TOSCANINI, ARTURO Rare gold medallion presented to NBC Symphony Orchestra French Horn player Arthur I. Berv, 1938.
A 14k gold medallion on a 14k gold chain, approximately 19.6 dwts., the recto with a portrait of Toscanini, the verso inscribed "Merry Xmas/Arturo Toscanini/1938" and is further inscribed with the name of orchestra member "Arthur I. Berv". 1 inch diameter (2.5 cm), the full chain about 28 inches (71 cm). Fine.
A rare 1938 presentation medallion from Toscanini, his first full year as conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Arthur I. Berv along with his two brothers were the first, second and third French horns in the first iteration of Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra. They called Toscanini Maestro, and while he frequently raged at his players, Toscanini said of the brothers Berv: "They are three brothers, they walk on together, they walk off together--I don't want to tangle with them." The Berv brothers were legendary in their day and a bio of them is available on the website of the Horn Society (hornsociety.org). We trace few of these presentation medallions and none from Toscanini's important first year as conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. For Arthur Berv's reminiscences of Toscanini see Toscanini's Players Recall the Awe in the New York Times, 11 June 1974.
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