Saturday, 1 October 2011

Toscanini conducts the Internationale

Toscanini conducts Verdi's Cantica (Inno delle Nazioni) in 1944. It's a propaganda film made to celebrate the liberation of Italy and the fall of Mussolini. The film starts with footage of Toscanini and his grandson. Then the performance (which Toscanini conducted first in 1915) with the usual combination of English, French and Italian anthems. Since Italy was liberated by American forces, it's perfectly in order to add the Star Spangled Banner. See how tenor Jan Preece throws himself into the song - as does Toscanini himself. Watch his lips! Then, at the end, comes a surprise. Toscanini and the choir burst into a a rendition of the Internationale. In 1944, the US still needed the Soviet Union to liberate Germany, so it was politically astute. Later, when sides changed, the Internationale was censored out.

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