(K. Brent Tomer),
Toscanini. By Harvey Sachs. W.W. Norton; 944 pages; $39.95. To be published in Britain in July; £29.99.
ASK music-lovers to name a conductor, and among the greats they are likely to mention Arturo Toscanini. The Italian, who died in 1957, is perhaps best known for leading the NBC Symphony Orchestra from the 1930s, which had a large following in America. Yet Toscanini was an elite musician as well as a popular one. And he worked with the world’s most prestigious orchestras, as the principal conductor of La Scala in Milan and as a conductor at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. Harvey Sachs has written the definitive biography of this great, and colourful, character.
Mr Sachs has already published a biography of Toscanini, in 1978. Yet this is not merely a new edition of an old book. Mr Sachs has drawn on a batch of Toscanini’s letters unearthed in the 1990s, as well as the archives of many of the organisations…Continue reading