One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

/


Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Fontane di Roma (1916) [14:42]
Pini di Roma (1924) [20:31]
Feste Romane (1929) [24:12]
Alfredo CATALANI (1854-1893)
La Wally: Prelude to Act IV (1892) [6:31]
Loreley: Dance of the Water Nymphs (1890) [6:22]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
La Forza del destino: Overture (1862 rev 1869) [7:03]
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
rec. 1949-53, Carnegie Hall, New York
GUILD GHCD2429 [79:56]

Toscanini was to have given the world première of the Fountains of Rome in 1916, but the work was withdrawn from performance. He did give the Pines of Rome its American première in New York in 1926 and the world première of Roman Festivals with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony in 1928 with, as Robert Matthew-Walker’s notes tells us, the composer in the audience. So he was intimately associated with these sonically charged works and can be said to have established a tradition of performance that was to be realised in his 1949-53 recordings contained in this Guild disc.

By then other conductors had usurped his place in the Resphigian scheme of things and had recorded each of the three works, but Toscanini’s inscriptions are always worthy of the strictest scrutiny because of his august status as an interpretative artist and as a friend of the composer.

It’s unsurprising that the full splendour and colour of the works fail to survive the restricted sound quality. The Pines of the Villa Borghese doesn’t sound as sonically potent as stereo recording could make it but that’s merely to note the mono nature of things as one still feels something of a frisson at the Gothic charge summoned up in The Pines near a Catacomb as well as the charmed romance of the third Janiculum panel. By the time of the grandeur evoked in the Appian Way it’s clear that Toscanini’s direction is wholly idiomatic. So too in the case of the Fountains of Rome where, surely, the most vividly conducted moment is The Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset, a miracle of sustained evocation.

The 1949 Roman Festivals is bitingly and bracingly done, though arguably his earlier recording in Philadelphia is superior sonically. Still, you won’t easily forget – even in cramped sound – the palpable brassy frisson in The Circus Maximus or the bucolic drama of The October Festival or the popular song embedded in The Epiphany.

More Italian repertoire rounds out the disc in the shape of snippets from Catalani – the Dance of the Water Nymphs from Loreley is especially delightful – and Verdi’s overture to The Force of Destiny.

You’ll find these performances have been reissued a number of times. The Respighi pieces, the principal focus here, can be found in disc 32 of the Toscanini Edition on RCA; the sound there is brighter and sharper than these slightly more occluded transfers.

Jonathan Woolf



 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical

alpha_classics.com
Alpha Classics
a new advertiser

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger