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Publisher Description

Kenneth A. Christensens THE TOSCANINI MYSTIQUE, is the first full length biography about the legendary Italian conductors life and career in almost thirty-five years. Maestro Toscanini had a frigid and extremely unhappy childhood, along with a severe musical education at the Parma Conservatory. This unglamorized account of a gifted teenagers professional conducting debut at Rio de Janerios Teatro Imperial, is told as it really happened. Toscanini was married to a ballerina, Carla De Martini, who bore him four children, but also had an illegitimate son with a gifted soprano, who was born retarded. Toscaninis vulgar mistreatment of nearly all the singers and musicians who performed under his direction was legendary, and is examined with unusual insight about his uncanny memory and talent for musical recreation. The recollection of many famous artists including Caruso, Debussy, Kreisler, Puccini, Stravinsky, Verdi, and Wagners descendants are quoted alongside his confrontations with Hitler, Mussolini and the Sicilian mafia. But the Maestro also was the most generous of all musicians, donating both his time and talents to many worthwhile charities, for which he received no financial compensation. The life of this great conductor is presented as the struggles of a musical and theatrical reformer, who was a major historical figure that just happened to be one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. Mr. Christensen has painstakingly wrote his narrative, using all the previous biographies and magazine articles on his life, the scripts of two video documentaries and the liner notes for the most widely available re-releases of his recordings. He rewrote and clarified the awkward original Italian translations for non-specialist readers and has supplied new English translations for the numerous operatic titles and other musical works as well as all the foreign language newspapers, magazines and theatres mentioned in the text. In addition, he has provided professional critiques on the most widely available Toscanini recordings from RCA Victors Arturo Toscanini Collection, and historic reissues of Toscaninis NBC radio broadcast concerts. Here was a man, who had the nerve to stand up to world dictators and fought hard to prevent the Western worlds supreme musical masterpieces from being abused and mistreated, but without taking any credit for laboriously recreating all these composers inspiration. He enjoyed to play practical jokes on his family and friends, but this humorous side is known only through letters, because Toscanini never published any autobiography or memoirs about his art. Toscanini gave the world premieres of 14 operas, including Leoncavallos Pagliacci, and three by Puccini, including La Boheme, La Fanciulla del West and Turandot. Toscanini served as musical director: the Teatro Regio in Turino (1895-98), La Scala in Milano (1898-1908), New Yorks Metropolitan Opera (1908-1915), barely missed dying upon the Lusitania, becoming musical director of La Scala again (1920-1929), the New York Philharmonic (1926-1936), and the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937-1954). In between, he also guest conducted at the Bayreuth, Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals and conducted the inaugural concerts of the Palestine Symphony. Toscanini then recorded his most important repertory with the BBC Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and NBC Symphony Orchestras, alongside the Robert Shaw Chorale and such esteemed soloists as Jascha Heifetz, Rudolf Serkin, plus, his own son-in-law Vladimir Horowitz. His seven operatic recordings featured Jan Peerce, Helen Traubel, Richard Tucker, Giuseppe di Stefano, Rose Bampton, Cesare Siepi, Herva Nelli, Licia Albanese, Robert Merrill, Jussi Bjoerling, Lauritz Melchior, and many other gifted singers and musicians of the past, whose names alone are too much to mention.

31 October
Xlibris US