TOSCANINI CONDUCTS BERLIOZ
"Of all the unofficial Toscanini releases to appear of late, this is one of the most valuable. Younger listeners may have little awareness of the conductors pioneering efforts on behalf of Berlioz"
This performance of Harold (from the NBC broadcast of January 21, 1939) was the conductors first of four at the network, the initial three of which featured William Primrose. "Much as I abhor superlatives, this is perhaps, the finest of Toscaninis NBC efforts. Primrose is spectacular here, playing with a virtuosity, singing line, and tonal opulence that, while highly expressive, honor Berliozs obbligato specification for the solo part. And Toscanini is magnificent, shaping the opening with delicacy and tenderness, projecting the middle movements with unaffected simplicity that bespeaks extraordinary sophistication, and offering an orgiastic finale that always remains firmly controlled.
For anyone interested in Berlioz or Toscanini, this is a release
--Mortimer H. Frank in Fanfare
taut, transparent Berlioz performances from what
was probably the most fruitful period in his NBC collaboration. The tone
is less sleek, rougher and more varied, than it often became later on; and
the rhythms, which could rigidify in his final years, are tight yet full
of spring. The resilient Les Francs Juges, a work that so often seems overbearing,
is especially convincing; but indeed, except for a certain detachment in
parts of the Love Scene, everything here is well worth hearing, and offered
in sound thats quite good for the period.
--Peter J. Rabinowitz in American Record Guide
CD-4614(1) TOSCANINI CONDUCTS BERLIOZ: Harold in Italy, with Primrose (2 Jan. 1939); Les Francs Juges Overture; Romeo and Juliet; Love Scene and The Damnation of Faust; Rák?czy March (all from 5 April 1941) (M) Restored in 2003 by Graham Newton. New liner notes by Christopher Dyment. Originally released in 1990. UPC #0-17685-46142-2
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