Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/25 Toscanini's Beethoven

Arturo Toscanini is probably my favorite Beethoven conductor. His interpretations are razor-sharp and leave no room for sloppiness. In fact he used to throw chairs at sloppy wind players. This of course was in the old days before they had lawyers. Toscanini recorded with the NY Phil and then later on with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which was created just for his use. Even though he is known for being faithful to the score, he was not above changing the orchestration to suit modern orchestras. He revered Beethoven. I think he just got angry at people for ruining the music when they played badly. He was equally punishing towards himself when he realized that he had misinterpreted something.
Musically, Toscanini's interpretations are as fast in tempo as the smaller period orchestras of today - except that he used a full orchestra.  Must be the hat. 

Anyways, here's a taste smorgasboard of Toscanini:

Beethoven 5th Symphony (Toscanini 1952, NBC Orchestra)


Beethoven 9th Symphony (Toscanini 1949, NBC Orchestra)


Finally, a couple links for more info on the Maestro:

Toscanini's Homepage - Loads of info - you can even ask a relative a question if you'd like!

A survey of the Maestro's career and recordings - Incredible overview of Toscanini recordings and extremely informative site in general.

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