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Courtesy of the New York Philharmonic Archives - page 3 / 8





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said, “I became a great player.” Come to think of it, DiMaggio credited some of his performance to his large bat.

There was also the wonderfully burnished quality to his sound that he had. I read that in his youth in Maine he would play often a recording of solos by the same Harry Glantz in order to keep Glanz’s tone in his ear.

Lastly, it seemed that Vacchiano’s playing was always totally secure. He told the story of his 1935 audition for a position in the Philharmonic in front of the severe task master Arturo Toscanini, who was then conductor of the orchestra. Over and over again, the story goes, Toscanini demanded the same difficult passage in the overture to von Weber’s Oberon. Evidently Vacchiano did not flub a note. (Years later, Toscanini was conductor and Glantz the first trumpet of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and in their thrilling recording of Siegfried’s Rhine Journey the possibly overexcited Glantz mis-hit the top note at the climax!)

But it is the magical performances that matter and I heard quite a few from 1948 to 1951. I was awed by the Philharmonic’s performance under Leopold Stokowski of a selection of canzonas for brass instruments by Giovanni Gabrielli. I can still remember the sumptuous sound that filled Carnegie Hall that Friday afternoon. (If recorded it was never released. A pianist friend of mine told me that the Record Hunter clandestinely recorded the concerts at Carnegie for decades but, alas, after the equipment was uncovered during the huge reconstruction, the tapes were lost.) If memory serves, I was lucky enough to hear the great orchestra of that time play Brahms’s 2nd and Tchaikovsky’s 5th, with Vacchiano the rock solid anchor of the brass section. In those years Stokowski also introduced the orchestra to Tchaikovsky’s virtuoso tone poem Francesca da Rimini, which I heard in the White Plains Civic Center, conducted that night by Alexander Smallens, if I am not mistaken.

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