Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Arturo Toscanini, An Ardently Anti-Fascist Conductor

Photo of the Day

Arturo Toscanini [born in 1867 in Parma, Italy–died in 1957 in New York City, New York], in shown here in this 1947 photo, seven years before he stepped down from what he did best. Starting out as cellist from Parma, Italy, he became one of the 20th century’s great conductors, doing so for almost seven decades (1886–1954), leading such notable institutions as La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which was created for him and which he led from 1937 to 1954. He was ardently anti-fascist, which places him in my good books as a hero. In  an article (“The Toscanini Wars”: July 10, 2017) for The New Yorker, David Denby writes what is already well-known but bears repeating: “After 1931, Toscanini refused to conduct in Italy, resisting Mussolini, who dangled honors and official posts; he was thereafter reviled in the Fascist press. Hitler pleaded with him to honor holy German art and preside over the Wagner rites at the Bayreuth Festival. When Toscanini turned him down, his recordings and broadcasts were banned in Nazi Germany. Instead of going to Bayreuth, he worked in 1936 and 1937 with the newly formed Palestine Orchestra (later the Israel Philharmonic), an ensemble largely composed of Jewish refugees. Toscanini did not make speeches; he stuck to business. But his sentiments were widely known, and he became a lodestar for anti-Fascists. After the war, Isaiah Berlin pronounced him ‘the most morally dignified and inspiring hero of our time—more than Einstein (to me), more than even the superhuman Winston.’ ” For more go [here] and [here] and [here] and [here] and [here]
Courtesy: The New York Times

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