Format: COMPACT DISC
The Cleveland Orchestra
Following Sony Classical’s recent 16-CD release of Artur Rodzinski’s New York Philharmonic recordings, here is the label’s eagerly awaited 13-disc collection of his complete recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra, which Rodzinski headed from 1933 to 1943. The fiery, volatile Polish conductor (1892–1958) – whose lean, propulsive style emulated that of his idol Toscanini – earned a reputation as a builder of great orchestras: he led and developed the Los Angeles Philharmonic before taking up his position in Cleveland. In 1935, he brought nationwide attention to the midwestern orchestra when he conducted it in the US première of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. During his tenure in Cleveland, Rodzinski moulded its orchestra into a brilliant ensemble which his successor, George Szell, would then elevate to international pre-eminence. Meanwhile, Rodzinski was also active in Europe, becoming the first naturalized American to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival. There Toscanini admired his work and in 1938 picked him to train his new NBC Symphony Orchestra. In Cleveland between 1939 and 1942, Rodzinski conducted a number of important recordings for Columbia Masterworks, all of them contained in this new set. With dedicatee Louis Krasner as soloist, he made the first studio recording of the Berg Violin Concerto. His other acclaimed 78-sets include the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade (“among the finest statements ever given this incorrigibly popular score” – High Fidelity), Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, the Fifth Symphony of Tchaikovsky (“Remarkable here is the tension of the second movement and the heroic close to the first” – Gramophone) as well as those of Sibelius and Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet (“Unsullied excitement” – Gramophone), Debussy’s La Mer and the orchestral “scenario” from Jerome Kern’s Show Boat – plus a previously unreleased recording of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Nathan Milstein. Until now, most of these albums have only been released on 78s and reissued on LP. Thus Sony Classical’s meticulously transferred and mastered 13-disc collection of Rodzinski’s Cleveland recordings fills a large gap in this still widely admired conductor’s CD discography.