An on-line news service devoted to museums and exhibitions in New York City and vicinity. John Hammond, Editor Emeritus • Jonathan Slaff, Publisher • copyright © 2007

Home - Museum Guide - Design & Architecture - International
Guide to Community Tourism - The Creative Economy - New York Theatre Wire




ARTURO TOSCANINI: Homage to the Maestro

At the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library & Museum

By Glenn Loney



The Lincoln Center performing Arts Library & Museum
725 Park Ave. at 70th St.

Closing May 25, 2007

Arturo Toscanini aboard the U.S.S. Rex, December 28, 1933.

The Toscanini Legacy--given to the Performing Arts Library in Lincoln Center--is enormous, voluminous, and it has cost tremendous sums to preserve it digitally.

The interesting new show in the Amsterdam Gallery offers only the proverbial Tip-of-the-Iceberg in surveying the range of the collections.

Huge reels of film & tape and large broadcast-transcription-recordings--they play from the inside outward!--are on display. The moving-images and the symphonic-sounds on them are also on view on several video-monitors.

Maestro Arturo Toscanini's tenure as Conductor of the NBC Symphony--created especially for him, with regular broadcasts--is handsomely saluted in this exhibition.

Otello Rehearsal, 1947. Rehearsal in NBC Studio 8-H, during the December, 1947 rehearsals of Verdi’s Otello. Pictured with Toscanini are Ramon Vinay & Herva Nelli.

This also serves as a Reminder that no other American Radio or TV Network, then or since, has sponsored a symphonic orchestra. Although that is the Rule in most major European Cities. Note the much-admired BBC Symphony! The Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester! The Südwestfunk Orchester… etc, etc, etc…

In one showcase, a Beethoven symphonic-score lies open. The Maestro has inked in ''Improvements'' to the Original!

The reason for this, however, is Technical. In Beethoven's time, the horns had a very limited range of notes. Toscanini's hornists could extend the range, so the Maestro merely did what Beethoven would surely have done, had he survived another century or so…

The Maestro similarly aided Puccini--who was himself unsure about the effects of some of his melodies and scoring. Madama Butterfly was initially seen as a failure, but Toscanini was able to make it a memorable success with his suggestions.