|TABLE OF CONTENTS
|from "REMINISCENCES OF ARTURO TOSCANINI
|by Hugo Burghauser, former President
of the Vienna-Philharmonic
For his first operatic venture Toscanini proposed Beethoven's Fidelio and Verdi'S Falstaff ; the latter with on all Italian cast.
This had never been done before , neither a work by verdi, nor an Italian cast. There was considerable raising of eyebrows and to the polite objections that were made the Maestro laconically replied: "No Falsaff, no Toscanini". In spite of the opposition of the music-establishment and backstage maneuvering Toscanini won out in the end, reinforced by the government, whitch had asked him to conduct the Requiem in memory of the murdered chancellor. For his scheduled appearance in the Fall of 1934 with the Philharmonic in Vienna the Maestro had decided to repeat the Wagner program with Lotte Lehmann and for a second cocert chose Beethoven's 9th Symphony preceded by Zoltan Kodaly's "Psalmus Hungaricus", a most interesting patriotic oratorio, which was sung by the Hungarian chorus from the city of Budapest, with the native Tenor Röster and Contralto Szanto, who also sang in the 9th Symphony as did the chorus.
At the same time preparations for the Requiem were going on. It was not easy to find a cast for the quartet acceptable to Toscanini.
But after some trying rehearsals and despairing soprano, a satisfactory ensemble was organized and the Messa da Requiem was celebrated on All-Soul's Day before a hushed audience of the State opera house. As a historic sidelight it might be worth mentioning that Verdi himself had conducted this composition in the same place nearly six decades before. Afterwards he wrote his Italian friend Luccardi on November 12th 1875:|
My Dear; as you wished I tell you that the success of the "Requiem" was very great. A performance you will never hear again. Orchestra and chrus wonderful. ( There were four performances at the Imperial Opera, all conducted by Verdi and all sold out).