C1418. LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. RAI Orch., Torino: Latin-American Symphonette (Morton Gould), Italian Premiere, 6 May, 1955; LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. Hollywood Bowl S.O., w.James Abato: Saxophone Concerto (Paul Creston), West Coast Premiere, 26 Aug., 1955, with broadcast commentary; LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI Cond. New York City Symphony Orch., w.Tommy Dorsey: Trombone Concerto (Nathaniel Shilkret), World Premiere, 15 Feb., 1945, New York City Center - Young Peoples' Concert, featuring Stokowski's delightful spoken introduction of Tommy Dorsey (then twice chiding the vociferous teen-age crowd - 'You must be quiet, or the concert ends NOW - you must be quiet!'), plus broadcast commentary. (England) Guild 2424. Very long unavailable, we're pleased to be able to offer once again! - 795754242423
“The bobby-soxers came out in noisy droves for the world premiere of the Trombone Concerto by composer Nathaniel Shilkret, with popular band leader and instrumentalist Tommy Dorsey doing the solo part. The concert (15 February, 1945) captures the creative personality of Shilkret, who had conducted the premiere of Gershwin’s AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, and aspects of the same composer’s Concerto in F infiltrate the second movement of the Trombone Concerto. Stokowski has to chide twice the vociferous teen-age crowd to quiet down for the music to proceed. Shilkret quotes several popular tunes in his jazzy, flighty, pop style, like ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You'. The trombone work proves slick and glossy, virtuosic in a glittery sense, like an Elvis Presley pelvis-shake. Here, the musical allusions beckon to the Hollywood of Errol Flynn and Robert Donat. That Dorsey and Shilkret may have argued about a more substantial trombone part could explain the failure of the principals to bring the piece to a commercial recording.
Recorded 6 May, 1955, Morton Gould’s LATIN-AMERICAN SYMPHONETTE (1933) actually made its only complete performance under Stokowski at this concert from Turin, its Italian premiere. The world début had occurred in 1941 under Fritz Mahler, who would make recordings in Hartford, Connecticut. In four movements, the SYMPHONETTE intends to capture the Latin, often percussive, flavor of the dance 'Rhumba', 'Tango', 'Guaracha', 'Conga', each having an immediate, colorful appeal. The suave, sensuous dances & particularly the second movement 'Tango' easily have our feet and hips set in motion, either in the Caribbean or Latin tropics. The colorful, chugging ‘Guaracha' movement had become a Stokowski staple as a popular encore, and his special affection shows through here in Turin. The primitive energy of the final Conga might conjure images of young Abbe Lane and Xavier Cugat in their dance-band heyday.
Paul Creston’s 1941 SAXOPHONE CONCERTO had James Abato for its New York Philharmonic premiere under William Steinberg in 1944. In three movements 'Energetic, Meditative, Rhythmic' the piece in its West Coast premiere (26 August, 1945) exhibits a natural fluency along with its more bravura colors for the instrument. The Energetic first movement powers forward with a drama slightly reminiscent of Lalo in his d minor Cello Concerto. Alternately declamatory and jazzily active, the solo exhibits the instrument’s flamboyant character when its bluesy persona exits. The brilliant coda brings early applause for Abato and Stokowski. The expansive Meditative movement proceeds in 5/4, allowing its sinuous flow a degree of rhythmic license. The muted strings add to the lyrical, hazy sensibility. Two strong cadenzas from Abato prove beguiling, the latter brief but serving as a long coda. Rhythmic demands unabashed, New Orleans bravura on Abato’s part, rife with curlicues and breathy runs. Abato’s baritone register sings out at the last, just as flamboyant and incensed as his prior tenor riffs. A real étude de bravura, the final bars bring applause and the orchestra strings tapping their professional approval. Good mono sound throughout."
- Gary Lemco, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, 11 Feb., 2016
"Dorsey and Shilkret planned to make a Victor recording of the concerto, and Dorsey had asked Shilkret to write an arrangement that allowed for more resting places in the solo. Shilkret arranged the piece with the solo split between trombone and piano, and plans were made for Shilkret to conduct a Victor recording with Dorsey and Jose Iturbi. Shortly before the planned recording date, Dorsey signed a contract with Decca, and a recording at the Victor studio was not possible."
“The saxophone entered the Juilliard instrumental curriculum during the post-World War II GI Bill era, in 1948. Vincent J. Abato was Juilliard’s first saxophone teacher. Abato was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and a fixture on the New York music scene for many years, earlier gaining a reputation as a virtuoso saxophonist/clarinetist with the legendary bands of Paul Whiteman, Claude Thornhill and Glenn Miller, as well as clarinetist and saxophonist with the New York Philharmonic. At the suggestion of flute professor Arthur Lora and the invitation of Juilliard President William Schuman, he accepted the challenge of creating the entrance requirements. He designed a course of study while the saxophone was still in its infancy as a classical instrument in the U.S. and teaching and performance literature was scarce. His aim was to elevate the saxophone curriculum and its repertoire to the highest levels of the other orchestral instruments.”
- SAXOPHONE JOURNAL