Missa Solemnis  - Toscanini;  Rethberg, Telva, Martinelli, Pinza   (2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1011)
Item# C0976
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Product Description

Missa Solemnis  - Toscanini;  Rethberg, Telva, Martinelli, Pinza   (2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1011)
C0976. ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. NYPO & New York Schola Cantorum, w.Elisabeth Rethberg, Marion Telva, Giovanni Martinelli & Ezio Pinza: MISSA SOLEMNIS (Beethoven), Live Performance, 25 April, 1935; Panizza Cond. Lawrence Tibbett, Elisabeth Rethberg & Giovanni Martinelli: Simon Boccanegra – Act I, Scene 1, Live Performance, 16 Feb., 1935; Interviews with Elisabeth Rethberg & Giovanni Martinelli. (Canada) 2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1011. Transfers by Richard Caniell. NB: Significant sonic improvements took place after the original Immortal Performances’ pressing, thus this special re-mastered edition, featuring Richard Caniell’s subsequent breakthrough, improving the sonics, correcting the lesser sound quality, and offering the extended range of dynamics between piano and fortissimo passages. - 625989648427


“I reviewed this performance, Toscanini’s 1935 MISSA, only a few months ago. To sum it up, it is a fantastic performance in really marginal sound. Now, though, we have heard from Richard Caniell, the sound engineer, that he has achieved a breakthrough to substantially improve the sound. As a result Immortal Performances has re-mastered the discs. A quick comparison of the two certainly confirms the improvement in the sound, which is brighter, clearer, and less tunnel-like.”

- Paul L. Althouse, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2012

“This was made from AM radio…and has been around in various forms, always with very poor sound and lots of pitch problems. Now Richard Caniell has undertaken the task of setting things right: patching together various sources, re-equalizing phrase by phrase, removing ticks and pops, and using gentle noise suppression to make this performance more listenable. And the performance is worth it…monumental, powerful, and deeply expressive. The sound is still not very good. The level and type of noise vary often, and you have to screen out the haze to get to the music. But if you already know the piece fairly well, you can zero in on a fantastic performance of Beethoven’s masterpiece….The second disc is filled out with half an hour of SIMON BOCCANEGRA with three of the Mass soloists, plus Lawrence Tibbett….The performance itself is wonderful, and the sound…is quite listenable. In addition we have two interviews – three minutes with Rethberg, seven with Martinelli – that include reminiscences of Toscanini.”

- Paul L. Althouse, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2011

“Although the sound of these live 1935 broadcasts is well below the studio standards of the time, this MISSA SOLEMNIS is essential listening for anyone interested in Toscanini…. when considered in the context of three subsequent Toscanini performances currently available on CD, this 1935 account is valuable in revealing an utterly different conception – slower than any of them, its prevailing ethos being considerably more meditative and spiritual….”

- Mortimer H. Frank, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011

“This is the earliest of five preserved Toscanini versions of the MISSA SOLEMNIS, the others being BBC 1939, NBC 1940 and two from NBC in 1953). Working from a composite of old Toscanini Society discs and a tape from the collection of RCA recording engineer Richard Gardner, Richard Caniell’s painstaking restoration has performed miracles with the notoriously recalcitrant source material….In terms of pitch stability, cleaned-up distortion, and opened-up dynamic range, we can now appreciate the qualities of this performance as never before. [Caniell] has wisely left a residue of background acetate noise, removal of which would have sacrificed valuable overtones of the soloists and chorus. The performance is notable for its spacious breadth and unhurried rhythmic solidity….The dark, burnished mahogany sound of the New York Philharmonic at this time presents a striking contrast with the bright, brassy mix heard in the NBC versions (especially 1940). If the later performances might sometimes be thought to score higher for sheer excitement, the 1935 consistently impresses through its emphasis on purely musical virtues - e.g., in taking more time for those astounding chromatic harmonic shifts in parts of the ‘Gloria’ and ‘Credo’ to really register. In the ‘Benedictus’, the breadth of approach is matched by solo violin and woodwind playing of exceptional purity….The soloists are exceptionally distinctive: Rethberg’s unflagging instrumental clarity and tonal beauty; Martinelli’s trademark lean timbre and concentration of tone; Pinza’s characteristic velvet agility, rock-solid rhythm and intonation. Contralto Marion Telva is also flawless, if less individual than the other three. Given their operatic pedigree, the quartet’s ensemble work is mightily impressive….The chorus members throw themselves into their task with unsparing responsiveness to Toscanini’s exacting demands….

As a substantial bonus we have the beginning of act I from the famous 1935 Met production of SIMON BOCCANEGRA, showing three of the four soloists from the MISSA in their more familiar habitat of the opera house….So far as I know, [this] 1935 performance has never been available complete….The sound is very limited, but good enough to convey the quality of the singing and conducting (Panizza at his very considerable best)….As an additional ‘bonus to the bonus’ we have interviews with the soprano and tenor, each sharing some reminiscences of Toscanini. They present quite a contrast, Rethberg coming across as formal and scripted, with punctiliously correct grammar in her heavily accented English; Martinelli engagingly jocular and waggish. Documentation is superb as usual from this label, with copious notes from John Steane and Caniell himself….this is one of the most important Toscanini releases for a long time. A mandatory purchase.”

- Boyd Pomeroy, FANFARE, July/Aug., 2011