The Greek born conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos was extremely gifted – his photographic memory allowed him to conduct without a score in concert and also in rehearsal. He made his US debut in 1936, later becoming Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, where he was succeeded by Leonard Bernstein.
Mitropoulos was a frequent visitor to the WDR in Cologne in the mid 1950’s, whose broadcasts have been well documented, including Mahler’s Symphony No.3 on ICA Classics (ICAC5021) – 2011 winner of the prestigious Gustav-Mahler Toblach Award. Mitropoulos conducted Berlioz’s colossal Requiem with its choirs and off-stage brass at the Salzburg Festival on 15 August 1956 – this Cologne performance followed on 26 August 1956.
This ICA release is the first official recording using the original 1956 WDR master tapes – the sound is remarkable. The tenor soloist in the ‘Sanctus’ is the young Nicolai Gedda. The performance is over 82 minutes and is contained on one CD.