RCA reissues Toscanini catalog in 84-CD set

Posted on: July 6, 2012

In Sunday’s (7/1) Los Angeles Times, Tim Page writes, “It is always illuminating to immerse oneself every now and again in the collected works of a great artist. Ezra Pound defined a classic as something that ‘remains news,’ and after listening to many, many hours of Arturo Toscanini’s recorded conducting over the past month, it is clear that he more than passes Pound’s test. … RCA has just issued virtually the entire Toscanini catalog in an 84-CD set with a bonus DVD, titled ‘The Maestro,’ thrown in for lagniappe. … Toscanini was not especially interested in the recording process, and the sound on many of the discs is arid and constrained compared with what Leopold Stokowski had managed with the Philadelphia Orchestra … But there is so much that is beautiful here. We knew Toscanini was a magnificent Rossini conductor (no condescension intended—I think Rossini the most underrated genius of the early 19th century), but what about Gluck? Here is a loving, radiant, proportionate and altogether heartbreaking rendition of Act 2 of ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ with the soprano Nan Merriman. And Toscanini is unusually fine in Berlioz, who was still considered a minor composer in the mid-20th century.”

Posted July 6, 2012