Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fritz Reiner's visit to Kansas City in 1922

I hope you've already figured out that I enjoy writing about legendary conductors and composers who have visited my hometown of Kansas City. By the 1920's, KC was a regular stop for many world renowned artists. Arturo Toscanini and Leopold Stokowski are two well known conductors who came through KC. Add to that list, Fritz Reiner.
Fritz Reiner emigrated to the United States in 1922 and started his career here as the Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. By November 3rd of that year, Maestro Reiner was here in Kansas City with the CSO performing at Convention Hall. Here is the short review I found in the November 18, 1922 edition of Musical America.


Kansas City, MO., Nov 11. 1922 - The Cincinnati Symphony gave two concerts in Convention Hall on Nov. 3, including an evening program under the leadership of Fritz Reiner, with Marjorie Squires, contralto, as soloist.
The new conductor of the organization was warmly applauded and impressed by his enthusiasm and intelligent guidance of the orchestra in Henry Hadley's "In Bohemia," Dukas' "Sorcerers Apprentice," the "Mastersingers" Prelude and Goldmark's "Russian Wedding" Symphony. Miss Squires was heard in arias from Tchaikovsky's "Jeanne d' Arc" and Saint-Saens' "Samson et Dalila." Mr. Reiner was the guest of honor at a reception given by the Women's Auxiliary of the Kansas City Conservatory after the concert.

Fritz Reiner went on to have a great career, peaking with his appointment as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1953. He made a series of legendary recordings for RCA Victor in Orchestra Hall that remain standards of recorded music to this day. Perhaps the greatest of these was his 1955 recording of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra....definitely a "must listen" experience.
Here is a short clip of Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony in 1954, performing Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major.

1 comment:

  1. Reiner also spend some quality years in Pittsburgh after Cincinnati and made some fine recordings for Columbia while there.