Josef Alexander Pasternack (July 7, 1881 - April 29, 1940) was a well-known conductor and composer in the first half of the 20th century.
He was born in Częstochowa, Poland in 1881, the eldest son of Sigmund and Dora Pasternack. He had two younger brothers, Samuel and David. His father and grandfather had been bandmasters in Poland and he began the study of the violin at age four, under his father's tutelage. At age ten he entered the Warsaw Conservatory of Music, where he initially studied piano and composition. He also took up the study of a new instrument each month, so that by the time he left the Conservatory he could play every instrument in the orchestra except the harp.
At age 15 he came to the United States with his two brothers and father. Initially he worked in a hotel restaurant as a busboy. One day when the violin player for the hotel band did not come to work he informed the bandleader that he was capable of filling in. He ran home and got his vioin and returned to play. The regular violinst was not allowed to return. Shortly thereafter he was able to convince the band leader to permit his brothers to try out and so began their musical careers in America. Shortly thereafte he toured the country as a concert pianist. In 1902 he was hired as violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York and then became first viola player, continuing until 1909. His ability came to the attention of the famed Arturo Toscanini, who had become Conductor at the Metropolitan in 1908, and Pasternack was made Assistant Conductor in 1909, a position he filled for one year.
In 1911 he returned to Europe as Conductor of the Bremen Opera, but the Metropolitan asked for his release and he returned to the Met as a Conductor for 1911-13. During the period 1913-26, he was Conductor of the Century Opera Company in New York, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Philharmonic Society. While at the Philadelphia Philharmonic he introduced Marian Anderson as the first African-American singer to perform there. Starting in 1916 he also was Musical Director of the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor) with Rosario Bourdon, where likewise he (Pasternack) introduced Marian Anderson, and the Stanley Company of America, owned by Warner Brothers. In his role at Victor and with several orchestras he made recordings and conducted programs for many famous singers of the day, most notably Enrico Caruso, and directed many of the famous musicians of the day, including Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz. From 1928 until his death in 1940 he conducted orchestras for NBC in the days of live radio, including a show with Nelson Eddy and The Carnation Contented Hour. He composed songs and music for motion pictures and radio, and wrote the lyrics for "Taps".
Joseph Willem Mengelberg (28 March 1871 – 21 March 1951) was a Dutch conductor.
Mengelberg was born 4th of 15 children to German-born parents in Utrecht, Netherlands. He studied in the Cologne conservatory, including piano and composition. He was chosen as General Music Director of the city of Lucerne Switzerland at age 21. where he was conductor of an orchestra and a choir, directed a music school, taught piano lessons and continued to compose.
Mengelberg is highly renowned for his work as the principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1895 to 1945. In addition, Mengelberg founded the long-standing Mahler tradition of Concertgebouw. In 1902 he met Gustav Mahler and became friends with him. Mengelberg was instrumental in introducing most of Mahler's work to The Netherlands, and Mahler regularly visited The Netherlands to introduce his work to Dutch audiences. In fact, he edited some of his symphonies while in the Netherlands, making them sound better for the acoustics of Concertgebouw. This is perhaps one reason that this concert hall and its orchestra is renowned for its Mahler tradition. Nevertheless, Mengelberg's importance as a conductor was not only due to his Mahler interpretations. He was also, for example, an exceptionally gifted performer of Richard Strauss; and even today his recordings of Strauss's tone poem Ein Heldenleben, which had been dedicated to him and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, are widely regarded by critics as among the best — if not the very best — of this piece ever made. One criticism of Mengelberg's influence over Dutch musical life, most clearly articulated by the composer Willem Pijper, was that Mengelberg did not particularly champion Dutch composers during his Concertgebouw tenure, especially after 1920. Mengelberg was music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1922 to 1928. Beginning in January 1926, he shared the podium with Arturo Toscanini; Toscanini biographer Harvey Sachs has documented that Mengelberg and Toscanini clashed over interpretations of music and even rehearsal techniques, creating division among the musicians that eventually resulted in Mengelberg leaving the orchestra. However, the maestro did make a series of recordings with the Philharmonic for both the Victor Talking Machine Company and Brunswick Records, including a 1928 electrical recording of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben that was later reissued on LP and CD. One of his first electrical recordings, for Victor, was a two-disc set devoted to A Victory Ball by Ernest Schelling. The most controversial aspect of Mengelberg's biography centers around his actions and behavior during the years of the Nazi occupation of Holland between 1940 and 1945. Some newspaper articles of the time gave the appearance that he acquiesced to the presence of the Nazi's ideological restrictions on particular composers. Explanations have ranged from political naiveté in general, to a general "blind spot" of criticism of anything German, given his own ancestry. Because of Mengelberg's co-operation with the occupying regime in The Netherlands during World War II, he was banned from conducting in the country by the Dutch government after the war in 1945. He was stripped of his honours and his passport. The original judgment was that Mengelberg would be banned from conducting in the Netherlands for the remainder of his life. Appeals by his attorneys led to a reduction in the sentence to a banning of six years from conducting, retroactively applied to start from 1945. This notwithstanding, he continued to draw a pension from the orchestra until 1949 when cut off by the city council of Amsterdam. Mengelberg retreated in exile to Zuort, Sent, Switzerland, where he remained until his death in 1951, just two months before the expiration of his exile order.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Part I - Willem Mengelberg
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Part III-IV - Josef Pasternack
Victor Concert Orchestra
Rec.: 19.02., 06.03, 07.03.1917