Composers Datebook®

The New York Philharmonic on the air

Wolfgang Mozart (1756 – 1791) — Symphony No. 39 (New York Philharmonic; Leonard Bernstein, cond.) Sony 60973 Roy Harris (1898 – 1979) — Symphony No. 3 (New York Philharmonic; Leonard Bernstein, cond.) Sony 60594


Composer's Datebook - October 5, 2021

2:00


October 05, 2021

Synopsis

If, on today’s date in the year 1930, you happened to be flipping through the pages of the New York Times, you would have seen several ads for radios, including one that argued that purchasing a radio was a good investment.

This was only one year after the infamous 1929 stock market crash, so New Yorkers might have been a little leery of investing in anything, and disposable income for most Americans was severely limited during the Great Depression that followed.

Still, that same October 5th edition of the Times announced that the New York Philharmonic would commence live nation-wide broadcasts of its Sunday afternoon concerts that very day, with the visiting German conductor Erich Kleiber leading the orchestra. The rest of the Philharmonic’s 1930-31 season, led by the orchestra’s new music director, Arturo Toscanini, would also be broadcast live on subsequent Sunday afternoons.

For music lovers, that radio purchase started to look like a pretty good investment after all.

And over the following decades, in addition to Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, the New York Philharmonic’s radio audiences coast-to-coast were introduced as well to new works of American composers like Roy Harris, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

Music Played in Today's Program

Wolfgang Mozart (1756 – 1791) — Symphony No. 39 (New York Philharmonic; Leonard Bernstein, cond.) Sony 60973

Roy Harris (1898 – 1979) — Symphony No. 3 (New York Philharmonic; Leonard Bernstein, cond.) Sony 60594

On This Day

Births

  • 1875 - British composer and organist Cyril Bradley Rootham, in Bristol;

  • 1962 - American composer and pianist Ken Noda, in New York City;

Deaths

  • 1880 - French composer Jacques Offenbach, age 61, in Paris;

  • 1940 - Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, age 40, in Mexico City;

Premieres

  • 1762 - Gluck: opera, "Orfeo ed Euridice" (1st version in Italian), in Vienna at the Kaiserliches Hoftheater;

  • 1898 - Elgar: cantata, "Caractacus," at the Leeds Festival.

  • 1972 - Argento: "A Ring of Time," by the Minneapolis Symphony, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducting;

  • 1973 - Havergal Brian: Symphony No. 28, by the New Philharmonia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting;

  • 1988 - Daniel Pinkham: "Sonata da Camera" (Chamber Sonata) for flute (alternating alto flute) and viola, at Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory in Boston, by flutist Fenwick Smith and violist Burton Fine;

  • 2001 - Stephen Paulus: "A Place for Hope" for chorus and chamber ensemble, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., by members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Minn., conducted by Andreas Delfs;

Others

  • 1867 - The British musicologist George Grove (of Grove Dictionary fame) and the British composer Arthur Sullivan (of later Gilbert & Sullivan fame) arrive in Vienna, seeking lost works of Schubert;

  • 1930 - The New York Philharmonic begins its famous series of weekly Sunday afternoon national broadcasts with a program from Carnegie Hall conducted by Erich Kleiber; The first-ever radio broadcast of the New York Philharmonic had occurred on August 12, 1922, when a summer-time concert from Lewisohn Stadium conducted by Willem van Hoogstraten was relayed locally over WJZ in New York.