In 1944, to honor the Allied victory in Italy, legendary counductor Arturo Toscanini–a refugee from Fascisim in his home country–decided to conduct a performance of Verdi’s “Hymn of the Nations”.
“Hymn” is a composition that Verdi orginally built around the national anthems of Britain, France, and Italy.
In order to honor all four of the major Allies, Toscanini decided to add “The Star Spangled Banner” for the U.S. and “The Internationale” for the Soviet Union.
The music was performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, with the Westminister Choir and the great tenor Jan Peerce as soloist; conducted by Toscanini.
It was filmed as a featurette to be shown in movie theaters, and was narrated by Burgess Meredith.
In the early 50’s, at the height of the McCarthyism, U.S. censors excised the portion of this performance that featured the “Internationale”.
For years the sequence in the original featurette was considered forever lost.
But recently a copy of this missing piece of film was rediscovered, and now this rousing
7rendition of the Internationale–together with chorale and orchestra under the direction of a great conductor–can be enjoyed again
Published on Feb 1, 2010