A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Economist and Kirkus Reviews
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
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A Belletrist Book of the Month, this “exquisite memoir” (Los Angeles Times) is the perfect
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A lifetime of candid reflections from physicist Freeman Dyson, “an acute observer of personality and
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Hailed as Elizabeth Spencer's best novel (Michael Gorra, New York Review of Books), this lost
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