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Arturo Toscanini: Homage to the Maestro



The year 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of one of the most influential musical figures of the twentieth century. Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), whose career began in 1886 and continued until 1954, was a major figure in establishing standards for modern orchestral and operatic performance.

This exhibit will illustrate the multi-faceted personality of Toscanini as conductor and collaborator with composers, instrumentalists and singers, such as Giacomo Puccini, Samuel Barber, Claude Debussy, and Guido Cantelli, and will shed light on his personal relationships as mentor, colleague, friend, father and grandfather.

On display will be photographs, scores, letters and documents, many of which are unpublished and are rarely seen on display, such as the stage director’s copy of a music score to Richard Strauss’s Salome, interleaved with stage directions, and a proof copy of the score for Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, annotated by both Puccini and Toscanini. These unique documents are from the research divisions of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts as well as the conductor’s personal archive amassed by his son Walter and donated by the Toscanini family to The Library’s Music Division and Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound in 1986. Visitors can hear intriguing and rare highlights from the vast sound recording archive of this collection which contains all the known NBC Symphony Orchestra broadcasts and over 400 hours of rehearsals among other performances. Recorded excerpts highlighted in the exhibit will include 1926 rehearsal excerpts with the La Scala Orchestra, and Toscanini’s last performance of the Bruckner 7th Symphony with the New York Philharmonic from 1935.