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CD Review

Arturo Toscanini

All-American Concert

  • Charles Martin Loeffler: 'Memories of my childhood' (Life in a Russian Village)
  • Paul Creston: Choric Dance #2, Op. 17
  • Morton Gould: A Lincoln Legend
  • George Gershwin:
  • Rhapsody in Blue
  • Concerto in F *
  • Francesco Mignone: Festa igrejas
Benny Goodman, clarinet
Earl Wild, piano
* Oscar Levant, piano
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
Guild GHCD2256/7 107m ADD Rec: 1941/2
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Guild's memorable Toscanini series continues apace with an intriguing all-American programme of works that reveal the maestro's intrinsic capacity and hunger for variety.

The rarely heard Loeffler work is a gem of beauty with a characteristically expansive opening and a rumbustious Russian dance as a Finale. This finds Toscanini on top form with the NBC responding alertly to his fast speeds.

Creston and Gould also receive the Toscanini touch especially in the mélange of the 'Lincoln Legend'. The party continues with Gershwin's classic 'Rhapsody in Blue' finding Benny Goodman and Earl Wild in inspired mood.

I was unaware of Mignone's egregiously titled 'Festa des igrejas' but this is a work of great beauty and also conjures up vast vistas of the Texas Hill Country in mind. This is an important work that should enjoy revivals much more often. Levant and Toscanini round off proceedings with a suitably fired up rendition of the Gershwin Piano Concerto that also deserves special mention.

The remastering is of high quality with sound of quite amazing quality for 1942. The pieces may not seem to suit Toscanini's temperament to the fore but listeners will be enthralled by these great performances of American music.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech