Today’s upload is something of a mystery. My grandpa had a detailed index of the songs on his records, but these two records were not included. There are no labels on the discs, just grease pencil markings: #1 and #3 on the two sides of the first disc, and #2 on one side of the second disc. The other side of the second disc is blank (which looks pretty cool, btw—a totally smooth, shiny disc).
The recording is a live performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. I did some digging around and learned that CBS radio began airing live performances by the New York Philharmonic in the 1920s and continues to do so to this day. The NY Phil has an incredible website, including programs for every concert they’ve done dating back to the 1880s. I was able to look up this piece and found that it had been performed and broadcast on January 6, 1946 and December 14, 1947. To my knowledge it was not broadcast on any other occasion.
I have no way of knowing which of these two broadcasts this recording was taken from. The 1946 performance was conducted by Artur Rodzinski with soloist Walter Hendl. The 1947 one was conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos with soloist Oscar Levant. My guess (and this is only a guess) would be that this is the 2nd one. Oscar Levant was apparently THE pianist for Gershwin music at the time, and was especially famous for his rendition of Rhapsody in Blue—which was my grandpa’s favorite piece of all time. But I’ll never know for sure.
Transferring this one to digital was a little more challenging than others I’ve done so far. This wasn’t the on-air broadcast disc but a copy that my grandpa made. He switched from the first disc to the second in mid-piece with very little overlap. But the 2nd disc was recorded at a slightly different speed than the first. Tim helped me with the editing to make this as smooth as possible, but there’s still an audible difference where the change happens.