ARTURO TOSCANINI was the most admired of 20th-century conductors–and, in certain circles, the most reviled.
Throughout the first half of his seven-decade-long career, Toscanini was spoken and written of in near-worshipful tones, not merely by critics and the public but also by most of his fellow musicians. In 1938, Bernard Shore, principal violist of the BBC Symphony, called him “the one living conductor whom every single member of the orchestra approves.” Even other conductors–hardly a collegial breed–seemed to view him less as a peer than as a phenomenon.
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.