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February 2013 NEW RELEASES


Music and Arts

CD-1269(2) TOSCANINI CONDUCTS VERDI: TWO SACRED WORKS. Verdi: Requiem Mass, with NBC Symphony, Zinka Milanov, Soprano; Bruna Castagna, Mezzo; Jussi Björling, Tenor; Nicola Moscona, Bass; and Te Deum, with Westminster Choir and NBC Symphony, both performed on 23 November 1940 in Carnegie Hall. CD 1: 56:58; CD2: 42:52. Sound restoration (2012) by Kit Higginson; liner notes by Harvey Sachs. [AAD] UPC # 0-17685-12692-5. Special offer: 2 CDs priced as one.

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BUZZ: Originally released in 1986, this set was one of our classical best sellers for well over a decade, and was reissued in improved sound in 2003 due to popular demand. Harvey Sachs writes in his liner notes "Performances of the Verdi Requiem often emphasize the work's dramatic aspects to the detriment of its lyricism, or vice-versa. Here, Toscanini balances these elements completely convincingly...we are unlikely to hear a more overwhelming performance of the work than this one―ever."

Kurt Moses wrote in American Record Guide of the first edition: "...it's the greatest Verdi Requiem I've ever heard, bar none." William H. Youngren wrote in The Christian Science Monitor "...Toscanini [gives us] matchless pacing and shaping of the music...[with] the superb playing of the NBC Symphony..." Terry Teachout had this to say in Musical America "...stupendous in virtually every way...Harvey Sachs' liner notes are outstanding." And Thomas Hathaway raved in High Fidelity "...[Toscanini's] 1940 concert of the Requiem was at once relaxed and powerful, and it remains one of the greatest on record."

The second edition (now deleted) evoked equally enthusiastic responses:

"...the strength of this wonderful account of the Requiem is not so much its power – great though that evidently was – but its tenderness, warmth and flexibility (a quality not always associated with the maestro), and the exceptional, and well-recorded, soloists: Zinka Milanov (outstanding, that one slip apart), the splendid Bruna Castagna, Jussi Björling in glorious voice, and Nicola Moscona."
-Cairns, The Sunday Times (UK)

"Verdi's Requiem Mass, a stunning performance (much better – and broader – than Toscanini's official RCA recording) crowned, voice-wise, by the trumpeting tenor of Jussi Björling. Although old and "mono", it sounds better than ever on a brand new Music & Arts transfer. . . .Toscanini conducted the Requiem on both the first and the 50th anniversaries of Verdi's death, and his command of the score – its outward drama and inward poetry – is still unrivalled."
-Rob Cowan, The Independent (UK)

"Toscanini's 1940 Carnegie Hall broadcast of the Verdi Requiem was originally brought out by Music & Arts in 1986. Superbly remastered for this reissue that removes a few clicks and pops from the earlier one, it stands as a more flexible, yet equally intense reading of Verdi's "greatest opera" and surely one of Toscanini's towering achievements at NBC."
-Mortimer H. Frank, Fanfare

"Many Toscanini collectors regard his 23 November 1940 NBC broadcast of Verdi's Requiem to be his finest recorded performance of the work, overall. . . Toscanini held the reins in rather tightly in his "official" 1951 NBC recording of the work...By comparison, the fabled Toscanini elasticity is heard in abundance in this 1940 performance."
-Gary A. Galo, ARSC Journal

"Anyone unfamiliar with these 1940 broadcasts of the Verdi and Beethoven scores is missing two of Toscanini's great achievements at NBC, both providing freer, more intensely dramatic and more rhythmically supple glosses on his later RCA recordings."
-Mortimer H. Frank, Classic Record Collector

"... this is a devout and exciting performance. Considering its vintage, the sound is impressive – well-balanced and undistorted."
-Raymond Tuttle, Classical Net


Music and Arts

CD-4049(4) FURTWANGLER CONDUCTS BEETHOVEN: THE BEST OF THE WORLD WAR II LEGACY—NEW EDITION WITH A 2012 STATE OF THE ART RESTORATION OF THE NINTH! CD #1 - 76:04, Symphony #3 in Eb, Op. 55 (VPO, 19/20 Dec. 1944); Overture to "Coriolan," Op. 6 (BPO 27/30 June 1943); Overture #3 to "Leonore," Op. 72 (VPO, 2 June 1944). CD #2 - 76:49, Symphony #5 in c, Op. 67 (BPO, 27/30 June 1943); Symphony #6 in F, Op. 68 (BPO, 20/22 March 1944). CD #3 - 73:26, Symphony #4 in Bb, Op. 60 (BPO, 27/30 June 1943); Symphony #7 in A, Op. 92 (BPO, 31 Oct./3 Nov. 1943). CD #4 - 73:12, Symphony #9 in D-minor, Op. 125 with Erna Berger (soprano), Gertrude Pitzinger (contralto), Walter Ludwig (tenor), Rudolf Watzke (bass), and the Philharmonic Choir (BPO, 22/24 March 1942). Notes by John Ardoin. (AAD) UPC # 0-17685-40492-4. 4 CDs priced as 3.

Available April 2, 2013!

BUZZ: These are the best World War II performances of Beethoven's symphonies under the baton of Furtwängler. Previously released versions on our label were acclaimed in Fanfare, American Record Guide, Pulse!, Absolute Sound, Diapason, Musica, and numerous other journals. Symphony No. 9 has been completely re-mastered for this edition by Aaron Z. Snyder from a new source and sounds better than any prior issue.

"... a complete understanding of the genius of Beethoven is impossible without some acquaintace with Furtwängler's incandescent readings, before, during or after World War II. There is also something not a little unsettling about remembering what was going on in Berlin and Vienna when these concerts took place. The spectacle of Beethoven's humanism, of civilization trying to survive against the cruelest odds, is undeniably gripping. Music and Arts' digital remastering is impeccable."
-Octavio Roca, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle

"Music and Arts has collected a series of wartime Beethoven concerts of intense power and thought-through musicality....[Furtwängler's] music-making reflects the anguish of his heart, the sincerity of a tormented soul who glorified Beethoven as the collective conscience of his race."
-Gary Lemco, AUDAD.com

"There are more Furtwängler Beethoven recordings out there than one can shake a stick at, and not all of them capture the conductor in his best form...Separating the dross from the gold can be daunting. Get the EMI commercial recordings and then this set."
-Lawrence Hansen, American Record Guide

"These are all wartime performances of phenomenal intensity and even ferocity, superbly transferred . . . the sheer dramatic thrust and white heat in each of these readings make this a memorable set."
-Henry Fogel, Fanfare



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