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Toscanini Collection Vol 70 - Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Berlioz

Release Date: 02/25/2011 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 60314   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnHector Berlioz
Performer:  Edwina EustisFlorence Kirk
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia OrchestraUniversity of Pennsylvania Glee Club
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In mid-1941 Toscanini temporarily fell out with the NBC Symphony Orchestra management, and during the following season directed the Philadelphia Orchestra in a number of concerts. Some of the items he conducted were also recorded by RCA over several sessions, but various technical disasters left the metal masters with heavy surface noise and a barrage of clicks and pops. Nothing could be done to salvage the situation at the time, but later technology opened up possibilities and in 1963 the Schubert Ninth Symphony was published. In 1977 the whole Philadelphia series finally saw the light of day on five LPs (nla), but some allowance had then to be made for the recording quality. Further technological miracles have taken place and as a result Read more all the performances have emerged on CD with remarkably improved sound. In fact, the recordings now seem very good indeed for their date, and RCA are therefore in a sense justified in leaving the troubled history of the enterprise out of their accompanying notes.

...Toscanini re-recorded all the Philadelphia items with the NBC orchestra, but later versions do not all show gain... [T]he Berlioz piece has just the right quicksilver, atmospheric quality. Mendelssohn's score is given with much charm and character...

The Philadelphia Orchestra of 1941 was very much a Stokowski-trained instrument, and possessed more tonal colour and warmth than the New York, NBC and BBC orchestras with which Toscanini made most of his recordings. These performances tend to show a different aspect of the great conductor, one where he sometimes responds in a slightly more yielding fashion to the character of the orchestra and to the acoustic of Philadelphia's Academy of Music, which was softer than Toscanini's usual New York venues.

-- Gramophone [6/1991]
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Works on This Recording

Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Edwina Eustis (Soprano), Florence Kirk (Soprano)
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  University of Pennsylvania Glee Club
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1942 
Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Queen Mab Scherzo by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
Date of Recording: 02/09/1942 

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