TOSCANINI Beethoven - Symphony No. 9, Leonore No. 2 (Italian War Orphans Benefit Concert, 1945) - PASC611

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TOSCANINI Beethoven - Symphony No. 9, Leonore No. 2 (Italian War Orphans Benefit Concert, 1945) - PASC611

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Overview

BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 2
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 'Choral'

Unbroadcast live performance, 1945
Total duration: 76:06

Norma Andreotti, soprano
Nan Merriman, mezzo-soprano
Jan Peerce, tenor
Lorenzo Alvary, bass

Collegiate Chorale, dir. Robert Shaw
NBC Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arturo Toscanini

This set contains the following albums:

The Ninth symphony is about the greatest piece of music ever written. It is a sort of spiritual and musical compound, a sedative, a vitamin, a tonic and a stimulant. Folks, as the opening bars start, you relax. As it unfolds, you reach out and hold your wife’s hand.”

Fiorello La Guardia, then mayor of New York City, quoted in the New York Times of 24 September 1945 promoting the present concert under the headline:

"MAYOR PLUGS BEETHOVEN - Hear 9th Symphony at Carnegie Hall Tomorrow, He Urges"


This apparently unbroadcast recording of Toscanini conducting Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, issued here on the 75th anniversary of its performance and during the 250th anniversary year of the composer has, it seems, remained unheard by the general public since the day of the concert, and we're delighted to have been able to unearth it and bring it to you at this very special time.

Given as a benefit concert for the Italian Welfare League’s War Orphans Committee it seems to have been only partially preserved - newspaper reports suggested the Coriolanus and Egmont overtures in addition to the Leonore No. 2 which opens this release, and which has survived in better sound quality than the symphony, the latter requiring more restoration work to produce a satisfactory sonic outcome.

(It is possible the Coriolanus Overture was dropped from the programme after the initial publicity appeared in the Times - no further mention of it can be found in the records pertaining to this concert. The Egmont was played and it appears from the archives that a radio programme was prepared on four 16-inch 33rpm radio broadcast discs using recordings of the concert, most probably for possible overseas use.)

Of the performance itself, here was the verdict of Mark A. Schubart in the following day's New York Times:

"If last night’s concert was noble in purpose, it was no less noble in content. For, with the aid of the Collegiate Chorale and a quartet of able soloists, Mr. Toscanini gave a performance of the Ninth Symphony that will not soon be forgotten. The work itself is one of the most difficult to realize fully, and its detractors, even at this late date, are fond of calling it ineffective and ungainly. Some of them have even gone so far as to indicate that Beethoven’s deafness made him unsure of what he was writing.

Last night’s performance — like any other truly inspired one—constituted an eloquent rebuttal to these opinions. The power and majesty of the work, its gigantic yet just proportions were made clear to the listener, and the music sounded forth clearly and freshly.

The most remarkable performance was that given the final choral movement, thanks largely to the extraordinary singing of the Collegiate Chorale, of which Robert Shaw is conductor. The chorale delivered its music with youthful vigor appropriate to the sentiment of the work, and achieved a clarity of enunciation heard all too seldom these days...

Throughout this lengthy and arduous program, and despite the unpleasantly sultry weather, Mr. Toscanini directed with a firm hand. The audience treated him to an ovation at the beginning of the concert and another at the end, both of which were doubtless intended as personal tributes to a master artist."


Andrew Rose

TOSCANINI Italian War Orphans Benefit Concert, 1945


1. BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 2, Op. 72b  (13:28)

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125, 'Choral'
2. 1st mvt. - Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso  (13:47)
3. 2nd mvt. - Scherzo. Molto vivace - Presto  (12:55)
4. 3rd mvt. - Adagio molto e cantabile  (12:57)
5. 4th mvt. - Presto - Allegro assai  (22:59)

Norma Andreotti, soprano
Nan Merriman, mezzo-soprano
Jan Peerce, tenor
Lorenzo Alvary, bass

Collegiate Chorale, dir. Robert Shaw
NBC Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arturo Toscanini


XR Remastered by  Andrew Rose

Live concert for the benefit of the Italian Welfare League’s War Orphans Committee
Performance recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York City, 25 September 1945
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Arturo Toscanini

Total duration:  76:06   



Toscanini to Conduct Beethoven Program in Benefit for Italian War Orphans

The music season, which is coming back to life after a lazy summer, will see its first major concert Tuesday evening when Arturo Toscanini will conduct the NBC Symphony in a concert in Carnegie Hall for the benefit of the Italian Welfare League. Beethoven's Ninth symphony will be the featured work on a program which will also include the same composer's overtures to “Egmont” and “Coriolanus” and the “Leonore,” No. 2, overture.

Soloists in the symphony will be Norma Andreotti, soprano; Nan Merriman, mezzo-soprano; Jan Peerce, tenor, and Lorenzo Alvary, bass. Robert Shaw's Collegiate Chorale will provide the choral singing, and the proceeds of the concept will, he used by the League to help war orphans and other needy children in Italy.

Among the artists appearing at the concert the only newcomer to New York concertgoers is Miss Andreotti, a native of San Francisco, who studied here and in Europe and made her debut as Ellen in “Lakmd” with the San Francisco Opera Company. The soprano made her New York debut at Times Hall last season, and was heard by Maestro Toscanini recently when she sang on a local radio station.

NYT, 23 September 1945


MAYOR PLUGS BEETHOVEN
Hear 9th Symphony at Carnegie Hall Tomorrow, He Urges

Plugging the sale of tickets for two musical events this week in his broadcast over WNYC yesterday, Mayor La Guardia told his listeners how much he likes Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, which is to be given tomorrow night at Carnegie Hall as a benefit by the NBC Orchestra with Arturo Toscanini conducting:

“The Ninth symphony,” said the Mayor, "is about the greatest piece of music ever written. It is a sort of spiritual and musical compound, a sedative, a vitamin, a tonic and a stimulant. Folks, as the opening bars start, you relax. As it unfolds, you reach out and hold your wife’s hand.”

NYT, 24 September 1945


TOSCANINI OFFERS BEETHOVEN NINTH
NBC Orchestra Plays Benefit Concert for Italian War Orphans at Carnegie Hall


By MARK A. SCHUBART

Arturo Toscanini returned to Carnegie Hall once more last night to conduct the NBC Symphony in an all-Beethoven concert, the chief work of which was the mighty Ninth Symphony. The concert was for the benefit of the Italian Welfare League’s War Orphans Committee, and there was a capacity audience.

If last night’s concert was noble in purpose, it was no less noble in content. For, with the aid of the Collegiate Chorale and a quartet of able soloists, Mr. Toscanini gave a performance of the Ninth Symphony that will not soon be forgotten. The work itself is one of the most difficult to realize fully, and its detractors, even at this late date, are fond of calling it ineffective and ungainly. Some of them have even gone so far as to indicate that Beethoven’s deafness made him unsure of what he was writing.

Last night’s performance — like any other truly inspired one—constituted an eloquent rebuttal to these opinions. The power and majesty of the work, its gigantic yet just proportions were made clear to the listener, and the music sounded forth clearly and freshly.

The most remarkable performance was that given the final choral movement, thanks largely to the extraordinary singing of the Collegiate Chorale, of which Robert Shaw is conductor. The chorale delivered its music with youthful vigor appropriate to the sentiment of the work, and achieved a clarity of enunciation heard all too seldom these days.

The evening’s soloists were Norma Andreotti, soprano; Nan Merriman, mezzo - soprano; Jan Peerce, tenor, and Lorenzo Alvary, bass, and all acquitted themselves with honor. Miss Andreotti, a newcomer to the concert stage, sang the difficult soprano solos accurately, while Miss Merriman and Mr. Peerce, with more experience to support them, achieved greater warmth. Mr. Alvary did not appear to be in best voice, though his singing had strength and assurance.

The first part of the program included two of the German master’s overtures—the "Egmont” and “Leonore,” No. 2. In both the listener was aware of the technical finish of the orchestra and of the supreme control Mr. Toscanini exerted over it. The fortes were loud, but clear; the pianos gentle and vibrant. Attacks and entrances were cleanly executed and detail was but rarely overlooked.

Throughout this lengthy and arduous program, and despite the unpleasantly sultry weather, Mr. Toscanini directed with a firm hand. The audience treated him to an ovation at the beginning of the concert and another at the end, both of which were doubtless intended as personal tributes to a master artist.

NYT, 26 September 1945