Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra

30 Rockefeller Center was once home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra.(Photo: wallyg)
30 Rockefeller Center was once home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra.(Photo: wallyg)

Do you remember when the major U.S. television networks had their own orchestras?

I wasn’t alive at the time so, to me — an inveterate classical music lover — that bygone era seems like a sort of Camelot, or maybe more like Brigadoon – the musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe about a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years. These orchestras live on in our minds (and on Youtube).

Indeed, luckily, we still have audio and video recordings of these great orchestras to satisfy our nostalgic palet.

Here’s some video of Arturo Toscanini leading the NBC Orchestra in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin Prelude to Act III. Note Toscanini’s all but silent left hand, and also note the vim with which the orchestra plays.

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

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