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by Christopher Dyment

During the 1930s Arturo Toscanini conducted many concerts broadcast by the BBC from London's Queen's Hall, where he also made some unsurpassed recordings. Drawing on newly researched material in British and American archives, Christopher Dyment reveals how the most renowned and influential conductor of the twentieth century, notoriously microphone-shy though he was, came to conduct so frequently in London, a tale replete with unexpected twists, turns and ingenious stratagems. Toscanini's dominating influence on London critics and audiences in the period covered by the narrative, extending through to his final appearances at the Royal Festival Hall in 1952, is copiously documented from contemporary sources. Dyment also presents fresh evidence showing how the remarkable combination of passionate conviction and architectural mastery that characterised Toscanini's conducting was grounded not only in his obsessive study of the score but also in his awareness of performing traditions dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. This book will fascinate those with a particular interest in Toscanini's career and recorded legacy. It is also essential reading for anyone with an interest in the history of conducting and recording in the first half of the twentieth century, set against the vividly evoked backdrop of London's concert scene of the period. This comprehensive study includes both an annotated table of all Toscanini's London concerts and his EMI discography. CHRISTOPHER DYMENT has written extensively about historic conductors since the 1970s, particularly Felix Weingartner and Arturo Toscanini. His first book, on Weingartner, was published in 1976.
Download Toscanini in Britain epub
ISBN: 1843837897
ISBN13: 978-1843837893
Category: Photography
Subcategory: Music
Author: Christopher Dyment
Language: English
Publisher: Boydell Press; annotated edition edition (November 15, 2012)
Pages: 398 pages
ePUB size: 1124 kb
FB2 size: 1492 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 470
Other Formats: lit lrf rtf txt

Don't let the title fool you - as expected from this author, this book is much, much more than a dry chronicle of the great Italian Maestro's performances in the UK. Its virtues begin with a text that is superbly written, integrating exhaustive and comprehensive research in a splendid evocation of the British musical scene in front of and behind the footlights during in the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. It answers such as these: How did Britain's leading music critics, many having heard Continental conductors such as Artur Nikisch and Hans Richter, react to a conductor known only by his reputation and a few scattered phonograph records? How was Toscanini, whose high standards for orchestral performance had kept him away from British orchestras for decades, persuaded to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra ... and who was the person who made those appearances happen year after year? And how was Toscanini persuaded, in spite of his categorical refusals, to allow the recording of his BBC concerts, creating a legacy that has preserved some of his most brilliant performances? What were the circumstances surrounding his final appearances in the fall of 1952, when he conducted just the music of Brahms? And what about those recordings? What are the performances like and what were the conditions under which they were made?

If this were all this book had to offer, it would be enough. But Dyment has added an equally significant, and certainly more provocative, section following the conclusion of his narrative that, while not appearing to be relevant to his subject, in fact relates directly to Toscanini's performances in general, and in particular to his performances of the music of Brahms. Here Dyment takes on a currently chic topic in musicology: Do the performances of one generation of musicians create authentic 'traditions' that are passed down to following generations? It is the traditions surrounding the performances of Brahms orchestral works by its German advocates in the years following his death that Dyment tackles with overwhelming and convincing clarity. His conclusions don't match current 'wisdom', but they have the virtue of being correct.

The Toscanini bibliography could fill a small library; a few books, notably those by Harvey Sachs, now at work on completely new biography, have gotten close to the 'truth' of his achievements. This book joins that very select company. Though covering only a few decades of Toscanini's career, and only those in Britain, it is a magnificent achievement. In short, it is a great book.
A very informative treatment not only of Toscanini's performance history in Britain...but also of Toscanini's changing interpretation of the Brahms symphonies as compared to approaches of other great conductors of his era.
Este es uno de los mejores libros sobre Toscanini, junto con los de Harvey Sachs y Mortimer Frank. De lectura fácil y agradable Dyment nos describe la relación artística de Toscanini con Inglaterra con un rigor documental pocas veces visto. Nos presenta a un Toscanini humano y real. Muy recomendable. El libro incluye con un listado completo de las grabaciones de Toscanini en Inglaterra. Tanto para los admiradores de Toscanini o sus críticos. Imperdible! This is one of the best books on Toscanini, along with Harvey Sachs, Mortimer Frank. Very readable and enjoyable , Dyment describes the artistic relationship of Toscanini with Britain with a rarely seen documentary rigor. He presents a real and human Toscanini. The book includes a complete list of the recordings of Toscanini in Britain. Highly recommended for both fans and critics Toscanini. A real must!
All the personalities and complexities behind Toscanini's visits to London in 1930, 1935, 1937-39 and 1952, are revealed here for the very first time. The author is to be congratulated for his impeccable and extraordinarily thorough and accurate research. This is an amazing book, an absolute must for anyone interested in Toscanini, and for those who are keen to learn about musical life in London in the first half the 20th Century. Since I attended one of Toscanini's Philharmonia concerts in 1952 I have regarded him as "a colossus astride the musical horizon", as one of his own musicians described him. Having read just about everything there is to read about Toscanini, possessing all of his recordings and many live performances, and having being an acquaintance of his late grandson Walfredo (1929-2011) I thought I knew everything about the great man. I didn't...thanks to this superb book.