Monday, January 24, 2011

A Concert Like No Other...

I have a photograph of some of the world's greatest musicians, only one known as a singer, bellowing the "Hallelujah" chorus of Handel, and perhaps there are a few of you who either know of, or possess this photograph.
This group stood side-to-side on the stage at Carnegie Hall in the finale to what was called " The Concert of a Century," celebrating the 85th anniversary of Carnegie Hall. Prior to their singing, each of these legendary performers was heard creating his magic, giving of his time without remuneration for the purpose of raising monies for the Carnegie Hall Foundation.
Can you imagine Horowitz playing with Rostropovich? Or with Menuhin? Or with Stern?
Well, that is precisely what occurred on that memorable day in 1976, eighty five years after Tchaikovsky was invited to conduct at Carnegie's first concert in 1891.
If you do not know of this photo, please picture the following:
From left to right - Yehudi Menuhin, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern, each holding a copy of the music, and with their mouths wide open in, undoubtedly, one of the more exciting phases of the music.
An oddity - I read at least one account of Tchaikovsky firmly planting his head to one side while conducting, the reason being bandied about that he was afraid that his head might come flying off if he did not assume this particular position. I have no idea as to the reason or origin of such a strange occurrence - it IS known, however, that just a few years after his appearance at Carnegie, he died shortly after consuming a glass of unboiled water from a tap during a cholera epidemic.
At any rate, Carnegie began with Tchaikovsky and has been from that time on, one of the most acclaimed and highly esteemed repositories for ongoing greatness in the world of music.
See if you can get a copy on CD of this unique assemblage - you will thrill with the once-in-a-lifetime collaborative clutch of legendary performers.

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