Text Box: Conductor autographs
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MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Price: $450.00

NEAR MINT CONDITION

Autographed original photograph on a postcard mount of the legendary Dutch conductor, London, January 24th, 1938.  He signs Prof. Dr., Professor, Doctor, utilizing his title as Professor at the Utrecht Conservatory (An alumni of the institution, he gave one inaugural lecture and never taught again, though he remained on the faculty roster until 1945) and his Honorary Doctorate from Columbia University in 1928.

Mengelberg (1871-1951) was in London in January 1938 for concerts with the BBC Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra.  The BBC concert at Queen’s Hall on January 20th was recorded and the concert was an ambitious one consisting of the Brahm’s 3rd Symphony, the Hindemith Philharmonic Concerto and Richard Strauss’s Als Spracht Zarathustra.  Walter Legge reviewed the concert and wrote “Only a man of remarkable persuasiveness and determination could induce to give a performance so unlike the traditional playing of this work”.  He described the Hindemith as “passed without leaving any impression” and of the Strauss, “….we were able to appreciate the advantages of Mengelberg’s virtuosity, and hear how a man of his command can make every point in so complicated a score tell with the fullest effect.  Not a detail, not an inner part was missed; such a performance justifies the composer’s orchestral demands, even though it cannot disguise the vulgarity and inherent weakness of the work.” 

Mengelberg was a known task master.  Berta Geissmer, Furtwängler and Beecham’s Austrian born, Jewish secretary now living in London sat in on his January 1938 rehearsals with the London Philharmonic.  Before they had played a single note of the Vorspiel to “Tristan und Isolde, Mengelberg began berating the orchestra.  Geissmer who had known Mengelberg since the mid 1920’s had to stop him and tell him in German not to treat the orchestra like children, that they had performed the music previously with Furtwängler, Beecham and Walter.  Apparently the conversation avoided a crisis with the orchestra.

These were Mengelberg’s final concerts in London.  Whilst he remained Music Director of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, as a sympathizer with the Nazis, after 1940 his presence there was not longer welcome in Great Britain and he was banned from conducting in the Netherlands after the War ended in 1945 and spent his final years in Switzerland.

WILLEM MENGELBERG - CONDUCTOR

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