On Nov 14, 1943 Bruno Walter was scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic but fell ill. Twenty-five year old Leonard Bernstein, who just weeks earlier had been named Assistant Conductor, was called on to step in. Waiting by the stage as the manager informed the audience that Walter would not be conducting that afternoon, Bernstein recalled hearing “groans.” Some people left. But once the music started the audience was in Bernstein’s corner…by the final chords of the Prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger the audience was on its feet shouting. https://bit.ly/2F9mptl
The concert, which was broadcast live across the country, was widely successful and Bernstein became an instant success.
Bernstein appeared another 427 times at Carnegie Hall, becoming one of the most frequently heard conductors on the Carnegie Hall stage.
Bernstein hadn’t intended to be a conductor, but rather a pianist and composer. He, however, met conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at Harvard who guided him toward conducting. The rest, as they say, is history….and Bernstein is now, very much, a leading figure in “the musical history of New York City.”
Yehudi Menuhin made his Carnegie Hall debut on November 25 1927, performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. He was eleven years old.
The New York Times critic was astonished. He wrote, “It seems ridiculous to say that he showed a mature conception of Beethoven’s concerto, but that is a fact.” He continued, “Few violinists have played Beethoven’s concerto…with such poetic feeling…”
Menuhin performed more than one hundred times at Carnegie during his sixty-two year career. The photo is a poster announcing a 1942 appearance.
Every once in a while I sit back and think, “I know some talented folks.” And I’ve actually worked with them. What a blessing having so many talented friends. All of those pictured in the montage have performed at Carnegie Hall at least once…some more than once. Top row from left: Seunghee Lee, Ashley Bell and Clare Maloney. Second row from left: Annette Homann, Deni Bonet and David Goldman (Upcoming debut in April). Third row from left: Matt Smallcomb, Harriet Stubbs and Alicia Svigals.
I’m thrilled to see that my friend and one of “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to the Cell’s” Executive Producers, David S. Goldman will be appearing at Carnegie Hall on April 22nd. David will be performing in the Indie Collaborative’s “Celebrating Earth Day in Song.”
“Danny Boy” has been performed at Carnegie Hall 82 times; Irish tenor John McCormack performed in the Hall 53 times. So, can you imagine how many times McCormack sang “Danny Boy” at Carnegie….never. He didn’t like “Danny Boy.” He did, however, co-write a song, “Oh Mary Dear” with his pianist Harry Schneider to the tune of “Londonderry Air,” which is Danny Boy’s melody. He performed the song at Carnegie Hall in January 1933.
Here’s how it starts:
“Oh Mary dear, a cruel fate has parted us.
I’ll hide my grief, e’en though my heart should break.”
When I was a young boy my mother introduced me to classical music. The first album she bought was also the first Grammy award winning classical album, which included Van Cliburn’s performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1. The album was recorded at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1958. Twenty-three-year old Cliburn, who had recently won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, performed a number of encore pieces that evening. One of them was written by Robert Schumann and arranged by Franz Liszt…and one of my favorites….it’s called “Widmung.” And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear some Schubert at the end. Here’s Cliburn’s Widmung:
Carnegie Hall’s first public concert was performed on May 5, 1891. Fifty years later they featured the man whom the Hall was named for and the person most responsible for bringing the Hall into existence, Andrew Carnegie.
Here’s what the Golden Anniversary cover of the program looked like, including the musical program of December 3rd, 1940, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. I also notice that my good friend Joe McElligott’s grand uncle, Fire Commissioner John J. McElligott’s “Fire Notice” is included in the program.
A few years earlier, in 1937, my grandfather Charles F. Hale, a member of the FDNY, received an award for bravery at City Hall. It was handed to him by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Joe’s commissioner uncle, John J. McElligott. It’s a very big city, but at times it’s a very small world.
The final show of the 2019 series, “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,” will be performed at the Cell on December 13, 7:30pm.
The show, written and created by Charles R. Hale, pays homage to some of Carnegie Hall’s great performers and performances including the music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, Leonard Bernstein, Fritz Kreisler, Benny Goodman, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf and Marian Anderson, John McCormack, Giacomo Puccini, and more.
We’ve assembled an outstanding group of musicians for the event: Seunghee Lee (Sunny)/clarinet, Baron Fenwick/piano, Robert Mack/vocals, Jiin, Yang/violin and Clare Maloney/vocals. Charles R. Hale created and narrates the show.
Tickets, which are $20, and additional information can be purchased by clicking here.
“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” — Nora Ephron on New York City
Why do I love New York? One of the reasons is I can go to Carnegie Hall two times in a week and hear world class violinist Anne Sophie Mutter and a few days later, a world class choral group, The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin.