“Worth Repeating for the Holidays” brings you holiday posts that we think are still timely, interesting, or just plain fun! From 12/25/12:
Tom Lewis, in the Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, described NBC’s plan for cultural programming and the origin of the NBC Symphony:
- David Sarnoff, the president of RCA who had first proposed the “radio music box” in 1916 so that listeners might enjoy “concerts, lectures, music, recitals,” felt that the medium was failing to do this. By 1937, RCA had recovered enough from the effects of the Depression for it to make a dramatic commitment to cultural programming. With the most liberal terms Sarnoff hired Arturo Toscanini to create an entire orchestra and conduct it. On Christmas night, 1937, the NBC orchestra gave its first performance—Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor—in an entirely refurbished studio in the RCA Building. “The National Broadcasting Company is an American business organization. It has employees and stockholders. It serves their interests best when it serves the public best.”
Here is a 1954 recording of the same musical selection, featuring the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Toscanini.