Label : RCA
Format : Ape
Cover : Front

Arturo Toscanini was the most celebrated conductor of his time, considered by many to be the greatest conductor of the twentieth century. He revolutionized musical interpretation by frequently insisting that his orchestras play the music exactly as written, a highly unusual practice in the nineteenth century, when Toscanini began his career. He conducted the world premieres of such operas as Puccini’s “La Boheme” and “Turandot”, and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”.

This set offers a reissue of RCA’s 1992 compendium that encompassed all the recordings that Toscanini made with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and NBC Symphony Orchestra. It also features 2 CDs of previously unreleased recordings with the BBC Symphony from the 1930s that were not included in the 1992 edition. From the Maestro’s acoustic recordings of 1920-21 with La Scala orchestra to his 1954 retirement, this collection spans all the years in which Toscanini’s career veered away from the opera house as it moved (after his 1937 Salzburg Festival appearances) exclusively to the concert hall.

As with his NBC broadcasts and recordings, these BBC and Philadelphia accounts disprove the specious notion that Toscanini’s interpretation was always the same from one performance of a given work to the next. The BBC recordings have special value for occurring in Queen’s Hall, acoustically London’s finest concert venue, which was sadly destroyed in World War II bombings. Particularly interesting are three NBC performances of Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, two from broadcasts (October 28, 1939 and December 6, 1953, the third from a 1949 Carnegie Hall recording session). As heard in a 78-rpm RCA set, the 1939 performance was a sonic disaster in its dry, cramped, dynamically limited acoustic. As experienced here in a transfer made from NBC reference discs, it suggests a clean, vivid LP from the mid 1950’s. With each performance being somewhat different from the other, they serve as a reminder of how Toscanini was invariably rethinking his approach to a particular work.

The complete recordings made for RCA by Arturo Toscanini reissued in a beautiful new 84 CD + DVD box set, with extra previously unissued bonus materials added.

Complete tracklist : Arturo Toscanini – The Complete RCA Collection