Ether Game

R. Strauss: Don Quixote

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Tilting at windmills in Carnegie Hall?

Leonard Bernstein’s first major gig came in 1943 as the assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, which was then under the direction of the great Bruno Walter. On November 14, 1943, soon after he got the job, he made his orchestral conducting debut on last-minute notification—and without any rehearsal—after Walter came down with the flu. The next day, The New York Times editorial remarked, “It’s a good American success story. The warm, friendly triumph of it filled Carnegie Hall and spread far over the air waves.” Bernstein became instantly famous because the concert was nationally broadcast. The soloist for that concert was Joseph Schuster, solo cellist of the New York Philharmonic, who played this piece, Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote. Because Bernstein had never conducted the work before, Bruno Walter coached him on it prior to the concert. It is possible to hear this concert thanks to a transcription recording made from the CBS radio broadcast that has since been issued on CD.

Music Heard On This Episode

Richard Strauss: Don Quixote
Pierre Fournier, cello; The Cleveland Orchestra; George Szell, cond. — Strauss: Don Quixote/Don Juan/Horn Concerto No.1 (Sony, 1997)
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album cover
Richard Strauss: Don Quixote
Pierre Fournier, cello; The Cleveland Orchestra; George Szell, cond. — Strauss: Don Quixote/Don Juan/Horn Concerto No.1 (Sony, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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