, it offers transfers, which, if not ideal, are far superior to some of this company’s previous efforts. Moreover, it restores to Read more circulation Toscanini’s only studio recording—the last of his four surviving performances of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41. But the Vaughan Williams Fantasia may prove the most interesting item here. For one thing, it certainly was not central to Toscanini’s repertoire. He led it but three times, initially with the BBC Symphony in 1938, and twice at NBC: on his first broadcast of the orchestra’s second season (October 15, 1938) and later on November 18, 1945, the latter one featured here. It is particularly interesting in the context of the conductor’s earlier NBC account (Guild 2211) in that it disproves (as so many other examples do) the not infrequent generalization that Toscanini was always the same from one performance of a given work to the next. This later account of the Fantasia is less expansive than its NBC predecessor was, flowing a bit more freely, but still conveying the haunting eeriness of its modal harmonies. Both readings are gorgeous. This transfer is derived from V Discs that have surprisingly good sound. Surface noise proves bothersome in only a few instances. Treble reduction helps to soften its impact and to tame the overly bright string tone.


The Mozart 41 is another matter. Although it benefits from a transfer taken from RCA 78s, and consequently offers a fuller bass than in that of the company’s now-deleted CD issue, it is Toscanini’s weakest surviving performance of the work, very much inferior to his more pointedly inflected, flexible, and less hurried account from the 1940 NBC broadcast available from Music & Arts (833) and in Pristine’s quieter transfer of that M & A release. The Symphony No. 40 is taken from the 78s of the first of Toscanini’s two studio versions produced in 1938. Here the sound is considerably noisier, especially in the second movement, than in Mark Obert-Thorn’s fine transfer for Naxos (8 .110895). With Toscanini’s sonically superior 1950 studio account probably still available from RCA (59481), this is the least significant item here. Nonetheless, this is a valuable release that, despite some shortcomings, should prove interesting, especially to Toscanini devotees.


FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

1. Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1919; England 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
Length: 14 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: NBC Studio 8-H, New York City (1938 - 1939) 
2. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550: 1st movement, Molto allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  NBC Studio 8-H, New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: NBC Studio 8-H, New York City (1945 - 1946) 
3. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550: 2nd movement, Andante by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/18/1945 
Venue:  Live  New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
4. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550: 3rd movement, Minuet by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
5. Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550: 4th movement, Allegro assai by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
6. Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter": 1st movement, Allegro vivace by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 47 Secs. 
7. Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter": 2nd movement, Andante cantabile by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
8. Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter": 3rd movement, Menuetto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
9. Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter": 4th movement, Molto allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 
10. Suite for Orchestra no 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 

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