Newstalgia Weekend Gramophone with The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by the legendary George Szell in an All Russian program, originally broadcast circa 1961 by CBS Radio.
April 8, 2012

George Szell - back when giants routinely roamed the earth.

I wish I could say this recording sounds wonderful, but it doesn't. But it is special and it's from a period of time Szell was very active in the studio.

The trouble with this particular recording is, it came via an Armed Forces Radio re-broadcast and it was pressed on a disc, and with those large 16" transcription discs, so prevalent until the mid-1960's, many of them weren't stored in the best conditions. This one suffered a lot from exposure and simple abuse over the years. But it's a great concert featuring one of the true icons of the podium and that's something of a deal closer for me.

Since CBS Radio ran the Cleveland broadcasts in the early 1960's, only an hour's worth was aired, and in some cases (like this one), it doesn't appear to be from one particular concert but from two.

Two works are featured:

1. Stravinsky: Fireworks
2. Tchaikovsky: Symphony Nr. 5

As best as I can tell, looking at the Cleveland Programs from the period - the Tchaikovsky comes from around April of 1961, while there is no record (at least via the Szell website) of a performance of the Stravinsky from 1961 or any year. I'm sure someone who is familiar with the concert rundowns will let me know (won't you?)

At any rate - a rare and enjoyable concert, marred by some crap sound and some bad scratches. Sometimes you just have to make concessions.

Enjoy anyway.

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