Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Ludwig van Beethoven, NBC Symphony Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini ‎– Missa Solemnis

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

Today's post combines our ongoing #Beethoven2020 series and Holy Week with a Once Upon the Internet share sourced from the old Japanese Public Domain Classic site we so often have acknowledged in past Tuesday Blogs.

A few days ago on my Friday Blog and Podcast, I began a look at Beethoven's sacred choral works with the oratorio Christus am Ölberge and a YouTube share of the Mass in C. Today, we complete the trifecta with the Missa Solemnis in a vintage performance featuring the Robert Shaw Chorale, Canadian and American soloists and the NBC Symphony all under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. I believe this recording was part of a complete Beethoven symphony cycle issued on RCA Victor.

Composed from 1819 to 1823, it was first performed on 7 April 1824 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, under the auspices of Beethoven's patron Prince Nikolai Galitzin; an incomplete performance was given in Vienna on 7 May 1824, the Kyrie, Credo, and Agnus Dei were conducted by the composer at the same concert which premiered the Ninth Symphony. It is generally considered one of the composer's supreme achievements and, along with Bach's Mass in B minor, one of the most significant Mass settings of the common practice period.

There are at least three commercially-available performances of the Missa under Toscanini, two (from 1940 and 1953) with the NBC Symphony stir debate among aficionados, most preferring the soloist quartet and overall performance of the earlier version. However, the 1953 session benefits from Carnegie Hall as a venue and a better engineered result. Whether it ranks #1 or #2, let's all agree that Toscanini captures the solemnity of the piece, and gets he most out of his singers and orchestra.

Happy listening!

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770- 1827)
Missa Solemnis, in D Major, op. 123

Lois Marshall, Soprano
Nan Merriman, Mezzo-soprano
Eugene Conley, Tenor
Jerome Hines, Bass
The Robert Shaw Chorale (Chorus Master – Robert Shaw)
NBC Symphony Orchestra
Arturo Toscanini, conducting

Recording: New York, 1953
Source: Public Domain Classic

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/Ludwig-van-B...elease/5287415
Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/103missasolemnisop.123credo

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