ARTUR ROODZINSKI - CHICAGO SYMPHONY REORDINGS
Artur Rodzinski (1882 – 1958), a major figure on the international music scene, had an amazing, career in America. He was music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1929 -1933 ), the Cleveland Orchestra ( 1933 – 1943), the New York Philharmonic (1943 – 1947) and the Chicago Symphony for just one season (1947-1948) .Rodzinski was a consummate musician but apparently because of his high and perhaps too rigid musical standards, he didn't’t get along with symphony boards of directors. After he left Chicago, he went to Europe where he had a close association the Italian Radio; several of his opera productions are available. He made many recordings in Cleveland and New York. Now we have this important set of all of his Chicago Symphony recordings, supplement by two recordings made for the budget Remington label. These, for stupid union restrictions, he could not be identified as the conductor. A friend of mine, knowledgeable in such matters, said Rodinski was not pleased with the recordings and did not mind his identify not being given. The Beethoven works with the Tonkünstler Orchestra were made in November 1957 in Schubert-Saal in Vienna. It is obvious circumstances were not ideideal, and the main purpose here is to fill in a gap inthe Rodzinski discography.
Of primary importance here are the Chicago recordings all of which were made in sessions in Chicago's Orchestra Hall November/December 1947: :Also sprach Zarathustra, excerpts from Khachaturian’s Gayne, and the Preludes to Acts I and III and Love Death from Tristan. At the time ,Khachaturian's vivid Sabre Dance was very popular and doubtless that is why it was recorded; unlikely repertory for Rodzinski, but I'm sure RCA insisted. In addition to Sabre Dancem we have Dance of Aysha, Dance of the Rose Maidens, and Lullaby. Zarathustra, with its rich orchestration and brilliant Sunrise opening, is a favorite for hi-fi enthusiasts. The first recording was acoustic made in 1924 with Max von Schillings conducting. The next was January 17, 1940 with Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony, so the Rodzinski actually was the orchestra's second. In 1935, Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony made their famous recording. Zarathustra would be recorded by the Chicago Symphony two more times, in 1954 the famous early stereo Reiner recording, and in 1975 Sir George Solti made his Decca version. Strauss made a recording in 1944 with the Vienna Philharmonic. This was issued on LP and CD, no longer available, but you can an hear it on YouTube(!). Rodzinski's Zarathustra is noble indeed, with an opening Sunrise that is deliberate and majestic, although I'm surprised he didn't extend the climatic organ-based C major climax which seems to be cut short compared with many other performances. Mark Obert-Thorn has done his usual fine job making these transfers.
Rodzinski's brief season in Chicago was highlighted by a performance in of Tristan and Isolde with Kirsten Flagstad shortly before she made her famous recording for ∫ with Furtwängler. An inside source old me a recording exists. It would be wonderful for collectors if his shows up. Rodzinski was master of opera. His 1937 New York Philharmonic broadcast of Elektra with the amazing Rose Pauly, is menioned on this site in our feature on all recordings of the opera (FEATURE )
I had the privilege of attending a Rodzinski Chicago concert April 22, 1948. It was his final concert (repeated the next day), and excitement was intense. The program openopened with an inconsequential work by William Grant Still: Wood Notes. Then I heard the Firebird Suite, and after intermission Vladimir Horowitz was soloist in Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3. How exciting that was; I still have the concert program that Horowitz kindly autographed for me.
Rodzinski replaced by Belgian conductor Desiré Defauw (1885 - 1960) who was Music Director 1943 - 1947. In spite of his fine leadership, he was forced to leave because of the vitriolic attacks by powerful Chicago Tribune music critic Claudi\a Cassidy. During his brief tenure he made a number of RCA rewordings including concerted works with violinists Mischa Elman and Erica Morini, and pianist Claudio Arrau. Perhaps Pristine will consider issuing thee important recordings?
R.E.B. (August 2019)