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William Steinberg - Complete Command Classics Recordings [17CD]

Decca (UMO) / Classics / Deutsche Grammophon

  • £53.55

Format: 17 x CD
Catalogue No.: 4864442
Barcode: 0028948644421
Release Date: 12 Jan 2024
Genre: Classical

When William Steinberg took over the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1952 the orchestra had been for four years since the departure of Fritz Reiner without a permanent conductor. Steinberg had been assistant to, and latterly successor to, Otto Klemperer at the Cologne Opera; music director of the Frankfurt Opera; and trained the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, which later would be known as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra — it was here he came to the attention of a visiting Arturo Toscanini who, impressed with Steinberg's preliminary groundwork for his concerts, later engaged him as assistant conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, starting an impressive career in the United States that led him to the PSO. Dealing with a small budget and diminishing interest from the community Steinberg immediately started to reinforce the musicians’ morale and within a few seasons he made good musicians into excellent musicians and the interest in the Orchestra grew far beyond the limits of Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh he set down a core Austro-German and Russian repertoire as well as 20th-century masters. Steinberg was recognized as one of the world’s greatest interpreters of the Brahms Symphonies and his recordings of these masterpieces for the COMMAND label have been acclaimed by critics as among the finest recorded interpretations of these great works; while his sober, self-effacing approach to Beethoven was warmly received by critics who praised the conductor for allowing the works to speak entirely for themselves. At the helm of his Pittsburgh ensemble, Steinberg produced an impressive discography, including the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms as well as works by Schubert, Wagner, Bruckner and Johann Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and 20th-century masters including Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Gershwin and Copland. From 1952 to 1959, the PSO’s recordings were made for Capitol Records but in 1960, Steinberg and the orchestra recorded briefly for the new Everest label, which introduced the expensive but sonically advantageous process of recording on 35mm magnetic film. However, Everest soon ran into financial straits and its studio and equipment were bought by the engineer C. Robert Fine, to be used for his sonic-standard-setting Mercury’s “Living Presence” recordings. Meanwhile, the classically trained record executive Enoch Light, about to launch another new label, Command Classics, heard and was deeply impressed by a concert given by Steinberg and the PSO. Aware of Everest’s imminent demise and Fine’s acquisition of Everest’s studio, he signed Steinberg as conductor and Bob Fine as engineer for a series of 35mm Command recordings, recorded at Pittsburgh’s iconic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.

CD 1–5 BEETHOVEN The Symphonies; Overture “Leonore III”
CD 6–8 BRAHMS The Symphonies; Tragic Overture
CD 9 BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7; Overture in G minor
WAGNER Eine Faust-Ouvertüre
CD 10 COPLAND Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite); Appalachian Spring (Ballet Suite)
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
CD 11 GERSHWIN Porgy and Bess (A Symphonic Picture for Orchestra, arr. Robert Russell Bennett)
LOEWE My Fair Lady (A Symphonic Picture for Orchestra, arr. Robert Russell Bennett)
RODGERS The Sound of Music (A Symphonic Picture for Orchestra, arr. Robert Russell Bennett)
CD 12 RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2
CD 13 SCHUBERT Symphonies No. 8 “Unfinished” & No. 3
CD 14 STRAVINSKY Pétrouchka
CD 15 TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4; The Nutcracker (Suite)
CD 17 WAGNER Preludes & Excerpts & Overtures from: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg · Lohengrin · Der fliegende Holländer · Rienzi · Die Walküre · Das Rheingold · Götterdämmerung

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