|You want this book|
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) was the dominant figure in America's concert live form 1937 until his death twenty years later. David Sarnoff and RCA created the NBC Symphony for the Maestro. Concerts were broadcast weekly form Studio 8-H in New York, and these programs made Toscanini famous to all, after a fifty year career that began in the cello section of the word premiere of Verdi's Otello.
He was an ardent anti-fascist who was beaten up by Mussolini's thugs in the early 1930s, for refusing to play the fascist hymn, Giovinezza. Toscanini conducted Tannhauser and Tristan und Isolde at Bayreuth, refusing to return after 1933."I cannot go against my conscience as an artist and as a man."
He had love affairs with celebrated divas, children out of wedlock and a long marriage to Carla Di Martini.
Cesare Civetta is himself a noted young conductor. In 1976, when Civetta was very young indeed, he produced a radio series for WFUVin New York. Understanding Toscanini featured interviews with musicians, critics, writers and members of the NBC Symphony. From them and from Maestro Civetta we have the present volume, The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro.
Toscanini was known for his volcanic temper, and this is acknowledged in context. He was often enraged at himself, when he felt that his own powers were not up to the music at hand. Themes emerge as to the Maestro's demands on himself and others, but also on his humility, kindness and phenomenal memory. He could be paternal and he could be severe. Today one of the few criticisms is the fast tempi Toscanini was thought to favor
"For me it was never too driving. It was never too fast for me. It was always under control, no matter what tempo. He knew exactly what he was doing".--George Koutzen, cellist NBC Symphony
"Toscanini sought expressive quality through dynamics or texture, not through tempo, which was the constant"