Carroll Glenn and Eugene List, two names synonymous with discovering seldom played music and recognizing up-and-coming talent. The husband and wife team were both formidable talents on their own. But as a team, they became hugely popular with audiences for their regular discoveries of new talent, and unearthing music long considered forgotten but worthy of attention.
This performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Violin and Piano is a prime example. An up-and-coming composer/conductor who had scored a major success with his first ballet Fancy Free, which later became the hit musical On The Town. He also had attracted attention as a celebrated last-minute replacement for an ailing Bruno Walter, conducting the New York Philharmonic one memorable afternoon.
But Bernstein was still relatively new to audiences,and his chamber music hadn’t received the attention his other pieces had gotten. So this Sonata for Violin and Piano, composed in 1939 is played here, possibly for the first time on radio and maybe the first time anywhere.
Parts of it were borrowed for use in Bernstein’s Age Of Anxiety Symphony, but it was largely eclipsed by the later Sonata for Clarinet and Piano from 1942, and neglected for a very long time. There are apparently no commercial recordings of the Sonata until the CD era, and at last count, there are three currently in the catalog.
But this was typical of the Glenn/List collaboration, which included rediscoveries of the double concertos of Viotti and the long-lost duo Sonata of Franz Liszt.
This recording is thought to be from a broadcast of new American works for Violin and Piano. It was included in a series of transcriptions made for the State Department for broadcast overseas – so it may have originated in one of the many music series for Radio that the Eastman School put on (which both Glenn and List were on the faculty) each week via the various radio networks.
In any case, here is a seldom played piece by one of America’s great figures in music, as it was most possibly first played by two celebrated and much admired musicians of their generation.