Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sunday Classics preview: You'll recognize the music. Now if I tell you . . .


by Ken

If I tell you that this performance took place on February 3, 1957, I'm guessing you'll be able to describe the circumstances, and very likely even identify the performers.

Now, it's perfectly OK if you can't answer any of these questions. In that case the idea is just to sit back, relax, and let this remarkable piece have its way with you. It plays a pivotal role in tomorrow's Sunday Classics post.


Beethoven's Eroica Symphony -- including the visionary Funeral March heard here, a musical landmark we talk about more in tomorrow's post -- was performed in memory of Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), who had died two and a half weeks earlier. The orchestra was his formally disbanded NBC Symphony, struggling to survive on its own as the Symphony of the Air; the conductor was the octogenarian Bruno Walter, a frequent NBC Symphony guest conductor. (The Funeral March of the Eroica was also played in Milan on the day of Toscanini's funeral, conducted at La Scala by the retired-because-of-illness Victor de Sabata, whose one-day unretirement then included a complete performance of Verdi's Requiem in Milan Cathedral.)



At 9:22 PM, Blogger ohnooooo! said...

Isn't it funny how we still seem to revere the older recordings? in spite of the recording quality,

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

My guess is that this was performed by a symphony orchestra!

I see that so far I am winning this contest...

At 1:53 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Is that an ear or what, Bil?


At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Thank you KenI, as soon as I am done with "Under the Missouri Sky", by Charlie Hayden and Pat Metheny I hope to get to your new post.

THANKS for all that work (and education for some of us).


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