Sony Classical brings a new collection nearly 90 years in the making. “Arturo Toscanini: The Essential Recordings” is a 20-disc collection over a thousand minutes in length that celebrates the work of conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957). The recordings in this collection were made for the RCA Victor label between 1929 and 1952. This compilation celebrates Toscanini’s 150th birthday and his over seven decades on the podium.
The collection includes several operas, such as Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice.” Other operatic performances in the collection include scenes from Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” the final act of Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” and complete performances of Verdi’s “Otello” and “Falstaff.” This collection also contains a 1946 performance that Toscanini led in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s “La bohème” (which Toscanini had conducted in 1896).
The orchestral works on “Arturo Toscanini: The Essential Recordings” range from pieces by Classical and Romantic composers to compositions by Toscanini’s contemporaries. The works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Brahms appear alongside music of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Ottorino Respighi and Jean Sibelius. The collection includes Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” the premiere of which Toscanini conducted in 1938.