The Real Toscanini

Musicians Reveal the Maestro

Series: Amadeus
Publisher: Amadeus Press
Format: Softcover
Author: Cesare Civetta

Lauded by Verdi, Debussy, and other music legends, the celebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini raised the standards of orchestral and operatic performance over an astonishing 69 years on the podium. But as he did so, he acquired a reputation as something of a tyrant, who unleashed an explosive temper at musicians if rehearsals did not meet his expectations.

In The Real Toscanini, Cesare Civetta presents an intriguing collection of vivid, one-of-a-kind interviews with artists who performed with Toscanini. A portrait of the inner workings of the maestro emerges through these extensive conversations, conducted by the author over a period of 20 years, together with other firsthand recollections. These accounts clarify Toscanini's philosophy, musical style, and techniques. They depict a man tormented by inner demons of anger and depression, which were easily triggered by his frustration at being unable to produce the musical ideal in his mind's ear.

Toscanini is also revealed as a vehement anti-Fascist and an unequivocal opponent of totalitarianism and racism – he defied Mussolini and publically opposed Hitler. The book includes a comprehensive account of his 1936 inauguration of what is now known as the Israel Philharmonic, in solidarity with Jewish refugee musicians.

Toscanini comes through in this book as a tortured but deeply humane individual who strove to constantly improve – a sincere and humble musician who was nevertheless the preeminent maestro of the 20th century.

$22.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00333741
ISBN: 9781574672411
UPC: 884088654948
Width: 6.0"
Length: 9.0"
260 pages


“A riveting account of the life of a musical giant! Civetta offers a thorough, poignant, and inspirational piece, weaving a most intriguing narrative that depicts the work of the legendary maestro. Toscanini's charisma, the incredible power of his talent, [and] his passion for human rights...are portrayed vividly. His indisputable greatness comes through in these pages and reminds us all of the ever-transformational power of music. This is a compelling story pertinent to all generations, and a must-read for those emerging as artists today, as everyone will encounter lessons of honesty, devotion, and pure love of music for all humanity.” – Aaron Dwarkin, founder and president, the Sphinx Organization

“I devoured this book and found it to be powerful, at times hilarious, enourmously touching, and most of all – inspirational. The Real Toscanini is a fascinating look at one of the greatest conductors ever to grace a podium. Cesare Civetta crafts a story that captures The Maestro like no one has ever done before.” – David Kim, Concertmaster, the Philadelphia Orchestra

“I salute Cesare Civetta for his passionate, meticulous and often downright revelatory research into the musical thought and work of Arturo Toscanini. This book will serve not only as an invaluable source for scholars but as a lively read for anybody who cares about music.” – Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic and professor at the University of Southern California

“In Maestro Civetta's amazing account of the life of Arturo Toscanini, a vivid, absorbing portait of a man is brought to life and with it a haunting glimpse of a time when music was a serious vodation, not a profession...Viva Toscanini, more alive in these pages than I have ever seen in any other source, and ultimately more deserving of the august privilege afforded him by some of the greatest musical minds of the twentieth century of being their favorite maestro. Bravo, Maestro Civetta, for casting this bright light on the life and principles of Arturo Toscanini – who is teaching and inspiring us still.” – Aprile Millo, soprano

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