An “extraordinary” biography that “in its breadth . . . reminds me of nothing so much as Robert A. Caro’s The Power Broker” (New York Review of Books).
Harvey Sachs’s “monumental” (Alex Ross) biography recounts the sixty-eight-year career of conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867–1957), an artist celebrated for his fierce dedication, photographic memory, explosive temper, impassioned performances, and uncompromising work ethic. Toscanini collaborated with Verdi, Puccini, Debussy, and Richard Strauss; undertook major reforms at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera; and eventually pioneered the radio and television broadcasts of the NBC Symphony. His monumental achievements inspired generations, while his opposition to Nazism and fascism made him a model for artists of conscience. In this “persuasive and compelling” new biography, Sachs illuminates the “crucialthe centralrole Toscanini played in our musical culture for well over 60 years” (New York Times Book Review). Set against the roiling currents of twentieth-century Europe and the Americas, Toscanini is a “necessary” portrait of this “complex, flawed, but noble human being and towering artist” (Wall Street Journal) whose peerless influence reverberates today.
Harvey Sachs is the author or coauthor of ten books and has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Times Literary Supplement, among others. He lives in New York, and is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Table of Contents
Author's Notes xix
I Indeterminate and Determinate Sounds 1
II Beardless Maestro 29
III Turin 81
IV La Scala Reformed 111
V The Metropolitan 209
VI Interlude 301
VII La Scala Re-Created 349
VIII The New York Philharmonic and New Horizons 469
Toscanini: Musician of Conscience 5 out of 5based on
10 months ago
Fascinating and inspiring! Great insights into the cultural life (especially concerning classical music) in Europe and America in the first half of the twentieth century. Enjoyable for even non-musicians. Really enjoyed the accounts of his life during the war years!
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