This week's release brings you a version of each of the four pieces of music by César Franck conducted by Toscanini during his years with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. His most played work was Les Éolides which, curiously, RCA never released commercially - despite having five performances to choose from. We've selected his superb 1949 performance.
Of Franck's other pieces, Toscanini twice conducted Psyché et Eros, Rédemption and the Symphony in D minor for NBC in a range of performances spanning the years 1940 to 1952. Of these we've gone with the same 1952 performance of Psyché et Eros as RCA, but the earlier 1947 performance of Rédemption where RCA issued the 1952 telecast, albeit only on video.
Finally we bring you the whole of the 1940 performance for the first time - the first movement of the later, less satisfying performance had been inserted for RCA's release. We've been able to fix two minor fluffs by the horn and render the movement essentially perfect: "The performance was extremely dramatic and moving in detail, and the symphony has invincible beauty and loftiness of spirit", wrote Olin Downes for the New York Times in 1940.