Toscanini: The First Recordings 1920-1926 | Guild - Historical GHCD3504

Toscanini: The First Recordings 1920-1926


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Label: Guild - Historical

Cat No: GHCD3504

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 2nd October 2020



Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Orchestra of the Philharmonic Society of New York


Arturo Toscanini


Beethoven, Ludwig van

Symphony no.1 in C major, op.21
» IV Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
Symphony no.5 in C minor, op.67
» IV Allegro

Berlioz, Hector

La Damnation de Faust, op.24 H111
» Hungarian March (Rakoczy March)

Bizet, Georges

» Aragonaise (arr. from Act IV Entr'acte)
L'Arlesienne Suite no.2
» IV Farandole

Donizetti, Gaetano

Don Pasquale
» Overture

Massenet, Jules

Scenes pittoresques, 'Suite no.4'
» Fete Boheme

Mendelssohn, Felix

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Incidental Music, op.61
» Nocturne
» Scherzo
» Wedding March

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Symphony no.39 in E flat major, K543
» III Minuet
» IV Allegro

Respighi, Ottorino

Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite no.1, P109
» II Galgiarda

Wolf-Ferrari, Ermanno

Il segreto di Susanna (Suzanna's secret)
» Overture


Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Orchestra of the Philharmonic Society of New York


Arturo Toscanini


Of all the great conductors who were active during the 20th century, none left a greater recorded legacy than Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) – a man whom many regard as the greatest conductor of them all. His career was catapulted by being called upon, as a teenaged cellist in the orchestra, to conduct that evening’s performance of Verdi’s Aida – which he did, from memory.

From that point, Toscanini’s career was never in doubt; before World War I he had been appointed to the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and after the war was over, in 1920-21, he brought the orchestra of La Scala Opera, Milan, to the United States for an extended tour. The impact was sensational, and the Victor company, which had begun making orchestral recordings a year or so before in America, lost no time in securing the Maestro’s services, and that of his orchestra, for a series of recordings – more than had been made by any conductor and orchestra up to that time.

These acoustic recordings may seem archaic but such was the mastery of those early Victor engineers that it would be wrong to dismiss them, for in this collection, which brings together all the recordings made during that tour, we hear music – often by contemporaries – which Toscanini never again committed to disc, alongside his earliest recordings of Beethoven symphonies.

Several years later, Toscanini was back in New York, on being appointed musical director of the New York Philharmonic – our collection of the Maestro’s earliest recordings is completed by the two tracks he recorded with the Philharmonic for Brunswick in 1926. The sound on these latest transfers of course remains acoustic at source – but the music-lover can readily sense the excellent musicianship of both orchestras, one hundred years ago, now collected for the first time on one modern compact disc.

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