Toscanini's 1939 Beethoven Cycle, Pt. 4

"Mr. Toscanini would probably agree with the Arabian philosopher who discovered in a small ring the reflection of the completeness of the universe. Here, in simple melodic lines and small dimensioned forms, are the profound formal ideas which underly the symphonies. The enchanting simplicity of the Septet, in a word, is matched by its consumate workmanship. To achieve a like simplicity and mastery in performance is an accomplishment of only secondary magnitude. Mr. Toscanini accomplished this so felicitously that at times one wanted to laugh aloud in sheer exhilaration at his achievement. There were not only grace and wit, but also a pervasive beauty of song in the playing which provided the last essential of a great interpretation.

The utter absence of bombast or mere dramatic rhetoric, and the quintessence of drama and heroism in the “Egmont” score were precisely reflected in the performance. The Beethoven Seventh Symphony had the same unsurpassable sincerity and complete absence of effect for effect’s sake, or for any reasons save those both implicit and explicit in the score." The New York Times, 1939

This year sees the 80th anniversary of Toscanini's legendary 1939 Beethoven Cycle with the NBC Symphony Orchestra.  This fourth sonically transformed volume adds the Symphony No. 7, the Egmont Overture and an augmented version of the Septet for Woodwind, Horn and Strings to this hugely popular series.