GHCD 2337/38 – Arturo Toscanini – All Brahms – 1935/36

New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini – Conductor

To the CD in our Shop

American Record Guide January / February 2009

Guild is a Swiss firm that has distinguished itself in recent years with a number of valuable releases of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony. Notable among them are an excellent issue of the 1940 Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Zinka Milanov, Bruna Castagna, Jussi Bjoerling, and Alexander Kipnis [2CD], never released commercially but occasionally available in varying jolly roger editions; a beautiful Brahms Requiem from 1943; and a superb remastering, using new source materi­al, of the great Verdi Otello of 1947 originally issued by RCA. The Guild album (3CD) also offers 62 minutes of rehearsals of Act III (1/A 2005).The Sound of this new Brahms album with the NY Philharmonic from 1935 and 36 is not on that level. The release stems from broadcast recordings several generations removed from the Originals, and unless someone comes up with better transcriptions (one assumes Guild has looked), these are probably all that is left to document these performances. For the Toscanini enthusiast that is probably all that needs to be Said, but the faint-of-heart gener­alist may well think twice. Listeners with per­fect pitch should beware. What we get are sometimes-wobbly silhouettes of the perfor­mances that offer the contours, tempos, and the poise of the Works but not the color or the full blending of choirs that so characterized the maestro’s work. The Winds are often wav­ery in tone, the clarinets in particular, suggest­ing that somewhere along the live the record­ings may have been preserved on a tape recorder with pinch-roller problems.

This album does attest to the fact that Toscanini was playing the two Serenades at a time when almost no one else was. He obvi­ously loved them, and these are among the best-tempered (now vigorous, now affection­ate) things he ever did. The pacing is broad and relaxed, which was typical of much of his work with the Philharmonic. The scherzo (II) of Serenade 2, for example, is paced genially; whereas the Same movement of the same work in 1942 with the NBC (released by RCA) is fast enough so that the clever dialog between the strings and the Winds, particularly those wood­wind echoes, is cramped and poorly articulat­ed.

The inclusion of the Four Songs, Op. 17, for Women’s voices, harp, and French horns, reflects Toscanini’s innate curiosity and the fact that his repertory then was broader than it later was. The third Song -probably the best- ­is based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Come away, come away; death). T’he fourth is Brahms’s arrangement of Schubert’s setting of Ellen’s second song in Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake. The Sound of the NY Ladies Choir is somewhat shrill, and texts would have helped.

Piano Concerto 2 is a January 1936 broad­cast from Carnegie Hall near the end of the conductor’s last season with the Philharmonic in low-fi, somewhat tolerable Sound. It is an exciting reading, the conclusion of II particu­larly; and the remarkably versatile Robert Casadesus, whom we do not usually think of as a Brahmsian, displays command of that com­poser’s style and agreement with Toscanini’s dramatic ideas about the Concerto. In fact, Casadesus ripples through Brahms’s knuckle-­crunching piano writing as though it were the Moonlight Sonata.

Today when we think of this work and Toscanini, we think of his son-in-law Vladimir Horowitz, but they would not come together for the work until 1939 in Lucerne. Their famous recording for RCA was made in 1940. In the meantime, Horowitz was busy playing Brahms’s First Concerto-in 1935 with Toscanini and the Philharmonic (perhaps still available an Appian 6001) and in 1936 with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Bruno Walter (on Archipel 168, minus 4 minutes of the first movement).

The winter of 1936 was a particularly rich interpretive period for Toscanini. In February with the Philharmonic he recorded Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey for Victor. Two months later, in a remarkable burst of collaborative energy with his orchestra, he did Wagner’s Preludes to Acts I and III of Lohengrin, the overtures to Rossini’s Semiramide and L’Italiana in Algeri, Brahms’s Haydn Variations and Beethoven’s Symphony 7. Such was the ensemble perfec­tion of the playing that all six Works were recorded in two days, April 9 and 10. Classics every one, originally issued on 78 rpm, they became available again in 1990-92 as part of RCA’s 71-album reissue of everything the maestro made for that company. Also at that time they were issued in a sonically superior 3-CD remastering by the now-famed restorer Mark Obert-Thorn on Pearl. Obert-Thorn’s latest remasterings of the Philharmonic recordings, as well as those Toscanini made in the 1930s with the BBC, are currently available on Naxos. They have to be ordered from England (see March/Apri12007).

His Philharmonic work done, Toscanini put on his hat and in less than a year accepted an offer from David Sarnoff of NBC to conduct an orchestra specially created for him. Starting with the first broadcast in December 1937, he quickly established the NBC Symphony as a first-rate ensemble (has there ever been orchestra building to match it?) and achieved recognized orchestral landmarks such as the Beethoven cycles of 1939, the 1940 Verdi Requiem and the Missa Solemnis, Tchaikovsky and Brahms concertos with Horowitz, concert performances of the operas Fidelio, La Boheme, Aida, Otello and Falstaff: And the by now 70-year-old had to conduct only one per­formance a week, as opposed to four with the Philharmonic. Put together, Toscanini’s considerable accomplishments with the NBC and earlier with the Philharmonic are enough to make it fashionable these days to condemn portions of his later work with the NBC. A favourite target has been his last set of the Beethoven sym­phonies, recorded from 1949 to 1952, two of them (4 & 5) from NBC broadcasts. That was amended when the great 1953 broadcast of the Eroica was substituted for 1949 in the 1998 remasterings (but 1949 was erroneously listed in the booklet). It is one thing to deplore the hype and mistakes indulged in by NBC and RCA back in the 1950s and 60s-worst of all RCA’s decision to mass-market the recordings in dreadful artificial stereo. It is quite another to equate that hype and marketing with Toscanini’s musicianship.

The 1950s Beethoven symphonies are dif­ferent from 1939, but not inferior. 1939 is gen­erally more compressed and tightly wound, creating a surface tension that lends excite­ment and vitality to the performances. The best is 3, which was issued commercially by Victor despite a prominent cough between the two opening E-flat chords. Technology of the day did not permit editing the cough out. The worst of these performances is the 9th, which is fierce and almost brutal sometimes. As good as are the 1939 and 1949 Eroicas, the 1953 is more open and spacious, yet more contained and to the point. The first-movement exposition of the later 2 has a natural lyricism and thrust hat contrasts with the forced phrasing of 1939. The stark clarity of the 1950s 9th is something that took Toscanini a long time to get right, but did he ever. His late work with the NBC, his “nine” in particular, was charac­terized by a purist overview he came to in his last years. One challenge for him was to demonstrate that favoring strict tempos did not mean being unyielding or unwilling to embrace beautiful moments as they came along. It meant achieving cumulative power not otherwise attainable. This he did very well.

Fanfare Magazine January / February 2009

I was extremely curious to hear this release for a number of reasons. First, to hear how Toscanini conducted the Serenade No. 1; second, to See how this performance of the Piano Concerto No. 2 compares to the magnificent 1948 NBC broadcast with Horowitz; and third, to hear how good the Overall Sound quality was. I felt I was an adequate judge of this since I already had “raw feeds” of the Serenade No. 2, Academic Festival Overture, and the four part-Songs (three written by Brahms, the fourth a Schubert song arranged by Brahms).As I suspected, Toscanini’s performance of the first Serenade is an the brisk side. Comparing it to my favorite performance, Gerard Schwarz conducting the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Nonesuch), Toscanini’s ferst movement is 9:02 compared to Schwarz’s 12:28 (though Toscanini omits two repeats); in the second movement, Schwarz actually beats Toscanini to the finish line (7:18 compared to 7:33). Toscanini is again much swifter in the third movement, but once more because of an omission of repeats. Schwarz throws caution to the Winds in the fourth-movement Menuettos, running through them at 3:58 compared to Toscanini’s relaxed 5:16. Toscanini is slightly quicker in the fifth movement, 2:34 to Schwarz’s 2:54 (again, a repeat observed by Schwarz). In the last movement, they are virtually identical.

But as with many of the New York Philharmonic performances, Toscanini’s tempos are not the Same as his phrasing. What sometimes sounded like a race to the finish in the NBC years, even when a bit slower, was due to the greater impetuosity of his phrasing and a much grander conception of the drama inherent in the music. This is illustrated by his version of the Second Piano Concerto. All four movements are quicker than their NBC counterparts, but with the elegant Frenchman Robert Casadesus at the piano, the entere performance takes on a softer contour and warmer acoustic without sacrificing the drama. Indeed, Casadesus plays more dramatically here than in any other performance of his that I’ve heard.

For those who’ve never heard it, this performance of the Serenade No. 2 is revelatory an many grounds. First, one almost never hears the music presented with this clarity of texture; second, except for the Philharmonia Brahms set, one rarely hears Toscanini conducting anything of Brahms with such airiness and complete lack of hurry. Each movement practically wafts across the listener’s mind like a summer breeze. There is not the slightest trace of impetuosity or haste here. This is as close to perfection as I have ever heard this music, by anyone.

Moving beyond the performances to the sound quality is quite another matter. The biggest problem with most of the Toscanini/NY Phil transcription discs is not so much presence of the orchestra as it is the most ungodly scritch-scratch sounds you’ve ever heard in your life. Even Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio cannot eliminate them, but the approaches of Pristine and Guild (this set was remastered by Peter Reynolds) are poles apart. Both engineers try to balance the sound of the orchestra as much as possible, but whereas Pristine attempts to restore a more natural Luster to the upper range, Guild rolls off the top end in an effort to mask the scritch-scratch. The result is that both companies retain a slight amount of scratch, but Pristine modifies it and tries to blend it into the restored upper string and wind sound, whereas Guild’s solution seems to me to muffle the music without always muffling the scratch. Thus you can just barely hear upper string and wind partials, but you can still hear that damn scratching sound like nails an a blackboard. Neither solution is ideal, mind you. But there is one other thing. Three inner movements of the Serenade No. 1 Buffer from wavering pitch, which may be due to an off­center pressing or to instability of the original turntable, which caused the discs to slip when they were being recorded. Either way, however, Guild made no attempt to correct it.

But since none of this material is commercially available elsewhere, and since it is quite interesting (particularly the part-songs, conducted with a delicate and sensitive hand and again featuring Casadesus an piano), I can easily recommend this as a most valuable addition to any Toscanini aficionado’s collection. Even a blown note in the opening Serenade by hornist Bruno Jaenicke cannot detract from the exquisite warmth and delicacy of these performances, and the highly idiosyncratic reading of the Academic Festival Overture is guaranteed to rebut any Toscanini hater’s dismissal of his style as rushed and abrupt, though many listeners think it sub-par and prefer his 1948 NBC broadcast (not commercially issued).
Lynn Rene Bayley

Fanfare Magazine November / Dezember 2008

This set offers material taken down from CBS AM Sunday-afternoon broadcasts in 1935 and 1936. Two key points need to be made: this Set is only for those with a special interest in Toscanini, its sound being antediluvian even by the standards of its time. But the two serenades and the Songs are invaluable. This account of No. 1, the only surviving complete one we have from Toscanini, suggests a far more relaxed, singing approach than his two NBC performances of the work’s first movement convey. So, too, with this No. 2, a more graceful and easy going reading than Bither of his two complete NBC performances, especially the second one which was issued by RCA. The four Songs, which Toscanini neuer performed again alter this concert, are scored for Women’s Chorus, harp, and two horns. One of them is actually an arrangement by Brahms of Schubert’s Jäger ruhe von der Jagd! Given the comparatively small number of performers they involve, the sound does them less damage than that accorded the other items here. Finally the collaboration with Casadesus in the concerto, though fine, is strikingly similar to Toscanini’s surviving accounts with Hornwitz, and therefore the least valuable fitem here. In short this release is mainly significant as a relic, but as such fit is extraordinary.
Mortimer H. Frank

MusicWeb International

The caveat to this remarkable two-disc set must be the recorded sound. It’s boxy and limited and given the off-air recording date of 1935-36 that’s only to be expected. Nevertheless persistence is called for because the performances are formidable and interpretatively cut from the finest cloth.

The most important things here are the two Serenades, which Toscanini programmed infrequently and never recorded commercially. Given the magnificence of the performances one can mark this as a decided loss. The performances were given a week apart at the end of March and the beginning of April 1935. The D major is lyrically buoyant and superbly eloquent. The lusty drones of the opening movement are balanced by the refined liquidity of the wind playing; the tempo is not over-pressed. And the sinewy directional command of the slow movement – a rapt Adagio non troppo – has commanding, graphic proportions. By the finale the winds are in tremendous form, the whole performance in fact attests to their warmth and incision.

The companion Serenade fares equally well. Its slow movement is the highlight, warmly moulded and nobly unfolded, albeit with some sectional imprecision – which hardly matter given the outstanding and communing depth of the playing. The warm joviality of the Rondo, with its complement of hunting horns, and sturdy rhythmic profile runs it a close second though. Toscanini was taped live in this with the NBC in 1942 but this earlier inscription is the warmer, more malleable and preferable, albeit in worse sound.

The second disc opens with a sonorous and yet yielding Academic Festival Overture and continues with the Second Piano Concerto. The commercial recording Toscanini made with Horowitz is a well enough known artefact but this Casadesus survival, though once out on LP, much less so. The uneasy partnership between the conductor and his son-in-law Horowitz is reflected in their recording, which I’ve always disliked. Casadesus’s performance is a different matter. He’s lithe, lean, light on the pedal, and drives into the drama at the heart of the first movement with enviable determination. The slow movement is warmly textured, poetically inflected by the French pianist and if not the last word in expressive penetration still finely nuanced. Altogether this is the better performance, and casts the irascible and uneven Horowitz recording in a different light. As a rather unexpected bonus we have some big-boned Part Songs sung by the New York Ladies’ Choir and recorded in January 1936.

One must reiterate the question as to the recorded sound but reinforce the superiority of the performances. The Serenades in particular are a joyful example of Toscanini’s mid thirties way with Brahms – in fact the set, well annotated and presented, is bursting with important things.
Jonathan Woolf

Audiophile Audition Published on June 02, 2008

Suave, unhurried Brahms from The Maestro, Arturo Toscanini (1867-1954) from New York, 1935-1936 in very good sound for the period. Toscanini always had his own ideas about any music, but his gestalt for Brahms derived from Fritz Steinbach, with the possible influence of Artur Nikisch. The D Major Serenade (7 April 1935) has the New York Philharmonic principal flute and first French horn earning their salary, with excellent string tone and melodic flexibility in all parts. The Adagio receives a particularly warm, generously vibrant treatment, without that clipping of end-phrases that could plague many of Toscanini’s later interpretations. Rustic charm for the Menuets, while the Scherzo has a muscularity–real hunting-horn spirit–we will not hear again in symphonic Brahms until the B-flat Concerto and the E Minor Symphony. The final Rondo emanates a Haydnesque athleticism–despite some crackly acetates–even as its figures receive pungently crisp articulation over elfin strings not far from Mendelssohn and Beethoven‘s C Major Symphony.
The A Major Serenade (31 March 1935), of a dark and moody cast, begins deliberately under Toscanini, the lyric impulse set over a resonant bass that plucks its way through the lower strings and culminates in a variant of Beethoven’s Fifth. Nice oboe work in latter part of the opening movement, accompanied by some sweet flute aerobics. The Scherzo flies high–given the absence of first violin–peppy and aerial, though the undercurrent ostinati are ever present. The Adagio under Toscanini seems much closer to the D Minor Piano Concerto than the companion serenade in the tonic major. Modal and anguished, it hints at some of the longings we hear in the Adagio of the D Major Symphony. The Quasi Menuetto proceeds rather gavotte-like to my ear, but the woodwinds’ serenade elegantly courts our patrician sensibilities and leads directly to a most spirited, unbuttoned Rondo, with Toscanini’s whipping some real froth out of his French horn and clarinets. Shades of Beethoven as undercurrent do not darken the skies beyond lyrical redemption from oboe and violas.
Aggressive C Minor for the opening of the Academic Festival Overture (15 March 1936), which Toscanini takes as a bravura showpiece his seamless ensemble, the French horns a real treat. Pesant and measured, often threatening, the realizations seems less about frothy tuition than young masters of the universe. Momentary wow and shatter in the shellacs does not inhibit our awe at Toscanini’s ferocity prior to the horn and string two-note riffs prior to the recap of the main theme, forte, and the cascading torrents of sound prior to the frenzied march that ensues once more. The Gaudeamus igitur plays like punches from James Cagney in City for Conquest.
The announcer tells us Mr. Robert Casadesus (1899-1972) will play the B-flat Concerto, and he does–as he will many times–as a classically conceived showpiece in which the piano may be subordinate to or enmeshed within the symphonic tissue. Some pitch dropout at six minutes, but the first movement achieves a compulsive momentum, Casadesus’ restraint notwithstanding. At the segue to the plastic runs with woodwind antiphons, Casadesus plies a pungent non-legato that breaks out into torrential arpeggios along the B-flat scale. The entire first recap is cut from one piece of illuminated cloth, the tempo quite brisk, perhaps not Herculean as with Horowitz nine years later, but just as fixated on a preconceived end. The audience applauds vigorously at the coda, and well they might. No frills for the scherzo, Allegro appassionato, just direct business, with Casadesus whipping through the broken scales and occasional legato with silken certitude. When Toscanini’s tutti emerges, it exhales brassy grandeur, a D Major oracle. Wicked last bars bring more applause. That Toscanini enjoys a good song becomes evident from the first cello position for the third movement Andante, taken at a walking pace but floridly gracious, with old-school, sweeping gestures at the ends of phrases. Casadesus’ temper and trills are both fiery and elegant at once, often converting the Brahms filigree into a Bach etude. A measured canter for the Allegretto grazioso, sunny lightness, with moments of seismic bravura from all principals. The audience has already passed into paroxysms of appreciation long before the last notes have sounded.
We end with some Brahms part-songs (30 January 1936) from Op. 17, conceived when he directed a women’s chorus as a burgeoning conductor. Osian’s Fingal is a sweet piece, set in four-bar strophes after Beethoven‘s 7th , with strings, harp, and horn accompaniment; it segues to “Weep on the Rocks,” harmonically audacious. Eichendorff’s The Gardener opens with a motif taken from the slow movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. “Come away, come away, death,” despite the distant sound carries a morbid kind of beauty, the sentiment from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  Sir Walter Scott provides the text for the final entry, Ellen’s second song from The Lady of the Lake, hunting horns announcing of a kind of wedding march. Fascinating moments of rare Brahms repertory from Toscanini, who, along with Henschel, Gericke, and Stokowski, helped make the music of Brahms an American staple.
Gary Lemco

KLASSIK COM Sunday May 4th 2008

Es gibt CD-Veröffentlichungen, bei denen man sich lange fragt, ob man ein gutes Haar an ihnen lassen sollte oder es bedauern muss, dass sie – trotz herausragender Leistung namhafter Interpreten – auf drei nicht schnell genug in einer unauffindbaren Ecke der Archive verschwunden sind. Ein Fallbeispiel ist die zweite Folge der ‚Toscanini Broadcast Series’ auf dem Label ‚Guild Historical’. ‚Historische Aufnahme’, das lässt einen freilich sogleich die Ohren spitzen. Restriktive Tontechnik alter Zeiten ist nun mal dem heutigen Ohr gleichsam wesensfremd. Gleichwohl kann die heutige Technik aus alten Aufnahmen außerordentlich zufriedenstellende Restaurierungen produzieren, falls das Ausgangsmaterial dies überhaupt zulässt. Falls. Und damit ist das Manko dieser ‚Toscanini Broadcast Series’ formuliert, denn die Radioaufnahmen der Jahre 1935 und 1936 mit Toscanini und dem New York Philharmonic Orchestra sind in der Ausgangsqualität bereits derart unzureichend, dass etliche Rezensionsparameter nicht greifen können. Umso untröstlicher stimmt dies, weil diese Doppel-CD mit Toscanini-Aufnahmen von Brahms’ Serenaden, der Akademischen Festouvertüre, dem zweiten Klavierkonzert mit Robert Casadesus und vier Frauenchorliedern die enorm interpretatorische Qualität nur erahnen lassen.
Die Klangfolie dieser Archiv-Veröffentlichungen ist nämlich nicht die Musik, sondern das Rauschen, Knacken und Leiern der alten Bänder, die bei allem restauratorischem Aufwand nicht hinwegzurestaurieren waren. Da ist es fraglich, ob alles, wirklich alles, wohin des Maestros Hand jemals seinen Taktstock wandte, unbedingt den Weg auf die CD finden muss bzw. ob hier lediglich um des Archivierens willen archiviert wird. Hinter dem Knacken, Rauschen und Leiern wird der Hörer zumindest eines Hauchs einer Ahnung für die Spannkraft, die Toscanini dem New York Philharmonic Orchestra aberverlangt, gewahr. So es die Blechkastenakustik zulässt, erkennt man das symphonische Gepräge, das Toscanini den Serenaden angedeihen lässt, erkennt man die packende Dramatik, mit denen Robert Casadesus seinen Solopart im zweiten Klavierkonzert kernig abzirkelt oder wie der New York Ladies’ Choir die Chorlieder von Brahms auf Toscaninis Geheiß homogen abrundet. Ob die Musik in Transparenz oder Dichte oder in dynamischer Tiefenauslotung interpretiert wird, ist ebenfalls lediglich zu erahnen, denn mehr gibt die Tonqualität nicht her. Immerhin können diese Aufnahmen als Studienmaterial für jene dienen, die Toscaninis konsequente und fruchtbare Beschäftigung mit der Musik von Brahms zu einer Zeit, in der Brahms erst ‚en vogue’ wurde, erleben, besser: ‚erhören’ wollen – in welcher Tonqualität auch immer.
Eirk Daumann


Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) was considered by many critics, fellow musicians and contemporary audiences to be the greatest conductor of his time. Born in Parma, Italy, he studied cello at the local music conservatory before joining the orchestra of an opera company, with which he began his career as a conductor at the age of 19. He went on to conduct the world premieres of Puccinis La Bohème and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and as well as being resident conductor at La Scala, Milan, he conducted to great acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, at Bayreuth and at the Salzburg Festival. This double-album of historic broadcasts by New York Philharmonic conducted by Toscanini is devoted entirely to the music of Brahms – a composer whose work was central to Toscanini’s repertoire throughout his career. Toscanini was thirty years old when Brahms died. Although they never met, Toscanini regarded Brahms as a contemporary. This exciting album includes the only available versions in the best possible modern sound of major works by Brahms which the great conductor never recorded commercially, or hardly ever. Principal amongst these is the first disc containing Brahms’s two Serenades for Orchestra, Opus 11 and Opus 16, which Toscanini never recorded commercially. The second CD contains rare performances of the Academic Festival Overture and the Second Piano Concerto with Robert Casadesus as soloist. Toscanini again never recorded the Overture commercially and the Concerto just once. As an intriguing bonus, the CD is completed by four of Brahms’s part-songs, three from his Opus 17 set and one an arrangement by Brahms of a famous song by Schubert (Toscanini again never recorded these works commercially). This rare set of recordings will be hugely welcomed by all collectors of great conducting, especially of the Maestro renowned for his brilliant intensity and restless perfectionism.
This new issue by Guild is arrived. The most important thing is the program. Serenades n.1 (April 7th 1935) and n.2 (March 31st 1935), Academic Festival Ouverture( March 15th 1936), Piano concerto n.2 (R.Casadesus, January 30th 1936), Four Part Songs (January 30th 1936).
The sources are provided by Claudio von Foerster, who has written part of the notes. The sound is not outstanding, and suffers of a quite intrusive noise due to either the radio broadcasting or the noise reduction software, but the value of these really rare recordings overcomes the sound quality (the recordings are complete, with apparently no gaps or patches). In the last lines it is noticeable that Mr. von Foerster (probably of German origin, but actually living in Buenos Aires) speaks about a “new series of recordings on the Guild Historic label”, that I hope means that more recordings will be available in the future, recovering a long gap after the apparent divorce of Mr. Caniell from Guild.
The performances are very interesting (all with the New York Phyl). Maybe the fact that the  A.F.O. and the concert have a comparison in the subsequent recordings with the NBC and (in the concert) with W. Horowitz, can give more arguments of discussion in the approach to these Brahms’ works. But IMHO the most evident differences are in the Ouverture, less “serious” the in the late NBC approach. About the concert, I have to admit that sometimes I prefer this performance to the later one (Horowitz is too much “eroic”; and, more, I prefer, particularly in the adagio, the Furtwangler+Fischer approach). The sweetness of the 4th movement is really involving, with more relaxed reading than the nervous Horowitz
(to my ears, of course).
The serenades show a fine orchestral ensamble and a beautiful approach, probably very important to have a better idea of Toscanini’s Brahms in the ’30s. The songs, though not an absolute chef-d’-oeuvre, are another aspect of Toscanini work with little orchestral and ensembles.