Search - The Television Concerts, 1948-52, Vol. 1 on DVD

The Television Concerts, 1948-52, Vol. 1
The Television Concerts 1948-52 Vol 1
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     2hr 1min


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Movie Details

Creators: Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, Arturo Toscanini, NBC Symphony Orchestra
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Testament UK
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 02/14/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 1min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical,Import
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

As good as it gets! Wonderful!
L. Chisholm | Denton, TX United States | 02/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These DVDs are essentially the same as the VHS release in every way. The titles, Martin Bookspan commentary, end credits, booklet notes are all present (and no, the televised David Sarnoff introduction is not there). I am not a fan of the cover art, or of the menus. At first, I thought this was a cheap transfer and not much was paid to clean up the picture and sound, as I experienced with the DVD Toscanini documentary released by RCA in 2004. Then the concerts started and my fears were washed away.

The picture is as improved as it might ever get. I think you have to approach your expectations with the idea that these are historical documents. Since this was the early days of television, and of presenting televised concerts, you can count on the picture being primitive, camera shots not well planned, and variable focus work. If you are looking for pristine HDTV, forget it. I am not sure if Testament got hold of the original negatives or tapes, but they worked on the picture and it shows. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Some of it was darn near perfect! There are still some dust and spots, but that will never be eliminated because of the age. I was overall pleased.

The sound is the next big concern. It is the make or break element. They did an incredible job on the sound and put it on PCM Twin mono. It was all a massive improvement! I went back to my old VHS to make sure, and there is no comparison. The treble/bass sounds more natural. It is all crisp. Magnificent.

The final test was the audio/picture synchronization. The old VHS tapes were off a bit, and thus marred the overall enjoyment. The sync in the DVDs are all fixed and we finally get to see Maestro as he should be seen: in clear command with tight accurate conducting, and the rapid response from a world-class orchestra. For me, this made my appreciation for Maestro Toscanini's art all the more exhilarating.

As for the performances, this first volume is my personal favorite. I am a passionate Wagner fan, and Beethoven Ninth Symphony is my favorite composition in the literature. Maestro Toscanini's passion for these works is obvious when you finally see him conduct.

The brisk opening to Act III of Lohengrin begins the all-Wagner concert. Then Forest Murmurs (Siegfried), Dawn&Rhine Journey (Götterdämerung), Overture&Bacchanale (Tannhäuser), and ending with the thrilling Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre. The only misstep is the out of tune opening of the Tannhäuser, but the rest is brilliant.

The second program is the Beethoven's Ninth, and it will bring tears to your eyes. Unlike the moody dirge we hear so often these days in the first three movements, the feeling Maestro Toscanini gives is one where we are leading towards our final union with the Almighty Spirit. The first movement is full of drama and pathos, the second is bright and full of earnest, and the third gives us quiet solemnity. In the Finale, we break the bonds of the difficult past and celebrate with joy our future. Toscanini made this movement happy and joyous. Perhaps the most joyful I have ever heard it! Chorus and the soloists work as one, which I hardly hear in any performance. Nothing is rushed or dragged. It is the most inspired and satisfying I have experienced. And above all, it all seemed honest and true to Beethoven.

I really hope Testament can get hold of the rights to the Toscanini/Verdi "La Forza del Destino" Overture and "Hymn of Nations" film of 1943. As far as I know, the complete film has never been released on VHS or DVD. RCA did a lackluster job on it for their documentary some years back and made massive cuts. I'd like to see it restored and cleaned up for DVD, released as it should be. I think Testament is the best company to do it."
Here's the program
Mark Hite | Columbus, OH | 03/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Telecast: 20 March, 1948 at NBC Studio 8-H, New York City
Introduction to the concert
Lohengrin ­ Prelude to Act III
Tannhäuser ­ Overture & Bacchanale
Siegfried ­ Forest Murmurs
Götterdämmerung ­ Dawn & Siegfried's Rhine Journey
Die Walküre ­ Ride of the Valkyries
NBC Symphony Orchestra

Telecast: 3 April, 1948 at NBC Studio 8-H, New York City
Introduction to the concert
Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125, 'Choral'

Anne McKnight ­ soprano · Jane Hobson ­ contralto
Erwin Dillon ­ tenor · Norman Scott ­ bass
Members of the Collegiate Chorale
NBC Symphony Orchestra

This is why Toscanini is the Maestro
Mark Mccollum | Arkansas | 03/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a near priceless reproduction of the first two live Television Concerts, the all-Wagner performance of March 20, 1948 and the performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 on April 3, exactly two weeks after the Wagner concert.

The Wagner concert is great, including the thrilling and intense Ride of the Valkyries to conclude, yet the shining star on this DVD is the Maestro's performance of Beethoven. It is intense in the first two movements, peaceful while brisk in the Adagio movement, leading up to the glorious "Ode to Joy" theme. The opening movement is very fast, only 12:55, and scorches just about all contemporary and subsequent readings of this movement. At this pace, though, Toscanini conducts the climactic passage perfectly, with nearly unsurpassed fury and intensity which would make the Maestro Beethoven proud, and the movement closes out brilliantly, as well. The second movement continues on with a similar theme, which Toscanini conveys excellently as well.

The third movement is where most conductors love to indulge in sentimentality where it was not intended, but Toscanini allows the music to flow and keeps it pressing forward beautifully. The final movement, though is where Toscanini truly shines, from the introduction of the "Ode to Joy" theme on to the end. Tempi still matter though, and the Maestro nails it, from the chorus singing in unison the first stanza on to the conclusion. The rousing Allegro energico section is one of the most memorable moments of the finale and the appropriate military-march tempo taken by Toscanini makes it this much better, and this march-style tempo is behind the concluding Prestissimo, which Toscanini gets right: a joyful march at the fastest pace a human drummer could go, which is what Beethoven envisioned. Start to finish, Toscanini's 1948 performance is one of the very best performances of Symphony No. 9 of all-time."
Lois G. Jackson | Boulder, C | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my first purchase of the series and I love it. I plan to purchase all of them.

He was such an extraordinary man/conductor. They have done a wonderful job of restoring these old televised series.

I highly recommend these to anyone that enjoys his conducting and classical music."