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Toscanini, Hailed by Palestine, Says, ‘I Found My Corner Here’

December 28, 1936
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Holy Land today took to its heart the world famed conductor, Arturo Toscanini, who last night presided over its most important cultural event in recent times — the opening concert of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra.

Before a capacity audience in the Levant Fair Hall near the shores of the Mediterranean the orchestra of musicians in exile from Germany played Rossini’s “Scala di Sieta” overture, Brahms’ “Second Symphony,” Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony,” Mendelssohn’s Nocturne from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Weber’s “Oberon” overture.

Afterward, at a banquet in his honor at which Jewish leaders expressed gratitude to him for coming here, the noted conductor, who will be 70 years old next March, whispered:

“I have passed many countries; here I have found my corner.”

A special concert for the benefit of the Histadruth, Jewish labor federation, was scheduled for tonight. The Jewish Agency for Palestine will hold a reception for the orchestra Tuesday. On Wednesday, the orchestra will play in Jerusalem and the second half of the concert is tentatively scheduled to be broadcast to the United States by the National Broadcasting Company. Toscanini will take the orchestra to Cairo on Jan. 7 and Alexandria Jan. 9.

Last night’s concert was attended by leaders in every walk of life, with only the Arabs seemingly unrepresented. High Commissioner Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope had bought 40 tickets. Others present were Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency, chiefs of the army and air forces, scientists, artists and officials of the municipality.

Before the beginning of the concert, the fire brigade band played outside “God Save the King” and “Hatikvah,” the Jewish national an- them. The maestro received an ovation when he stepped to the podium and after the overture large bouquets were presented to him from the enthusiastic audience.


A full half hour of applause began after the closing strains of the “Oberon” overture had brought the performance to a close. Among those who thanked Toscanini at the dinner later were Bronislaw Huberman, violinist and founder of the orchestra, and municipal officials.

It was recalled that when Toscanini accepted Mr. Huberman’s invitation in New York last February to conduct the orchestra, he made it clear that “it is the duty of everyone to fight and help this sort of cause according to one’s means,” referring to the “struggle against Nazism and in the upbuilding of Palestine.”

Preparations for the premiere had taken on the aspects of a national holiday. Dressmakers and shops reaped a harvest supplying evening wear. Confectioners contributed to the festive air by offering huge cakes with Toscanini’s portrait in icing.

Tickets for the performance were at a premium. The final rehearsal was turned into a public concert for the unemployed and the poor, at which Toscanini and Huberman were given ovations.

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