|BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor
"Choral" (Rec. July 24, 1941)
Judith Hellwig, soprano; Lydia Kindermann, alto; Rene Maison, tenor; Alexander Kipnis, bass; Teatro Colon Chorus and Orch/Arturo Toscanini, cond.
MUSIC & ARTS CD 1119 (F) (ADD) TT: 64:18
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique." (Rec. Nov. 15, 1947). Manfred Symphony, Op. 58 (Rec. Feb. 28, 1948). PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 25 "Classical." (Rec. Nov. 15, 1947). GLINKA: Jota aragonesa (Rec. Feb. 28, 1948). MUSSORGSKY-RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition (Rec. Feb. 14, 1948).)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony
No. 4 in B Flat, Op. 60. Leonore Overture No. 1
Toscanini fans surely will wish to investigate these issues, particularly the Beethoven Ninth, a performance recorded live July 24, 1941 in Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires.Toscanini had a long association with the Argentinian musical scene, first appearing there in 1901 and over a four-decade period conducting a wide range of operas. In 1940 he gave eight wildly-acclaimed concerts with the NBC Symphony when on their South American tour, and accepted the invitation to return the following year to conduct seven concerts with the Colón Orchestra, three featuring the Verdi Requiem, the other four Beethoven's Ninth. The volatile conductor was aware of weaknesses in the local orchestra and brought with him two trombones, two horns, and a trumpet (all from the Cleveland Orchestra), and Leonard Sharrow, principal bassoon of the NBC Symphony. Soloists for Erich Kleiber's opera season were still available; thus the fine soloists listed above including Alexander Kipnis in his only recording of the Ninth. Without doubt this is the most dynamic, excitingand franticperformances on record of Beethoven's masterpiece, very far from perfect in orchestral execution, with sound generally of poor qualityseveral missing sections had to be dubbed inbut this is the only way you're going to hear this performance. It's a full-price issue but that may not matter to Toscanini collectors.
The other set
features music from Russia in "recently discovered transcriptions...in
best possible sound." I've made no attempt to keep track of the voluminous
commercial, private and illegal issues of countless Toscanini performances;
it could well be that these are the first issues of these broadcasst
performances. However, "best possible sound" doesn't mean muchwhat is
heard here is a thin, wirey orchestral sound with virtually no bass.
Because of total lack of resonance in Studio 8H, strings are bodiless,
cellos and double basses might just as well not be there. The performances
are, aside from a scrappy opening to Prokofiev's Classical Symphony,
typical Toscanini, but with inferior sound such as heard here, I derived
little enjoyment from the setwhich is sold at full-price.
R.E.B. (July 2003)