'ARTURO TOSCANINI -- Italian Orchestral Music'
RESPIGHI:  The Pines of Rome.  The Fountains of Rome.  Roman Festivals.  ROSSINI: Overtures to The Italian Girl in Algiers,  Semiramide and William Tell.  CATALANI:  Dance of the Water Nymphs from Act III of  Loreley. Prelude to Act IV La Wally.  DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale Overture.  VERDI:  La forza del destino Overture.  PONCHIELLI:  Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda
NBC Symphony Orch/Arturo Toscanini, cond.

RCA  72374 (2 CDs) (B) (ADD) TT: 59:58 & 67:47

For those who do not already have these stunning performances this budget-priced (two for the price of one) reissue is essential.  They sound better than ever in these digital remastered transfers "using UV22 Super CD Encoding, which delivers 20-bit resolution."  The problem is that most of these were not very well recorded to begin with.  From a sound standpoint,  Pines and Fountains fare best, recorded in Carnegie Hall in 1953 and 1951. Roman Festivals was recorded in 1949 and, unfortunately, has more constricted sound.  To me these are the definitive performances of all three, although I would not want to be without Toscanini's hair-raising live performance  of  Pines with the New York Philharmonic recorded in 1945. Likewise, I wouldn't want to be without his Italian Girl in Algiers  and Semiramide overtures with the same orchestra recorded in 1929 and 1936 which remain the supreme recorded performances, with sound remarkably impactful for its time.  All recordings on RCA's reissue are well known from previous issues.  If you don't have them, here is a relatively inexpensive way to acquire them.

R.E.B. (April 2000)