C0053. VICTOR DE SABATA Cond. Santa Cecilia S.O.: LA MER (Previously Unpublished); JEUX; TROIS NOCTURNES – Nuages; Fêtes (all Debussy); FONTANE DI ROMA (Respighi). (Austria) Testament SBT 1108, recorded 1947-49. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 749677110826
“At the time Victor de Sabata made these recordings, his discography was limited to eight sides of mainly short works recorded with an Italian radio orchestra in 1933. This was disproportionate to his rising international reputation as a conductor, both in the opera house (as director of La Scala since 1930 and a frequent guest at the theatres of Vienna and Berlin) and as an interpreter of the symphonic repertoire.
Although he would go on to record two more series of orchestral works (with the London Philharmonic in 1946 and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in 1947-48) as well as the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi and an unsurpassed version of Puccini’s TOSCA with Maria Callas, the Berlin recordings occupy a special place in his slim commercial discography. They feature uniformly superb performances - boldly conceived, rhythmically flexible and executed with tremendous verve and a minute attention to detail. Never again would de Sabata work with an ensemble of this calibre for a symphonic commercial recording session.”
- Mark Obert-Thorn
“Victor de Sabata had a working knowledge of all the instruments in the orchestra and his memory for musical scores was prodigious. He began conducting in 1918 with concerts in Italy before he became conductor of the Monte Carlo Opera where, in 1925, he prepared and conducted the premiere of Ravel's L'ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES. He later went on to conduct in London, Vienna, Berlin and Bayreuth. De Sabata's career came to a halt with a cardiac crisis in 1953. Appearances were curtailed save for a few notable exceptions including a recording of Verdi's REQUIEM with Schwarzkopf, Dominguez, Di Stefano and Siepi; plus one more assignment, in Milan to conduct the Funeral March from Beethoven's Eroica. He died on 11th December 1967.
De Sabata hated recording, so such recordings as he did make are, as Felix Aprahamian has said, ‘perhaps the more precious musical legacy of a great and unique musician’. Aprahamian knew de Sabata well, and he remembered the maestro's working relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. De Sabata would rehearse in minute detail: ‘Those eyes and ears missed nothing…the players had been made to work harder than ever before and they knew that, without having been asked to play alone, they had been individually assessed….The Daddy of them all', said one player, but added that the maestro looked ‘like a cross between Julius Caesar and Satan’.
- Ian Lace, MusicWebInternational