Monday, September 7, 2015

A Different Kind of Toscanini Broadcast!

Above is a cartoon that appeared in 1937 on the front page of one of Vienna's major newspapers, The Illustrated Kronenzeitung. In a whimsical mixing of disciplines it shows Richard Eybner, a famous Viennese actor at a microphone impersonating a famous Viennese sportscaster, Willy Schmieger.

The caption reads, "If Schmieger broadcast a Toscanini concert." Shown are Toscanani as referee in a soccer game (see his whistle!), with players, Hugo Burghauser (bassoon) and Arnold Rose (concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic) all in athletic gear with their instruments. A timpanist appears to be the keeper.

This cartoon is featured in Burghauser's book, "Symphonische Begegnungen"

What sort of cultural change would have to take place in the US -- or perhaps anywhere else but Vienna -- for a major newspaper to put something like this on its front page?

The closest thing I could think of is Peter Schickele's broadcast of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, with Bobby Corno on first horn.

Here's another blast from the past:

This is from a December, 1945 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Inside is an article about Artur Rodzinski and the New York Philharmonic. William Polisi, Principal Bassoon, Manuel Zegler (misspelled in caption), Second Bassoon (Zeglar would later move up to Principal Bassoon) and Roberto Sensale, contra. In the second photo, the players are posed with their instruments over a chess board. More likely the game was poker and played without instruments present, with money on the table!

The Puppet Show, Bartholemew Fair by John Nixon, 1796 was recently purchased at an auction. This image was shared with me by conductor, Nic McGegan when he conducted us at Blossom this July..

I don't think the listener is too impressed with the bassoonist's playing!

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