About this Recording
8.110842 - GLUCK / ROSSINI / VERDI: Opera Overtures (Toscanini) (1929, 1936)
English 

GREAT CONDUCTORS · TOSCANINI

The Complete New York

Philharmonic Recordings

Volume III

Overtures and Preludes

Verdi: La Traviata

Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’Italiana in Algeri, Semiramide

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Arturo Toscanini

Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York

Recorded 1929 and 1936

 

GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits

John Amans, solo flute

1 Recorded 5th April 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48956-1. First issued on Victor 7138 in album M-65. (First issued alternate take)

2 Recorded 5th April 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48956-3. First issued on Victor 7138 in album M-65. (Second issued alternate take)

3 Recorded 21st November 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48956-4. First issued on Victor 7138 in album M-65. (Originally issued take)

4 VERDI: La Traviata: Prelude to Act I

Recorded 18th March 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48936-3. First issued on Victor 6994.

5 VERDI: La Traviata: Prelude to Act III

Recorded 18th March 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48937-3. (Alternate take unpublished on 78 rpm)

6 Recorded 29th March 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrix CVE-48942-4. First issued on Victor 6994.

7 ROSSINI: Il Barbiere di Siviglia: Overture

Recorded 21st November 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrices CVE-56802-2 and 56803-3. First issued on Victor 7255. (Second issued alternate take of Side One)

8 Recorded 21st November 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrices CVE-56802- 3 and 56803-3. First issued on Victor 7255. (Originally issued take of Side One)

9 Recorded 21st November 1929 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrices CVE-56802- 4 and 56803-3. First issued on Victor 7255. (First issued alternate take of Side One)

10 ROSSINI: L’Italiana in Algeri: Overture

Recorded 10th April 1936 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrices CS-101218-1 and 101219-1. First issued on Victor 14161.

11 ROSSINI: Semiramide: Overture

Recorded 10th April 1936 in Carnegie Hall, New York City on matrices CS-101214-1, 101215-1, 101216-1 and 101217-1. First issued on Victor 14632/33 in album M-408.

Arturo Toscanini/Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York

Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn

 

A Note on the Recordings

Before the Victor Talking Machine Company began regularly using two turntables during recording sessions (one for backup purposes), it was standard policy to make three takes of a given side. One would then be marked with an "M" (for "Master"), and this became the released version. The other takes might be marked "H30" or "Hi" (for "hold 30 days" or "hold indefinitely," respectively) or "D" for "destroy." Over the years that these recordings remained in the catalogue, the metal masters of some original sides wore out and substitutions were made from whatever alternate takes still remained in the vault.

The Blue History Cards in the BMG Archives document, for each published 78 rpm side, which matrix and take numbers were used, and when they were put into production. From them, we learn that no fewer than three takes of the Orfeo "Dance" were released. Toscanini had recorded Takes 1 to 3 during the session of 5th April, 1929, and another three attempts (Takes 4, 5 and 6) were made on 21st November, 1929. From that second session, Take 4 was selected for release. In November 1940, this version was replaced by Take 1. This in turn was replaced only six months later by Take 3, making the first take one of Toscanini’s rarest issued sides. Similarly, Side 1 of the Barber of Seville Overture appeared in three different takes, although in this case all the sides had been recorded at the same session. Take 3 was first chosen for issue, replaced by Take 4 in 1938 and Take 2 for postwar releases.

For their first LP reissues, RCA often chose whatever takes were most recently in print for a particular title. (Some of this was out of necessity; for example, the original matrix of Take 4 of the Orfeo side had been destroyed when its substitute was put into production.) As a result, entire generations have become familiar with some of these recordings through takes which were not the ones originally chosen for release. In the present reissue series, all published takes are being presented in context, as part of complete performances of overtures or symphony movements. Thus, even though the take used for the second side of the Barber Overture was consistent throughout its life in the catalogue, it has been paired with each of its alternate first halves to form three unique performances.

In the case of the two versions presented here of the Act I Traviata Prelude, the matrix number appears to have been changed between the first and second sessions, although the take number sequence was carried over. The unpublished take from the first session was probably rejected owing to the audible squeal of automobile brakes outside Carnegie Hall. (The "whistle" which can be heard at the ends of the Traviata sides is due to premature cooling of the wax master while the record was being cut, and cannot be eliminated without undue suppression of the high frequencies.) The 1936 sessions employed two turntables, and many of the sides needed no more than a single take to obtain a satisfactory result, as in the case of the two Rossini overtures which close our programme.

Mark Obert-Thorn


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