THE MAGIC BATON by Filippo Sacchi


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The life of Toscanini is not tragic or scandalous; he was not a creative genius, nor was he a composer; he did not shine in high society and he abhorred publicity. Why then is this the ninth biography ? The author claims that Toscanini was one of the representative figures of our time -- a prototype of the modern hero- and deserves the attention. His life is traced from infancy given the background of his parents, especially his erratic but devoted father, Claudio. His early youth in Oltretorrente was climaxed by his admittance to the music Conservatory of Parma at the age of nine where the inimitable Toscanini qualities of discipline, perseverance, exactness took root. Nine years later he graduated from this school with highest honors and an excellent background for the illustrious musical life which was to follow -- the first laurels in South America when he was requested to take the baton, the sporadic relationships with LaScala until one day he was able to wrest her from the government and the box-owners and to create an autonomous organization, his orchestra in the States, his radio and record ascendancy. While his musical career is told, Mr. Sacchi follows his political and personal life telling of his only flirtation with the Fascists because of their deceptive platform and his absolute repudiation of them later. Toscanini had many close friendships -- Catalani the musician, Grubicy the painter, Stefan Zweig to mention a few -- as he had many enemies. Regardless of the eccentricities of his nature he commanded complete respect from everybody -- his friends, his players, his wife and family -- who admired his adoration of perfection and his ability to perfect.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1957
ISBN: 1163453927
Publisher: Putnam