C1045. ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. La Scala Orch.: Egmont – Overture; Leonore – Overture #2; Symphony #1 in C (all Beethoven); Tannhäuser – Overture & Bacchanale; Orchestral Excerpts from Lohengrin & Die Meistersinger (all Wagner), Live Performance, 7 July, 1946, Lucerne; Tod und Verklärung (Strauss), Live Performance, 5 July, 1946, Lucerne; ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. La Scala Orch.: Vltava (The Moldau) (Smetana); Don Juan (Strauss), Live Performance, 3 Sept., 1949, Teatro la Fenice, Venezia. (Canada) 2-Immortal Performances IPCD 1015. Transfers by Richard Caniell. - 794504998313
"The recordings of the 7 July performances were recorded by EMI engineers in cooperation with Swiss Radio engineers in the hall. These are not off-the-air recordings. They went from the recording lacquers through electroplating to make metal masters, which made metal playable moulds that made stampers, which then pressed the 78 rpm tests. This was an expensive and labour-intensive process meant to produce (eventually) commercial discs for sale to the public. (Indeed, I have the DB numbers assigned to each test.) First, however, Toscanini had to approve them. He did not, but then he disapproved LA MER eight times and a huge number of performances since released by EMI/BBC and BMG-RC.
Keith Hardwick, former head of Historic Recordings for EMI, said to me about the tests: 'They are in excellent sound, generally, and, as I recall them they're equal to and in some instances superior to the BBC Symphony recordings of 1935 to 1937 and 1939 which are being released'. This conversation occurred by telephone when Hardwick was acting as our consultant for our debut on the Guild Music label. (We also believe the sound of these EMI test is largely superior to many NBC Symphony recordings released by BMG-RCA.)"
- Richard Caniell
“Fritz Reiner’s comment that Toscanini’s ‘superb artistic ability’ had something that other conductors lacked – ‘a huge, a colossal, concentrated energy’ that maintained musical excitement ‘to the very end of the performance, without becoming distracted or exhausted’ is borne out here. The Beethoven overtures are tautly exciting, with the silences adding to the tension of the notes played, and with the powder kept dry for the pulsating codas for each work. The La Scala strings excel in the seraphic sincerity of the first act prelude to LOHENGRIN. Beethoven’s First Symphony – a Toscanini speciality – is vibrant and fleet-footed, with a perfectly judged transition from the opening chords of the finale to the swift passage work that follows.
The performances are riveting. Toscanini knew how to rise to the occasion of a special concert...his interpretations are assured, idiomatic, and viscerally dramatic....Strongly recommended.”
- Kenneth Morgan, Classical Recordings Quarterly, Summer 2012
“This is the first time the Lucerne concert of 7 July, 1941 has been issued complete by the same label, although each of them has been available previously….This is surprisingly relaxed Toscanini; the phrasing quite broad and long-lined, the climaxes with tremendous power but not clipped, the overall mood genial and warm….his performance of the Beethoven First is as relaxed and charming as his BBC Symphony recording, but with better orchestral precision…. Listening to Caniell’s transfer of the LOHENGRIN Act I Prelude, I am much fonder of it here than the way it sounds on Appian (CD). The LOHENGRIN Act III Prelude is, again, the most relaxed version. Caniell seems to have replaced the cracked horn notes with good ones. And, strange as it may seem, this nearly 10 minute MEISTERSINGER Overture is even broader than the one from his 1937 Salzburg stage performance.”
- Lynn Rene Bayley, FANFARE, May/June, 2012