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Icon: Arturo Toscanini - The HMV Recordings: Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Wagner, Brahms, Debussy, Elgar, Sibelius [6 CDs]

Notes & Reviews:

This 6-CD set entitled Complete HMV Recordings is entirely devoted to Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini. Known simply as 'The Maestro', Toscanini attracted adoring fans wherever and whenever he performed and his visit to London in 1935 was nothing short of a sensation, quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town. Toscanini had already dazzled London audiences in 1930 with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra and when he returned to the capital five years later he performed with a British ensemble for the first time: the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Formed in 1930, the BBCSO quickly established a reputation for virtuosity and was an ideal vehicle for Toscanini's fiery musicianship. His visit was without question the highlight of the orchestra's short history to that date. The HMV recordings that result from this collaboration have simply not been surpassed. For instance, his outstanding performance of Debussy's La Mer benefits from both a vital energy and a variety of colors (which the recording, despite of its age, is surprisingly fully able to bring to our ears) and explains in itself the higher respect from the composer to the maestro.

The ICON series returns to pays homage to some of the greatest recording artists with these elegantly-packaged multi-CD sets devoted to their finest recordings. The next installment in the series offers five titles which showcase the artistry of Arturo Toscanini, Boris Christoff, Brigitte Fassbaender, Constantin Silvestri, and John McCormack.


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