Dimitri Mitropoulos leads the New York Philharmonic this week in the Radio premier of a new work by Greek Modernist composer, Harilaos Perpessa.
The Christus Symphony was a work in 6 movements and the New York Philharmonic gave it it’s world Premier in October of that year. This radio broadcast features the Radio Premier, which was broadcast live on December 10, 1950 by The CBS Radio Network as part of their weekly New York Philharmonic Broadcast series.
Perpessa was born in Greece in 1907 and studied Composition with none other than Arnold Schoenberg. A devoted follower to the 12-Tone method, Perpessa was also one of the first Greek composers not to be associated with the National School. He wrote a considerable amount of Orchestral music as well as music for Piano, solo violin and cello.
Sadly, very little of it is played today – and this performance of the Perpessa Christus Symphony marked most likely the first and last times his work would be exposed to such a large audience.
What’s significant about this Radio Premier performance is that it’s conducted by fellow-countryman Dimitri Mitropoulos who was a long-time champion of Perpessa’s work
Even though the symphony is in 6 movements, they are all played without pause, and on this nationwide Radio Broadcast, via the CBS Radio’s weekly live broadcast concert series, the audience is sufficiently excited. Whether or not (and I think there was) a commercial recording of this symphony I am not completely sure. I do know this particular premier performance hasn’t been available commercially, but rather via a few collectors airchecks of the original broadcast.
So, from December 10, 1950, here is that Premier recording, with the New Yorr Philharmonic lead by Dimitri Mitropoulos.