Sunday, December 26, 2010

Concert of the Century at Carnegie Hall

Maybe the worst moments in the history of Carnegie Hall came in the 1970s. Since first decades of 20th century many things were changed – cinema, radio, television, popular culture and mechanical reproduction of sound made many forms of social activities obsolete. Many were convinced Carnegie Hall waits for the fate of many similar institutions and its bankruptcy is inevitable. The idea of collecting founds for help to the most remarkable musical institution in New York came from Isaac Stern. Great violinist called together his friends, the best musicians of this time, to commemorate the past and to help revitalizing the Carnegie Hall by giving special presentation in its auditorium.
Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall on May 18, 1976, musical society with Carnegie Hall Endowment Found produced great concert event with participation of great musicians. Artists invited to this project were in close relations with the place and its history. In program of this concert listeners can hear and see Leonard Bernstein with the Members of the New York Philharmonic, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Vladimir Horovitz, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Issac Stern and The Oratorio Society directed by Lyndon Woodside. Also Martina Arroyo has been invited, but the star had to cancel her appearance due to accident. 

Celebrating The 85th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall

This special event, advertised The Concert of the Century, was recorded live and published in CBS Masterworks series (79 200). Two records, leaflet with lyrics of Schumann’s Dichterliebe and poster in red gatefold cover were the hit in following season of 1977. There was also a special edition of this album, printed in limited issue of 1000 numbered copies with large photos signed by artists and biography of every soloist, the program of the concert and essay on history of Carnegie Hall – all in red calf portfolio and marbled slipcase. In 1978 this album won the Grammy Award as Best Classical Album of the year. It was the third prize in this category in the career of Thomas Frost, producer of this album.
Special program assorted for this celebration include a number of works that became the base for individual and collective exposition. And everyone can find here something enjoying to himself. Beethoven’s „Leonore” Overture No. 3 in solid sound and natural expression of New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein was the single symphonic piece in this program. Strong and emotional Pezzo Elegiaco from Piano Trio A Minor op. 50 by Peter Tchaikovsky was performed by Vladimir Horowitz, Isaac Stern and Mstislav Rostropovich. Also Rachmaninoff's Andante from Cello Sonata G Minor Op. 19 (Rostropovich and Horowitz) was example of perfect playing.
The cycle of songs Dichterliebe Op. 48 Robert Schumann composed for the lyrics by Heinrich Heine. This is one of most exacting romantic song cycles. And Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau maintains it with purity and lightness. His conception is clear and his voice sounds perfect in pair with accompanying him Vladimir Horowitz. Also Bach’s Concerto D Minor for Two Violins BWV 1043 with Yehudi Menuhin, Issac Stern and Leonard Bernstein playing harpsichord and conducting orchestra can satisfied the connoisseur. But what gives the listener the vision of the whole evening? When after Tchaikovsky’s Pater Noster sung by The Oratorio Society directed by Lyndon Woodside, in performance of Alleluia from Handel's oratorio The Messiah the whole collective of soloists engaged in this evening joined the choir. And even if it looks like an occasion to listen to Horowitz, Bernstein and Stern singing along, it is worthy to remember this recording as an perfect example of promoting a social activity.

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