Paul Paray with Arnold Steinhardt, violin and The Detroit Symphony – Nov. 12, 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Another classic concert this week, featuring the legendary Paul Paray leading The Detroit Symphony and featuring then-wünderkind violinist Arnold Steinhardt in a pretty even-balanced program, along with an interview with Steinhardt at intermission.
Steinhardt made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 14, and was immediately hailed by critics as one of the bright lights on the horizon. He won many competitions before being invited by none other than George Szell to take second Chair in the violin section with the Cleveland Orchestra, before joining the legendary Guarnieri String Quartet a few years later. He is a frequent soloist while on the faculty of several conservatories around the country.
Not much needs to be added about Paul Paray, other than being one of the great conductors of the 20th century, who was widely known and highly regarded throughout the Music world. His many recordings during the early days of Stereo with The Detroit Symphony were benchmarks and essentials in music libraries everywhere and his interpretation of music from his native France has been regarded as virtually deinitive.
Paray made his American debut with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in 1939. In 1952, he was appointed music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducting them in numerous recordings for Mercury Records’ “Living Presence” series. Following his departure from Detroit in 1963, Paray returned to France and maintained a healthy international guest-conducting career. He was in his tenth decade when he made his last conducting appearance in the United States, leading the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. A report in Musical America noted: “Now ninety-two, Paray brings to the podium not only a reputation as one of the great conductors of our time, but strength, energy, and a solid technique that have not diminished through the years.”
Although there’s no characteristic French music in this particular concert, Paray leads the orchestra with energy and authority as he always did.
Here’s what they play:
Detroit Symphony – Paul Paray
November 12, 1959
1. Bach: Suite Nr. 2 in B Minor
2. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (w/Arnold Steinhardt, violin)
Intermission interview with Arnold Steinhardt
3. Mahler: Symphony Number 5
Enjoy and remember, it will be Friday soon.