Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Verdi’s Hymn of the Nations


Hymn of the Nations (1944)
Via: Youtube & U.S. National Archives

An American documentary, Hymn of the Nations, using archival footage from 1943 and 1944, includes a stirring performance by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Arturo Toscanini, and accompanied by Jan Peerce and the Westminster Choir in New York City, which was broadcast nationally on the radio at 5 p.m. on Sunday January 31, 1943. This documentary film, directed by Alexander Hammid, presents the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s overture to the Italian opera “Forza del Destino” (The Power of Fate) and also his Inno delle nazioni (Hymn of Nations). The latter, a cantata in a single movement, was first performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, England, on May 24, 1862; and the former, an overture, at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, Saint Petersburg, Russia, on November 10, 1862. It is interesting to note that the original title of the documentary is Toscanini conducting the Music of Giuseppe Verdi, which is undoubtedly true but terribly understated. There is so much more to the music, as many of us can appreciate.

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