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"Bruno Walter, distinguished conductor, made his season’s second appearance with the National Broadcasting Company Symphony Orchestra last night at Radio City. He began the program with the Handel G minor Concerto Grosso. Instead of conducting the work from the podium, Mr. Walter followed his practice of directing from the piano, which he played as part of the performance. Soloists in the Handel parts were Mischa Mischakoff and Edwin Bachmann, violins, and Frank Miller, 'cello.
The evening also offered the Mozart “Haffner" Symphony in D major and, after the intermission, the D major Brahms Symphony No. 2. Mr. Walter was loudly applauded after each selection."
New York Times, 18 February 1940
Bruno Walter conducted a total of ten broadcast concerts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra - five each during the spring of 1939 and the late winter of 1940. During both seasons Toscanini conducted some sixteen concert broadcasts. These were on both occasions split into two runs of eight, but whilst there was a month between the two runs in the second, 1938-39 season, the NBC's third season saw Toscanini break for more than three months, with the orchestra's podium taken by three guest conductors: Désiré Defauw, Bernardino Molinari and, finally, Bruno Walter.
By this time the orchestra was in peak condition. The preceding autumn had seen the broadcast of Toscanini's legendary 1939 Beethoven cycle, long regarded as a highlight of his conducting career. Walter could not have asked for a finer body of musicians. Perhaps inspired by this, Walter chose to perform a number of works for which no studio recordings are known to exist: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 appeared on the first volume of this series PASC628) and Volume Three will see equally rare outings for D'Indy's Istar Variations and Ravel's Rhapsodie Espagnol from the third concert in of that series.
The rarity here is the Handel Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 6. It joins the Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op. 6, No. 12, recorded in Paris in 1938, and a private recording of a 1945 live rendition of "My Redeemer Liveth" from The Messiah as the only examples of Handel in his recorded discography. With its piano accompaniment by Walter and the rich, portamento strings, it's very much a performance of another age, yet is still a fascinating document of one of the great conductors and orchestras together.
BRUNO WALTER at the NBC, Volume 2
HANDEL Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
1. 1st mvt. - Largo affettuoso (3:30)
2. 2nd mvt. - A tempo giusto (2:03)
3. 3rd mvt. - Mussette. Larghetto (7:23)
4. 4th mvt. - Allegro (3:25)
5. 5th mvt. - Allegro (1:43)
Bruno Walter, piano
Mischa Mischakoff, violin
Edwin Bachmann, violin
Frank Miller, cello
MOZART Symphony No. 35 in D major, K.385, 'Haffner'
6. 1st mvt. - Allegro con spirito (5:14)
7. 2nd mvt. - Andante (4:41)
8. 3rd mvt. - Menuetto (3:18)
9. 4th mvt. - Presto (3:49)
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
10. 1st mvt. - Allegro non troppo (14:14)
11. 2nd mvt. - Adagio non troppo (10:25)
12. 3rd mvt. - Allegretto grazioso (quasi andantino) (5:10)
13. 4th mvt. - Allegro con spirito (8:59)
NBC Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Bruno Walter
XR Remastered by Andrew Rose
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Bruno Walter & Arturo Toscanini taken in 1930
Broadcast recordings made at NBC Studio 8H, Radio City, New York, 17 February 1940
Total duration: 73:54