Television Concerts 1948-52 1 / (B&W)

Overview

Arturo Toscanini was among television's very first classical music stars. Already a fixture on NBC radio, he made the jump to television on March 20, 1948, in the broadcast represented on the first half of this DVD, consisting entirely of orchestral highlights from Richard Wagner's operas. Originally issued by BMG Classics on VHS tape and laserdisc at the end of the 1980s, these broadcasts represented a serious breakthrough for music on the air, offering one of the best orchestras in the world under the baton of ...
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Overview

Arturo Toscanini was among television's very first classical music stars. Already a fixture on NBC radio, he made the jump to television on March 20, 1948, in the broadcast represented on the first half of this DVD, consisting entirely of orchestral highlights from Richard Wagner's operas. Originally issued by BMG Classics on VHS tape and laserdisc at the end of the 1980s, these broadcasts represented a serious breakthrough for music on the air, offering one of the best orchestras in the world under the baton of the most renowned conductor of the first half of the 20th century, in excellent sound for its time and state-of-the-art visuals. The DVD represents a serious step up from the prior format editions, the digital transfer pushing the resolution of the source kinescope literally, film shot off a television monitor to preserve a live broadcast, in the days before videotape to the limit and making the full-screen 1.33:1 image as crisp and detailed as it ever could or will be. Indeed, Volume One is so sharp that you can see the after-image of the NBC logo, burned into one of the cameras that handles the conductor's close-ups from being shown too much. The sound is a bit compressed, but there's enough detail here to get a close, intimate feeling from the playing of the reeds on the opening to the "Tannhauser Overture," and still hear the different parts of the orchestra in crisp, close detail, even in the 1948-vintage mono mix. The bass part of the sound can take some boosting, but considering how far this broadcast was from any notion of modern high-fidelity audio, it is not bad. The camera angles are surprisingly diverse considering how new the notion of a broadcast such as this was, and one gets views of the conductor, the orchestra, and the audience. One aspect that will feel strange to modern viewers is how exclusively white and male the players are; the NBC Symphony reflected its era, which is not to slight its players -- they were exceptional, as revealed in these broadcasts and their extensive recordings. The second program, which is given over to a performance of the "Beethoven Symphony No. 9," reflects some refinements learned from the previous telecast and more diverse shots, and the audio quality here is better, capturing the necessary quiet of the piece's opening section. A considerable amount of audio as well as video restoration went into the preparation of these shows for their reissue in the late '80s, 40 years after they were last seen, and the 2005 remastering has only enhanced their value -- unlike many DVD releases, the producers were willing to push the volume levels on this disc. It's still very much an archival release of historical interest, but with far fewer apologies and explanations needed. Each work on the two programs, and each movement of the major pieces, gets its own chapter marker, and the disc is also very heavily annotated, in an essay that covers Toscanini's musical importance, his relationship to NBC, and the particulars of the specific broadcasts represented here.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/14/2006
  • UPC: 749677100391
  • Source: Testament Uk
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:01:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 49,596

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Arturo Toscanini/NBC Symphony Orchestra: The Television Concerts - 1948-52, Vol. 1
1. Introduction [1:28]
2. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Lohengrin - Prelude to Act 3 [3:13]
3. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Tannhäuser - Overture & Bacchanale [23:19]
4. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Siegfried - Forest Murmurs [8:41]
5. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Götterdämmerung - Dawn & Siegfried's Rhine Journey [11:10]
6. Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Die Walküre - Ride of the Valkyries [5:59]
7. Introduction [1:22]
8. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral" - 1. Allegro Ma Non Troppo, un Poco Maestoso [13:10]
9. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral" - 2. Scherzo, Molto Vivace [13:52]
10. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral" - 3. Adagio Molto e Cantabile [13:30]
11. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral" - Finale, Presto - "Ode to Joy" - Allegro Assai [25:33]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Arturo Toscanini/NBC Symphony Orchestra: The Television Concerts - 1948-52, Vol. 1
   Chapter Index
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