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"The Cesar Franck Symphony was the principal work on the program given by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra last night in Radio City. The performance was extremely dramatic and moving in detail, and the symphony has invincible beauty and loftiness of spirit.
This eloquence is peculiarly Franck's. Franck has his weaknesses of structure, known to all, capitalized by those who love to dwell upon shortcomings of inspired compositions which live and cast their spell because of their originality and inherent logic and sincerity. So the symphony remains unique and very moving.
Because of this transcendent fact it would be disproportionate to dwell upon various details in which Mr. Toscanini departs from tradition if he does not also depart from the precise expression that Franck intended. He takes certain tempi, as that of the middle movement, faster than most, and the character of introspection and mysticism and Franck's depth of chromatic shadow are in a measure departed from.
It can be added that they are replaced by a more objective and straightforward emotion, beautifully, passionately communicated. This interpretation is completely unified and worked out in the most organic fashion, like everything that Toscanini does. He would have his own good and unshakable reasons for his tempi, dynamics and the rest of it. The audience heard Franck’s Symphony, knew his voice, were stirred out of themselves by the faith and the triumphant tenderness of his music. Mr. Toscanini, in his own unique way, brought these essential things home."
Olin Downes, New York Times, 15 December 1940
RCA's officially released version of Toscanini conducting the Franck Symphony in D minor was an amalgam of two performances, with the first movement taken from the March 1946 broadcast and the rest from that of 14 December 1940. The reason for this was a nasty but brief mistake in a horn solo line during the first movement of the 1940 performance, something too glaring to go unnoticed. The rest of the performance has always been regarded as superior to the 1946 outing. This release has digitally fixed that mistake, rendering it perfect, thus allowing us to finally hear the full 1940 performance as intended (especially by the horn player!).
TOSCANINI conducts Franck
1. FRANCK Psyché - 5. Psyché et Eros (8:55)
Broadcast of 5 January 1952
2. FRANCK Les Éolides (10:59)
Broadcast of 5 March 1949
3. FRANCK Rédemption (11:20)
Broadcast of 2 March 1947
FRANCK Symphony in D minor
4. 1st mvt. - Lento (19:25)
5. 2nd mvt. - Allegretto (9:03)
6. 3rd mvt. - Allegro non troppo (9:53)
Broadcast of 14 December 1940
NBC Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arturo Toscanini
XR Remastered in Ambient Stereo by Andrew Rose
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Toscanini
Live broadcast recordings from NBC Studio 8H, Radio City, New York
Total duration: 69:35