Bruno Walter was guest conductor for five NBC Symphony Orchestra concert broadcasts in early 1940, having previously conducted the orchestra again five times the previous season. This week's release comes from the second of those 1940 broadcasts, which took place on 17 February of that year.
The concert begins with something exceptional for Walter, who departs the podium to take his seat at the piano to direct the Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 6 by Handel from the keyboard. As far as we can tell this is one of only three known recordings of Walter directing music by the Anglo-German composer, and it's a highly individual reading.
The Handel is followed by perhaps more familiar fare - a superb Mozart 'Haffner' Symphony No. 35, and a sublime performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 2, a work written the year after Walter's birth into a musical tradition steeped in the world of late Romanticism. With the exceptional talents of the NBC orchestra before him, this is another fabulous set of performances from one of the greatest conductors of the century.