Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Felix Mendelssohn: Incidental Music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Arturo Toscanini / NBC Symphony Orchestra

Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) was born in Parma, Italy. Acclaimed for his intensity, perfectionism, and photographic memory, he was at various times musical director of La Scala, Milan; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937-1954), and in November 1947 he conducted them in a performance of incidental music from Felix Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Somehow missing from the maestro’s Wikipedia article is the fact that in 1964, Abbott Laboratories licensed this same 1947 performance from RCA Victor and re-released it in the form of a promotional LP for one of their sedatives, Placidyl (a.k.a. “jelly-bellies”). The hits keep coming! Dig this groovy excerpt from the liner notes:

In an attempted suicide, a 38-year-old female took betwen 20 to 25 Gm. (40 to 50 capsules) of Placidyl. After recovery, kidney function studies, respiratory function and EKG were within normal limits. Examination showed no evidence of deleterious effects.

Dude, would it kill you to focus on something more positive? Toscanini isn’t my jam, either, but JESUS.

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