Los Angeles' Season of Music Opens Thursday; Philharmonic Orchestra Will Begin New Concert Series Under Artur Rodzinski

Los Angeles' Season of Music Opens Thursday; Philharmonic Orchestra Will Begin New Concert Series Under Artur Rodzinski
A portrait of conductor Artur Rodzinski. (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Los Angeles gives its opening program of the season Thursday evening and Friday afternoon directed by Dr. Artur Rodzinski. The concert list chosen by Dr. Rodzinski is of general interest with the Leonore overture (Beethoven) and the Mozart G Minor symphony followed by a Toccata and Fugus of Bach representing the immortals, graduated into the now familiar "Clouds and Festivals" of Debussy's suite of nocturnes and finishing with the important new work of Resphighi's "The Festivals of Rome."

The Los Angeles orchestra has emerged from five months of eventful happenings since its last appearance in the Philharmonic Auditorium April 28 under the direction of Alfred Hertz. Because of the illness of George Schneevoigt, conductor of the two seasons preceding, Mr. Hertz took the orchestra on a momentous western tour which covered some 10,000 miles and spread the knowledge of this splendid institution which W.A. Clark, Jr., has founded and maintained for ten years, through the Northwest and east as far as Butte, Mont. Henry Svedrofsky was assistant conductor on this tour and was frequently called upon.



The men returned in time for an eight weeks' season at the Hollywood Bowl in which Bernardino Molinari, Eugene Goossens and Bruno Walter held the baton with widely varied results. The opera of the last two weeks with Conductors Merola, Cimini, Riedel and Pelletier completes the long list of occasional conductors and now they are at last at home again entering a new season with a permanent conductor.

Artur Rodzinski is a young man from Poland with a sound Viennese education and a Polish wife who is an excellent musician also. He arrived in America in 1925 as a result of the urging of Leopold Stokowski, conductor of the Philadelphia orchestra whose assistant conductor Dr. Rodzinsky soon became. After four years of successful work with the Philadelphia Orchestra and supplemental work as conductor of the orchestra at the Curtis Institute of Music, and as conductor of the Philadelphia Grand Opera, during which time he made two guest appearances in Los Angeles, he has been chosen by Mr. Clark and Mrs. Caroline E. Smith, formerly manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and now personal representative to Mr. Clark, to be conductor of our orchestra.

As a musical personality, Dr. Rodzinski is an interesting figure. He has labored for his knowledge and for his experience. He is essentially a scholar and far removed from the superficial, prima donna type of virtuoso. But he is young, ambitious and energized with a vitality and intensity of musical purpose that makes one anticipate the coming orchestral season with keen interest.


There will be no resting on the laurels of a European reputation this year. True, Dr. Rodzinski has a reputation in Vienna and in Warsaw for operatic as well as orchestral conducting, and in New York and Philadelphia of eastern America. But he is stepping onto the dais of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra fully aware of his power to make musical history with one of the finest organizations of orchestral players in the United States, and he means to make the most of it. With co-operation from the players, the management and the public, I believe he will do it.

After all, music-making is very much a matter of character and a young man who achieves the distinction of doctor of laws of the university at Vienna as well as high honors at the Conservatory there, drops his career to go to war, is wounded, but not undaunted, and returns to fight his way upward step by step until he commands one of the coveted orchestras in America, may safely be credited with the necessary will power and perseverance.


Notes from Philharmonic-Symphony Society program of New York, by Lawrence Gilman, elucidate the new Respighi work.

In this symphonic poem Respighi completes the "cycle"--as he calls it--of Roman impressions of which he has already given us the "Fontane di Roma" (1917) and the "Pini di Roma" (1924). In the first, he sought to reproduce, by means of tone, impressions of certain natural aspects of the Eternal City; in the second he resorted to Nature as a point of departure in order to recall memories and visions, and in the third, the "Feste Romane," he gives us visions and evocations of Roman fetes.

This work was completed in 1928. The composition is scored for an enormous orchestra, and employs almost every variety of instrument that may be pressed into orchestral service, including a mandolin. The instrumentation, says Mr. Respighi, "represents the maximum of orchestral sonority and color" achieved in his scores, though some may feel that the huge climax of the "Pini di Roma" is not to be despised as an effort in the direction of orchestral sonority.

Mr. Respighi has elucidated as follows the programmatic basis of this series of symphonic impressions:



"A threatening sky over the Circus Maximus, but the people are celebrating: Hail Nero! The iron gates open, and the air is filled with a religious chant and the roaring of savage beasts. The mob undulates and rages. Serenely, the song of the martyrs spreads, dominates, and finally is drowned in the tumult.


"Weary, in pain, the pilgrims drag themselves through the long streets, praying. At last, from the summit of Mt. Mario is seen the holy city. Rome! Rome! And the hymn of jubilation is answered by the clangor of multitudinous church bells.


"Fetes of October, in the castles engarlanded with vine leaves echoes of the hunt tinkling of horse bells, songs of love. Then, in the balmy evening, the sound of a romantic serenade.


"The eve of Epiphany in Piazza Navonal, a characteristic rhythm of bugles dominates the frantic clamor; on the tide of noise floats now and again rustic songs, the lilt of saltarellos, the sounds of the mechanical organ in some booth, the call of the showman, hoarse and drunken cries, and the stornello. Stornello is a name given in certain parts of Italy to very short poems, more with regard to their purport than their form. A stornello is embodied in Browning's 'Fra Lippo Lippi' and Lola sings one in 'Cavalleria Rusticana.' Tommaseo thinks the word is a corruption or ritornello, in which the spirit of the populace finds expression, 'Lassatece passa, semo Romani.' "