The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro

November 1, 2020
The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro

Lauded by Verdi Debussy and other music legends thecelebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini raised the standards oforchestral and operatic performance over an astonishing 69 years onthe podium. But as he did so he acquired a reputation as somethingof a tyrant who unleashed an explosive temper at musicians ifrehearsals did not meet his expectations.In The Real Toscanini Cesare Civetta presents an intriguingcollection of vivid one-of-a-kind interviews with artists whoperformed with Toscanini. A portrait of the inner workings of themaestro emerges through these extensive conversations conducted bythe author over a period of 20 years together with other firsthandrecollections. These accounts clarify Toscanini's philosophymusical style and techniques. They depict a man tormented by innerdemons of anger and depression which were easily triggered by hisfrustration at being unable to produce the musical ideal in hismind's ear.Toscanini is also revealed as a vehement anti-Fascist and anunequivocal opponent of totalitarianism and racism he defiedMussolini and publically opposed Hitler. The book includes acomprehensive account of his 1936 inauguration of what is now knownas the Israel Philharmonic in solidarity with Jewish refugeemusicians. Toscanini comes through in this book as a tortured butdeeply humane individual who strove to constantly improve a sincereand humble musician who was nevertheless the preeminent maestro ofthe 20th century.