If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chopin / Jose Iturbi, 1945: Fantasie Impromptu, Op. 66 - Original Film Music, 10" RCA Victor LP

A Musician’s Musician 

José Iturbi has been called “A Musician’s Musician” with just cause. He was a Spanish composer, pianist, harpsichordist, performer and conductor of international acclaim.

He appeared in several Hollywood films of the 1940s, notably playing himself in the 1943 musical, Thousands Cheer, and the 1945 film, Anchors Aweigh. He was the most diversified of performing musicians, the most complete of his generation and the century! José Iturbi was recognized as the world’s most popular classical musician during the 1930’s – 1970’s.

His all-encompassing musicianship and knowledge of composition and orchestration is unsurpassed by any musician, even today. Interestingly, Iturbi was the first leading pianist to bring back an ancient custom of playing and conducting all concerti simultaneously from the piano.

Iturbi’s life has been associated with all of the great names of classical music in his era. He personally knew Fauré, Albéniz, Turina, Prokofiev, Ravel, Rubenstein, Heifitz, Toscanini, Mitropoulos, Beecham, Furtwaengler, Koussevitsky, Monteux, de Falla, Gershwin, Poulenc, and Stravinsky, to name a few. Iturbi enjoyed performing all types of piano music and was one of the first pianists and conductors to perform contemporary music of the day. Iturbi even enjoyed playing a good boogie-woogie!

In 1945, José Iturbi agreed to provide the riveting piano score to Frederic Chopin’s highly romanticized life in Columbia Pictures’, “A Song to Remember”, starring Paul Muni, Merle Oberon and Cornel Wilde. The public never saw Iturbi on film but they went wild for his rendition of Chopin’s greatest known piano repertoire. Iturbi’s legions of fans helped propel the movie’s popularity and sold more than one million copies.

José Iturbi was the first classical artist to break all classical recording sales and reach the sale of one million copies of a single record. Thanks to Iturbi’s legions of fans, he did it twice and received two gold records for his “Polonaise in A Flat”(Military Polonaise) by Chopin in1950, and “Clair de Lune” by Debussy in 1953.

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