C1160. AMERICAN RARITIES, incl. G. WALLACE WOODWORTH Cond. Boston S.O,: Symphony #2 (Walter Piston), 9 April, 1944, Symphony Hall; EUGENE GOOSSENS Cond. Cincinnati S.O. Variations on a Theme, [a collaborative work by 9 composers (Ernest Bloch, Aaron Copland, Paul Creston, Anis Fuleihan, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Bernard Rogers, Roger Sessions and Deems Taylor, with Goossens himself writing the finale)], 23 March, 1945 (World Première); DIMITRI MITROPOULOS Cond. Philadelphia Orch.: Appalachian Mountains (Charles Miller) (World Première), 1 Aug., 1945, Robin Hood Dell. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-165, (Goossens & Miller are from rare existing copies, albeit with occasional technical flaws). Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"From 1931 to 1946 Goossens succeeded Fritz Reiner as the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In a tribute to Goossens on his departure for Australia, nine American composers collaborated on 'Variations on a Theme' by Eugene Goossens, for orchestra. The composers were Ernest Bloch, Aaron Copland, Paul Creston, Anis Fuleihan, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Bernard Rogers, Roger Sessions and Deems Taylor, with Goossens himself writing the finale.
Most often remembered as a highly regarded conductor with substantial tenures as music director of both the Cincinnati and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Eugene Goossens was also an important composer of twentieth-century music. Had the achievements of his career not been overshadowed by an unfortunate scandal and fall from grace in his last years, his legacy would likely have been even more significant.
In order to support himself, Goossens followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom were conductors. He trained as the assistant conductor to Sir Thomas Beecham, and began to develop an impressive conducting career. In 1921, he gave many Londoners their first Stravinsky experience in the premiere UK performance of LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS.
In 1923, George Eastman (of Kodak fame) invited him to become the first music director of his newly formed Eastman-Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Following continued success there, he was offered the helm of the Cincinnati Symphony in 1931, where he was active in commissioning a number of new works, including Aaron Copland's masterpiece FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN (1942).
Although a composer of modest number, Goossens composed works in nearly every genre. His first significant orchestral work, ‘Sinfonietta’ (1922), was championed by Arturo Toscanini. His most popular works include his Oboe Concerto from 1927 (written for his brother, Leon Goossens), two symphonies from 1940 and 1945, and two operas drawn on libretti by Arnold Bennett. These include the opera JUDITH (in which Joan Sutherland made her début in 1951) and DON JUAN DE MAÑARA. With the exception of premieres and a few rare occasions, Goossens never had a strong inclination to conduct his own works.
It was in Sydney that Goossens would reach both the pinnacle of his career and the lowest depths of indignity. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra had been recently organized, and in 1947 Goossens was invited to become its first music director. Goossens was a visionary; although his dreams began small (the introduction of outdoor performances and increased visibility) they culminated with his groundbreaking idea and subsequent proposal for the Sydney Opera House. His many efforts were finally rewarded when he was knighted in 1955.
A 1957 scandal with artist Rosaleen Norton severely affected Goosens and destroyed his Australian career. Forced to resign from his conducting posts, Gossens returned to England. His chronically ill health and a congenital heart defect contributed to a long period of illness following the scandal. Sketches for a ballet and third opera were left unfinished at his death in 1962. He is the author of OVERTURE AND BEGINNERS: A MUSICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.”
- Christopher Hill, allmusic.com
“The American choral conductor, organist, and music educator, G(eorge) Wallace Woodworth, was educated at Harvard University. Then he studied conducting with Malcolm Sargent at the Royal College of Music in London from 1927 to 1928.
In 1924, G. Wallace Woodworth joined the staff of the music department at Harvard, and was engaged as conductor of the Radcliffe Choral Society. He also led the Pierian Sodality Orchestra of Harvard University from 1928 to 1932, and the Harvard Glee Club from 1933. In 1940 he was appointed organist and choirmaster for the Harvard University Chapel. He was made James Edward Ditson Professor of Music at Harvard in 1954. He conducted the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus on its transcontinental USA tour in 1954, and took the Harvard Glee Club on its European tour in 1956. In 1958 he was invited by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to conduct performances of J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass, and that year marked his 25th with the Harvard Glee Club, his 34th with the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the 100th Anniversary of the Harvard Glee Club. He retired from the conductorship of those two organizations that year, but continued teaching through the day before he passed away in 1969.”
“Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos stood apart from the European traditions that dominated first-rank American orchestras for much of the twentieth century. After attending the Athens Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition, his opera BÉATRICE was presented there. The French composer Saint-Saëns was in the audience, and was so impressed that he arranged a scholarship that enabled the 24-year-old to study composition with the Belgian composer Paul Gilson and piano with Busoni in Berlin. Busoni persuaded him to abandon composition and concentrate on becoming a conductor.
From 1921 to 1925, Mitropoulos assisted Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera and on Kleiber's recommendation, was appointed conductor of the Hellenic Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Athens. In 1927, he became conductor of the Greek State Symphony Orchestra and in 1930 was engaged to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he instituted the practice of conducting from the piano.
In 1937 Mitropoulos succeeded Eugene Ormandy as musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and remained in America until 1959. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he was invited to share the conductorship of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Stokowski, becoming its conductor when Stokowski resigned in 1950. Mitropoulos resigned the post after sharing the podium with Leonard Bernstein, his co-principal conductor, in the Orchestra's 1958 tour of Latin America. From 1954, he was a dynamic force as Bruno Walter's successor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he introduced many new operas, including ones by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.
Mitropoulos never conducted his own works, but considered his best composition to be a Concerto Grosso written in 1929. His lived simply and took little part in social activities. His conducting style was passionate, highly-charged and demonstrative; he had a phenomenal memory and rarely used a baton. He programmed much modern music and particularly admired Schönberg and the Second Viennese School, such as Webern and Berg, as well as twentieth century American and British composers. His recording of Mahler's First Symphony made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1941 was the first ever made in the U.S. of that work, and Mitropoulos was awarded the American Mahler Medal of Honor in 1950 for his work in promoting the composer's music. He died while rehearsing Mahler's Third Symphony with Toscanini's famous La Scala Orchestra.”
- Roy Brewer, allmusic.com
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011