Famous for its sight-reading abilities, the CBC SO established also a particular reputation for its performances of contemporary works, Canadian and other. Almost half its repertoire post-dated 1900. It premiered many CBC commissions, including Roger Matton's L'Horoscope, Harry Somers' Symphony No. 1, Passacaglia and Fugue, and Piano Concerto No. 2, Norman Symonds' Concerto Grosso, and John Weinzweig's Violin Concerto and Wine of Peace. Specific programs were broadcast in honour of Sir Ernest MacMillan and Healey Willan. Other highlights included the Canadian premiere of Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4 under Heinz Unger during the 1953-4 season, the premiere of Violet Archer's Piano Concerto under Victor Feldbrill in 1958, with the pianist William Stevens, and performances of Beethoven's nine symphonies under Efrem Kurtz in 1959.
Primarily a radio orchestra, the CBC SO made a public debut 16 May 1955 under Waddington at Massey Hall. Concerts followed at the Montreal Festivals in 1955, at the 1955 Stratford Festival, at CBC Toronto's Carlton Theatre studios (where a 1958-9 series boasted the North American conducting debuts of Colin Davis and Zubin Mehta), and at the International Conference of Composers 12 Jul 1960 under Walter Susskind. In 1961 the CBC SO travelled twice to the USA; under Waddington it gave the premiere 28 April of Harry Freedman's Symphony No. 1 at the Inter-American Music Festival in Washington, and under Sir Ernest MacMillan it performed 23 and 24 October at the United Nations in New York. As a result of its role in CBC radio's 1962 documentary 'Igor Stravinsky, Inventor of Music' the CBC SO began an association with Stravinsky and with the conductor Robert Craft, which included a concert 29 Apr 1962 at Massey Hall and participation in the celebrated series of Columbia recordings of Stravinsky and Schoenberg.
The orchestra's last public concert was given at the official opening 7 Mar 1964 of the Edward Johnson Building at the University of Toronto. By that time it had given some 380 concerts, 50 of them under Waddington, 72 under foreign conductors, the remainder under Canadians. The roster included John Avison, Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Thomas Beecham, Jean-Marie Beaudet, Pierre Boulez, Alexander Brott (20 times), Aaron Copland, Josef Krips, Roland Leduc, Charles Mackerras, Ettore Mazzoleni (31 times), Pierre Monteux, Boyd Neel (27 times), Edouard van Remoortel, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Paul Scherman (16 times), Heinz Unger (24 times), Heitor Villa-Lobos, and others. Soloists included Hyman Bress, Van Cliburn, Reginald Godden, Glenn Gould, Greta Kraus, Albert Pratz (the orchestra's concertmaster after 1953), Mary Simmons, and Jon Vickers.
The CBC SO was disbanded in 1964 after an agreement to recruit CBC Toronto orchestras from TSO ranks. Several of these later contract orchestras recorded or broadcast under the name CBC SO, CBC Orchestra, or CBC Toronto Orchestra.
Beecroft From Dreams of Brass. CBC Chorus, Avison conductor. 1964. RCI 214/4-ACM 13
Dela Ronde - Mercure Ils ont detruit la ville. CBC Toronto Choir, Guy soprano, Waddington conductor. 1951. RCI 35
Dolin - Somers - Twa - Weinzweig. Iosch harp, Galper clarinet, Bauman oboe, Waddington conductor. 1952. RCI 86/(Somers) 10-ACM 7
Matton L'Horoscope. Waddington conductor. 1958. RCI 185
Morawetz - Morel - Somers. Waddington conductor. 1957. RCI 180/(Morel) 5-ACM-6/(Somers) 10-ACM 7/(Morawetz) 6-ACM 16
Morawetz Piano Concerto No. 1. Kuerti piano, Susskind conductor. 1963. RCI 212/6-ACM 16
Pentland Concerto for Piano and Strings. Bernardi piano, Feldbrill conductor. 1958. RCI 184/6-ACM 25
Somers North Country. Scherman conductor. RCI 154/10-ACM 7
Somers - Adaskin - Papineau-Couture. Loman harp, Susskind conductor. 1962. Col MS-6285
- Symphony for Winds, Brass, and Percussion. Feldbrill conductor. 1967. CBC SM-134 /(Somers) 10-ACM 7
Symonds Concerto Grosso. Feldbrill conductor, Ron Collier Quintet. 1957. RCI 181
Turner Opening Night - Champagne Altitude. (1962). RCI 179/(Turner)7-ACM 15/(Champagne) 4-ACM 30
Weinzweig Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Waddington conductor, Pratz violin. 1958. RCI 183/5-ACM 1
- Divertimento for Flute and Strings. Feldbrill conductor, Day fl. 1958. RCI 182/5-ACM-1
- Wine of Peace. Susskind conductor, Simmons soprano. 1958. RCI 182/5-ACM 1
Willan Coronation Suite. Mazzoleni conductor, CBC Chorus. 1954. RCI 118
- Symphony No 2. Waddington conductor. 1950. RCI 23
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24. Gould piano, Susskind conductor. 1961. Col MS-6339/CBS MP-38752
Schoenberg Kol Nidre; Chamber Symphony No. 2 - Bach-Schoenberg Prelude and Fugue 'St Anne'. Festival Singers, Braun bar, Craft conductor. 1962. 2-Col M2S-709
- Modern Psalm, Opus 50C. Festival Singers, Foldi bass, Craft conductor. 1964. 2-Col M2S-780
- Piano Concerto. Gould piano, Craft conductor. 1961. Col MS-6339/Col MS-7039
- Prelude to the Genesis Suite, etc . Festival Singers, Craft conductor. 1962. 2-Col M2S-694
- Survivor from Warsaw; Violin Concerto. Festival Singers, Baker violin, Craft conductor. 1962. 2-Col Master M2S-679/(Violin Concerto) Col MS-7039
Stravinsky Mavra. Belink soprano, Simmons mezzo, Rideout alto, Kolk tenor, Stravinsky conductor. 1964. Col MS-6991
- Nine Masterpieces Conducted by the Composer. (1970). 5-Col D5S-775
- Scènes de ballet. Stravinsky conductor. 1963. Col MS-6649/Col M-31921
- A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer, etc. Stravinsky conductor, Festival Singers, Verrett mezzo, Driscoll tenor, Horton narrator, Colicos reciter. 1962-3. Col MS-6647/Col MS-7054
- Spectacular Sound of Stravinsky: Scherzo Fantastique. Stravinsky conductor. 1962. Col MS-7094/CBS MK-42432 (CD)
- Stravinsky Conducts: Four Norwegian Moods. 1963. Col M-30516
- Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: choral selections. Festival Singers, Iseler conductor. 1963. Col M-31124/(selections) 2-CBS 79255
- Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Favourite Short Pieces. 1963. Col MS-6648/ Col M-31729/(selections) 2-CBS 79243
- Stravinsky Songs: Le faune et la bergère. Simmons mezzo, Stravinsky conductor. (1970). Col MS-7439
- Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in C. Festival Singers, Stravinsky conductor. 1962-3. Col MS-6548/CBS MK-42434 (CD)/(Symphony of Psalms) 2-CBS 79243
- The Igor Stravinsky Edition. (1991). 22-Sony SX22K-46290 (CD)
Stravinsky (NFB 1965)
Author Clifford Ford, Patricia Wardrop
'The CBC Symphony Orchestra,' CBC Times, 11-17 Apr 1954
McNamara, Helen. 'The unseen symphony,' Mayfair, Jul 1957
Brown, Thomas. 'The CBC Symphony Orchestra,' PfAC, Mar 1961
Roberts, John. ' Stravinsky and the CBC,' CMB, 4, Spring-Summer 1972
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Glossary: Orchestral Music
A glossary of terms associated with orchestral music. From the website for the Austin Symphony Orchestra in the US.