THIS WAS TOSCANINI by Samuel Antek

THIS WAS TOSCANINI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by a violinist who played under Toscanini for many years, this provides a unique and valuable view of the Maestro. Admiration is abetted by understanding, but permits the Maestro to be seen when irascible. Toscanini's attitude toward music and music-making (""He made music seem like life itself"") and his ability to inspire his players is conveyed by Antek's recalling his techniques and words at rehearsal, in concert, on tour, recording--and finally in a close up of a single work, Oberon. Antek discusses Toscanini's feeling about mood and tempo (""Toscanini's physical motions in conducting stemmed completely from the musical thought, mood and emotion"" rather than mechanical matters that might make playing easier but lessen the possibilities of performance), his changing view of tempi (as against the general view that he always played the same tempo from performance to performance, of a given work), his intensity and dedication that permitted the players to respond, not as the skilled artisans other conductors summoned up, but as inspired artists who themselves participated in the great and consecrated venture. One shares the experience of being under Toscanini's baton here, and it is as though one were in the Maestro's living presence. 87 photographs by Robert Hupka are interspersed with the text. The high price may detract from the general appeal.

Publisher: Vanguard