Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beethoven: First Symphony (Rodzinski)

Artur Rodzinski
Happy Beethoven's birthday, everyone! To celebrate, here is the first of the "immortal nine" (to use Edwin Evans' phrase), in a taut, vigorous reading by the Polish-born conductor Artur Rodzinski (1892-1958).  From 1933 to 1943 he was the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, which he built up into the world-class ensemble that it remains today.  During the 1940s, he enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Columbia Records, first in Cleveland and then in New York, making recordings not only of standard repertoire but of works considered very daring at the time - symphonies by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Sibelius, and Berg's Violin Concerto with its dedicatee, Louis Krasner.  But this is the only recording of a Beethoven symphony he was to make for Columbia, who also had Bruno Walter on its books by this time:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21
Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodzinski
Recorded December 28, 1941
Columbia Masterworks set MM-535, four 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 59.35 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 49.21 MB)

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