An irresistible, gossipy analysis of George Solti, one of the world's freest conductors, and of the Chicago Symphony, as well as the virtuosi who play for it and their expansive repertoire of romantic masterpieces and modern works. The 1973-74 season which was preceded by a spring concert version of the third act of Gotterdammerung, was received with supremely unconstrained enthusiasm by the city's polite audiences and blase critics -- and the orchestra slipped immediately into a contract struggle. Amazingly, the successful strike had the tonic effect of unifying the musicians into an even more powerful artistic body. But the heavy work is ahead; there are mammoth plans to be fulfilled. Most charmingly, the author repeatedly halts to highlight the special talents of individual artists. . . . A permanent contribution to the literature of the orchestra and especially for all Solti watchers.