Thursday, September 12
During her lifetime, pianist Nadia Reisenberg was regarded as one of this country’s finest concert artists. She performed at Carnegie Hall 22 times, often with the New York Philharmonic.
But she made history on today’s date in 1939 as she embarked on a series of concert performances encompassing of all 27 of the Mozart Piano Concertos. These were live radio broadcasts conducted by Alfred Wallenstein, originating at WOR in New York, relayed coast-to-coast via the Mutual Network and the CBC in Canada, and overseas via short wave. There were 29 broadcasts in all, one a week, starting on September 12, 1939 and ending on March 26, 1940.
Mozart’s 27 piano concerts were first published in 1850, almost 60 years after the composer’s death, but before Reisenberg’s broadcasts, no one had performed ALL of them in such a series. The French composer and pianist Camille Saint-Saens played 9 Mozart concertos in Paris in 1864/1865, and 11 during a series in London in 1910, but Reisenberg was the first to perform all 27 in one concert sequence, since even Mozart himself never played them all in just one season.
Amazingly, live aircheck recordings of most of these historic radio broadcasts have survived and are now part of the Nadia Reisenberg Collection in the International Piano Archives at Maryland.
Music Played in Today's Program
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, K. 537 (Coronation) Nadia Reisenberg; WOR studio orchestra; Alfred Wallenstein, cond. (r. March 19, 1940) IPA of Maryland Reisenberg Mozart Piano Concertos CD 13