Notes & Reviews:
A little known fact about the conductor Willem Mengelberg is just how much he did for the American composers of his time. He served as conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1922-1928. One of the very first recordings he made for the Victor Talking Machine Company was a two disc set devoted to "The Victory Ball" by Ernest Schelling. From 1926 on, until the end of his contract, he was forced to share the podium with Toscanini. This rivalry did not work very well, but it forced Mengelberg into even more adventurous programming featuring even more American music. It is amazing the number of composers he championed: Emerson Whithorne, John Powell, Howard Hanson, George Templeton Strong, Deems Taylor and Henry Hadley, among others. The wonderful thing was that when he returned to Amsterdam and the Concertgebouw, he performed much of this same repertory there, thus giving a wider exposure to some wonderful American music.