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The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro Paperback – September 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157467241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574672411
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Highly recommended for musicians and non-musicians alike.
B. F. Posner
The Real Toscanini: Musicians Revel the Maestro is a collection of interviews with persons associated with the great conductor throughout his long career.
Christopher Purdy
Valdengo was pricipal baritone in some fo Toscanini's most important opera recordings.
B Bailey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Viola Fan on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Cesare Civetta is a conductor by profession and not a writer, so the biographical parts of this book are (thankfully) not overly "writerly." Civetta became interested in learning about Toscanini when his high school band director, who had played trumpet in Toscanini's orchestra, introduced him to Toscanini's Beethoven recordings. He supplemented his reading and listening by interviewing people who knew Toscanini and worked with him. During the 1970s Civetta produced a 35-part interview series on WFUV (Fordham University's radio station), and his guests included members of the NBC Symphony, singers who performed with Toscanini at La Scala as well as at the Metropolitan Opera, and other conductors. He also gathered information privately from people who knew Toscanini and worked with him in various capacities.

This extremely useful book is a thematically organized collection of quotations from 40-50 people (including many people I knew from my days in New York in the late 1970s, so I enjoy "hearing" their voices). Each chapter is divided into subheadings that offer commentary on a given subject from several musicians. The chapter on tempo, for example, includes subheadings that discuss rubato, Toscanini's sense of timing, his clarity of beat, his rhythmic accuracy, tempo in relation to acoustics, and working with soloists. There's a chapter on opera, one on musical architecture, and chapters on balance, baton technique, philosophy, rehearsal style, and recording.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lucas Dawson on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Civetta has finally debunked all of the Toscanini myths one by one. Not through his opinions, which he doesn't share, but through the recollections of musicians who have the authority to speak about the maestro because they were there. I highly recommend this book to music students, laymen and professionals, music lovers and experts. There are specific reasons why Toscanini was a legend in his own time and those reasons are explained in great detail here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Purdy on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Real Toscanini: Musicians Revel the Maestro is a collection of interviews with persons associated with the great conductor throughout his long career. Many of these interviews were broadcast on WFUV in New York in the 1970s, in a radio series produced by author Cesare Civetta. A fine conductor himself, Civetta spoke with many members of the NBC Symphony, and a number of singers, critics and friends who all contribute to a portrait of this most exacting of musicians. All recognized Toscanini's phenomenal memory, which lasted well into his 80s. While thee were rages for which he became infamous, Toscanini emerges as a kindly man, paternal with baritones Giuseppe Valdegno and Robert Merrill, and humble in what he saw as his own imperfections.

There are plenty of books that detail Toscanini's temperament, and his love of practical jokes and pretty women. 'The Real Toscanini' is a book by a musician with other musicians about a supreme musician. Arturo Toscanini was the dominant figure in America's concert life from 1937 until his death; this after a fifty year career from La Scala to Buenos Aires, Salzburg, London and New York. Find out why. And most important, Civetta's The Real Toscanini will send you to Toscanini;'s recordings, to, as I'm sure the Maestro would have wished, the music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By susanv on November 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
First of all, it was refreshing to read a book about Toscanini written by a conductor! This is not a biography, but an objective look at Toscanini from the perspectives of musicians who actually played with the great conductor. I especially appreciate that many singers are quoted explaining Toscanini's way with opera. Maestro Civetta brings the reader behind the scenes, to rehearsals, recording sessions, and visits to Toscanini's home. I've come away with a much clearer understanding of why this extraordinary musician was held in such high esteem by his fellow artists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
The author organizes the comments of a vast array of musicians who played with (they all make clear that they played "with" him and not "for" him) Toscanini under these themes: Defying Mussolini and Hitler; Inner Power and Charisma; Work; Tempo; Opera; Musical Architecture; Balance; Baton Technique; Philosophy; Rehearsal Style; and Recordings.

The author skilfully integrates his own extensive interviews with previous published interviews. The result is a compehensive portrait of a remarkable musician whose force of personality and limitless commitment to the composer drew out of the orchestras he conducted better performances than they thought they were capable of.

This is not simply a book for Toscanini-ites, of which there are many (and I am one of them). Any musician and any person who loves classical music can learn about the compelling details that go into great performances of music.

This is a compelling book. It is beautifully supplemented by great candid photographs of Toscanini.
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