Anyone with a propensity for profound searchings-between-the-lines could discover all manner of mystic significance in Toscanini’s choice of a program with which to celebrate his sixty-seventh birthday.
Those given to metaphysical subtleties might in all seriousness tell you that the predominant gayety of the Sixth Symphony of Beethoven and the all-persuasive tragedy of the only symphony Cesar Franck gave the world found their way into this Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra program because Toscanini meant to convey a “message,” a sermon or other inanity.
I can tell only of the wondrous propriety of the proceedings. And of how full, of a vitality belying his years, keen and sensitive and mentally unwavering the Maestro appeared on this occasion amid thunderous applause and rising tributes by orchestra and audience.
He gave to the Franck symphony, easily the most eloquent and stirring musical work in an epic form ever to come out of French culture, a performance I will never forget.
He poured into it lavishly his own understanding of the grave and tender genius of the Belgian turned-Frenchman. He toyed with the theatre implicit in the score. He sought out its nuances so he might embellish them with his own sensitiveness. He built again its dramatic structures. It breathed with the breath of life.
Before that, in the Beethoven composition, there was a forecast of the grandeur of the Franck. The orchestra played as though some transfiguration had been wrought in it.
A NOTE OR TWO
Unquestionably the most important event of the music season, and it may be, of many seasons, will be the American premiere of Ernest Bloch’s “Avodath Hakodesh” (Sacred Service) Wednesday evening, April 11, at Carnegie Hall.
The chorus of the Schola Cantorum (250 voices), Friedrich Schorr, baritone of the ##tan Opera, and eighty members of the Philharmonic-Symphony will perform the work, with the composer conducting.
Armand Tokatyan, tenor, was received with enthusiasm by a large audience in Town Hall a week ago today at his sole recital of the season. Nils Nelson was at the piano.
The Yiddish Culture Society Chorus, assisted by Gdal Saleski, cellist, and conducted by Lazar Weiner, gave a concert at City College Auditorium the night before.
Stadium Concerts, Inc., announces a significant new departure for its eight-week season, beginning June 26 and ending August 20. Each Friday and Saturday evening complete operas will be given. The other five nights will be devoted to the traditional orchestral concerts.
Conductors will include Jose Iturbi, Eugene Ormandy and William Van Hoogstraten, with Alexander Smallens directing the operatic shows. Special performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis and of the Bloch Sacred Service already mentioned will be featured. Hugh Ross, director of the Schola Cantorum, will conduct the choral programs.