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CD Review

Arturo Toscanini

All-Mozart Concert

  • Overture "The Magic Flute'
  • Divertimento in B Flat for strings and horns
  • Symphony #35, "Haffner'
  • Rehearsal sequences
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
Guild GHCD2232/3 147m ADD
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Guild's series devoted to several Toscanini broadcasts is an extremely valuable addition to the wealth of historical material currently available and this new all-Mozart concert is no exception.

The rehearsal sequences reveal some fascinating details and tantrums on the maestro's part especially in his fastidious attention to the fugue in the "Magic Flute" overture. The "Haffner" is played at white hot speed, shorn of repeats it is almost like the "Novelty" in the famous Rainhill trials! I also found solace and beauty in the ethereally light Divertimento in B Flat Major, a work which was not previously available in the Toscanini discography.

Recordings of the lengthy rehearsal material are very serviceable although distortion and extraneous interferences are occasionally pretty intrusive. But the concert of 3 November 1946 is in clear, spacious sonics of considerable impact. I believe the source of the release is an air-check by NBC rather than a line-check by RCA Victor Studios on East 24th Street New York.

However with copious notes and extremely valuable rehearsal sequences, this is another issue that confirms Guild's historical series devoted to the maestro as one of the finest around.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech