This DVD is an extraordinary visual and auditory experience for the Toscanini admirers.
Camera emphasis on Toscanini reveals maestro’s technical perfection, his communication skills and his authority, and turns this DVD into an education in conducting. Superimposed images of the conductor with orchestra members make this communicatition easy to appreciate for the viewer. Maestro’s repeated gestures such as touching his nose or mouth with his index finger to decrease the volume or occasionally resting his left hand on his collar at the chest level etc. are very interesting to watch.
Considering the date of recording, sound and picture quality are very good, with the exception of the second half of the Brahms concerto where the picture is fuzzy; this problem has been narrated before it occurs.
I found a few other aspects of this recording interesting: Orchestra’s seating lay out is very different than today’s orchestra seating pattern. Today’s conductors would have to exert a considerable effort orienting themselves to this pattern. Also of interest is, there are no women musicians in the orchestra. Unlike in most of the modern concert halls, orchestra members do not rise when the conductor walks on stage. I believe this attitude is much more civilized than the current practice.
I had read by some expert critics about Toscanini’s conducting style being, “fast”. I was unable to appreciate this criticism, until I watched this DVD; especially Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the maestro’s style as is.
I am not a professional musician but only an enthusiast.
I watched only Volumes one and two of The Television Concerts and I am planning purchasing the rest.
Timur Sumer, MD

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