Flipping Book | Toscanini | Salini Impregilo Library

ARTURO TOSCANINI, ITALIAN TITAN Antonio Pappano Every Italian conductor—even one like myself, born in England and brought up in America—has the spectre of Arturo Toscanini looking over his shoulder. His name alone conjures up the definition of conductorial authority and the legacy of Italian lyric theater; this is undeniable. Toscanini’s temperament was so clearly Latin, so dramatic, yet he was preoccupied (maniacally so) with marrying his Mediterranean nature to a most scrupulous approach to musical execution, pre- cision of a rare intensity. He rehearsed through repetition, virtually imprinting the music on his players—it was almost as if theywere being carved into the shape he wanted. This precision was always allied to an immense sense of theater, and of history. To think that this man gave the first performances of Pagliacci , La Bohème , La fanciulla delWest and Turandot is truly awe-inspiring. We know him mainly from recordings made for NBC in the terribly dry Studio 8H. What we hear is distilled conducting, no fat, absolutely lean—the effect is electrifying but there is not a lot of tonal allure. His feverish, passionate approach tomusic needed awarmer environment. If you go back to the recordings he made with the Philadelphia Orchestra, or the New York Philharmonic, or the BBC Symphony, or at Salzburg with the Vienna Philharmonic, you hear a different conductor: color, allure, breath. To accentuate the many positive attributes, I think his qualities of articulation, phrasing, style and energy, of structural clarity and balance, should appeal very 17