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  • Arturo Toscanini Legacy, Vol. 9 ~ French Orchestral Music: Debussy / Ravel / Berlioz / Franck / Herold,etc.
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Arturo Toscanini Legacy, Vol. 9 ~ French Orchestral Music: Debussy / Ravel / Berlioz / Franck / Herold,etc. Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, November 9, 1999
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
  • Composer: Louis J. F. Herold, Ambroise Thomas, Paul Dukas, Debussy, Ravel, et al.
  • Audio CD (November 9, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA / BMG
  • ASIN: B00002JXEQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. La Mer: From Dawn Till Noon On The Sea
2. La Mer: Play Of The Waves
3. La Mer: Dialogue Of The Wind And The Sea
4. Iberia: Images Pour Orchestre, No.2: In The Streets And Byways
5. Iberia: Images Pour Orchestre, No.2: Fragrances Of The Night
6. Iberia: Images Pour Orchestre, No.2: The Morning Of A Festival Day
7. Nocturnes, No.1: Nuages
8. Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun
9. Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite No.2: Daybreak
10. Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite No.2: Pantomime
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Roman Carnival Op.9, Overture
2. Queen Mab: Romeo Et Juliette, Op.17, Scherzo
3. Psyche, No.4: Psyche Et Eros
4. Zampa, Ouverture
5. Danse Macabre, Op.40
6. Carmen, Suite No.1
7. Mignon, Ouverture
8. The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Scherzo

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Here, it sounds fantastic.
madamemusico
I've never heard Toscanini's recording of "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun," Debussy's first great masterpiece.
Robert E. Nylund
This is great music making with no apology or rose-colored glasses.
Santa Fe Listener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Towards the end of his life Toscanini was more than a great conductor--he was The Maestro in excelsis. I grew up in that era and would sit in awe before his Verdi Requiem and Missa Solemnis, oblivious of the cramped, dry sonics and hard-riding tempos. But the age of Bernstein and Karajan, followed by the revival of Furtwangler, threw Toscanini into the shade. I can honstely say that until this month I had forgotten him entirely.

Now, thanks to the amazing technology whereby these tinny old NBC Sym. recordings have blossomed into a warm, natural, open acoustic (we can all quit cursing Studio 8-H), it's possible to reevaluate Toscanini. In this 2-CD colleciton of French orchestral works he is at his very best. It's a shock to listen to his La Mer and realize that it might well be the best performance on disc. Toscanini refines Debussy to the compressed clarity of a crystal--not a single note breaks loose from the perfect structure. In this new remastering the solo instruments actually have color and the strings sing. The mystery and drama implicit in Debussy's tone poem wrap us in an enveloping trance.

The Nuages from Trois Nocturnes and the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, also in excellent sound, expose us to a Toscanini cliche, that he drove the music too hard late in life. This faun isn't out to seduce girls but to hook them on dexedrine--the tempo is much too fast and devoid of atmosphere. Yet the same crystalline clarity is there and becomes magnified in an outstanding Iberia, which has all the flexibility, half-supressed eroticism, and Spanish nostalgia the score deamnds. One is riveted from note to note by Toscanini's firm but intuitive phrasing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Nylund on October 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Here is a fine collection of some of the best works by French composers featuring Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, all taken from studio recordings. Most of these were made in Carnegie Hall and benefit from its outstanding acoustics.

Remarkably, Debussy's "La Mer" and "Iberia" and Dukas' "The Sorceror's Apprentice" were made in NBC Studio 8-H; when there was no audience present in that studio, the sound was generally better, although it still lacked the reverberation of most concert halls. The performances, however, are outstanding. "La Mer," in particular has seldom sounded as haunting as it did in Toscanini's 1950 Studio 8-H recording. "Iberia" is exciting and colorful, as Debussy intended, and "The Sorceror's Apprentice" is lively and energetic, even if the tempo is a bit faster than most performances.

I've never heard Toscanini's recording of "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun," Debussy's first great masterpiece. The "Daphnis and Chloe" suite by Ravel is sensational, even if one misses the wordless chorus used in most performances and recordings. Toscanini brings out the beauty and sensitivity of the slower sections, then achieves great excitement in the spectacular finale.

Toscanini did well with Berlioz, as the "Roman Carnival" and "Queen Mab Scherzo" demonstrate. Fortunately, Toscanini also recorded the complete "Romeo and Juliet" dramatic symphony in 1947; I believe that was the first recording of the full score and was made after a highly-acclaimed NBC broadcast concert.

"Psyche and Eros" by Cesar Franck is absolutely brilliant, quite moving, in Toscanini's studio recording in Carnegie Hall.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By madamemusico on August 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you are one of those people who do not believe that Arturo Toscanini was a great artist, the first CD in this set should convince you. Consider, for instance, the fact that Debussy's "La Mer" is a supremely difficult piece--so difficult that conductors like Furtwangler and Stokowski never touched it, and others like Munch and Beecham did not conduct it well--and you will come to appreciate the accuracy and beauty of this 1950 NBC recording. It is, in fact, the best performance of "La Mer" recorded before the early 1970s.
Toscanini's Debussy was different from most conductors. Though he conducted sensitively, he did not pursue a soft or "cushy" sound, but rather his usual lean ambience with wonderful clarity in the inner voices. Yet this approach worked beautifully for "La Mer," "Iberia" and, surprisingly, "Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un Faune," which is the best performance of that piece I have ever heard. On the other hand, he never performed the first or third "Images for Orchestra" (Gigues and Ronde du Printemps), and his reading of the first two Nocturnes were a bit brusque and pedantic. This is where Bernard Haitink comes in. His "La Mer" and "Iberia" are second-best to Toscanini, and his "Nocturnes" (all three of them, not just Nuages and Fetes) and other "Images" are the best ever recorded--thus they complement one another in this music.
As for the remainder of the set, even with 20-bit remastering the limited sonics betray Toscanini's intent in Berlioz' "Roman Carnival Overture" (Munch is still the best in this work) and Thomas' "Mignon" Overture is sentimental drivel, but all else is good music performed beautifully.
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