Arturo Toscanini

Overview

(Amadeus). Arturo Toscanini: The NBC Years details Toscanini's magnificent and heroic 17 years (1937-1954) conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The archival broadcast recordings documented and reassessed in this lively account comprise the most complete recorded legacy of Toscanini's orchestral conducting career. The broadcast recordings include his readings of many scores for which he left no approved recording, and his NBC career included performances of works he never conducted before coming to the network. The concerts and the broadcasts

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Overview

(Amadeus). Arturo Toscanini: The NBC Years details Toscanini's magnificent and heroic 17 years (1937-1954) conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The archival broadcast recordings documented and reassessed in this lively account comprise the most complete recorded legacy of Toscanini's orchestral conducting career. The broadcast recordings include his readings of many scores for which he left no approved recording, and his NBC career included performances of works he never conducted before coming to the network. The concerts and the broadcasts were immensely popular, and for generations Toscanini's name became synonymous with conducting. His legendary art and fiery personality also engendered controversy that has yet to subside, but this account takes on the challengers, accepting neither hero worship nor criticism that ignores the evidence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Frank, an expert on the conductor and his work who has served as the curator of the archive at Toscanini's former home in Riverdale, N.Y., offers a detailed view of the last phase of Toscanini's life and the one in which he became a revered figure to a generation of American music lovers and casual radio listeners. In 1937, NBC head David Sarnoff, anxious to capitalize on the cultural (and advertising) potential of radio, offered the Italian conductor, then in his 60s and recently retired from leadership of the New York Philharmonic, his own orchestra to mold for a series of weekend radio broadcasts of classical staples. With some initial reluctance, Toscanini accepted the offer; he then threw himself into the task with his customary high energy and for the next 17 years created a string of sometimes revelatory, seldom routine concerts. Discussing these concert programs chronologically (and at more length than the average reader will need), Frank illustrates the narrowness of Toscanini's focus compared with other conductors who shared broadcasts with the NBC orchestra occasionally most notably Stokowski and Mitropoulos. But Toscanini concentrated on what he knew best the central classics, particularly Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and various opera snippets and pieces of light music. Frank, an ardent advocate, takes to task Toscanini's critics for their sometimes unfair partisanship, and insists that, despite his tantrums and seeming rigidity, Toscanini was always faithful to the composers' intentions. Frank's book breaks no new ground, but certainly offers a closeup of a fascinating episode in American popular culture one that seems unlikely ever to be repeated. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Famed conductor Toscanini (1867-1957) was lionized by the popular press during his lifetime, but a steady revisionist process has cast doubt on his achievement, as exemplified by Joseph Horowitz's Understanding Toscanini. Horowitz presents the conductor as a mass-media-packaged "star," the beginning of a slippery slope to today's "great tenor" acts. In this meticulous study, Frank (longtime critic for Fanfare magazine) steers a middle path between hero worship and the depiction of a negative cultural icon. He lists every concert given during Toscanini's 17-year association with the NBC Orchestra and offers an astute critical examination of Toscanini's interpretations of every composer in the NBC repertoire. Frank effectively debunks several myths that have grown up around Toscanini (he played everything fast, he played faster as he aged, he never varied his interpretations, etc.) by extensive reference to the recordings and the broadcast tapes. Toscanini emerges as a thoughtful if sometimes disappointing musician. This fine book also serves as a detailed history of NBC's foray into symphonic music and is a fascinating case history of the broadcasting industry and its relationship to "high" art. Recommended for larger libraries of all types and libraries with an interest in classical music or the history of the broadcasting industry. Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574670691
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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