Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Friday, October 5

The New York Philharmonic on the air

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.

Just one year after the infamous 1929 stock market crash, 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. Music by Weber, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky would be featured, with the visiting German conducting Erich Kleiber leading the orchestra.

And that wasn’t all: 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 so, thanks to the Philharmonic broadcasts, in addition to Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, radio audiences coast-to-coast were introduced as well to some of the new works of young American composers like Roy Harris, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

In recent years, archive recordings of many of those famous New York Philharmonic broadcasts have even been released as compact disc sets sold to benefit the Philharmonic’s current activities and programs.

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

Additional Information

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