Oscar Levant

The inimitable Oscar Levant - doing his friend George rather proud.

Oscar Levant With Artur Rodzinski And The L.A. Philharmonic In Concert At The Hollywood Bowl – 1950 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concert

The inimitable Oscar Levant – doing his friend George rather proud.

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I thought I would dive into some Americana this week by way of a classic and previously unavailable concert featuring the legendary Oscar Levant on Piano with The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the equally legendary Artur Rodzinski, recorded live at The Hollywood Bowl on July 25, 1950.

A truly memorable concert – Levant not only gives a wonderful performance of the Gershwin Concerto in F, but also offers a string of encores that include a solo performance of the Rhapsody In Blue. Other rarities on this complete concert, is the first performance on the West coast of the George Antheil Symphony Number 5. An extraordinary and almost-never-played work by an important American composer of the 20th Century.

A great concert all the way around. Here is what’s on the player:

1.Barber: School For Scandal Overture
2.George Antheil: Symphony Number 5.
3.Gershwin: Concerto In F (with Oscar Levant) + encores.
4.Jerome Kern: Showboat Suite.

Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) was an American concert pianist, composer, music conductor, author, radio game show panelist, television talk show host, comedian and actor. Though awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recordings featuring his piano performances, he was as famous for his mordant character and witticisms, on the radio and later in movies and television, as for his music.

Artur Rodziński (2 January 1892 – 27 November 1958) was a Polish conductor of opera and symphonic music. He is especially noted for his tenures as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic in the 1930s and 1940s. From 1929 to 1933, Rodziński was the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Rodziński was named the second music director of The Cleveland Orchestra in 1933, following the departure of Nikolai Sokoloff. Although demanding, Rodziński propelled the Orchestra forward. He would frequently endear himself to the public by conducting without a music score or baton. One of his main contributions to Cleveland’s music scene was integrating opera into The Cleveland Orchestra’s repertoire. In addition, Rodziński sought to feature more contemporary music in Orchestra performances,[5] including Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Jerome Kern, and the first Cleveland performances of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps.

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