Magazine August 14, 2017, Issue


Arturo Toscanini (New York Times Co./Getty Images)
Toscanini: Musician of Conscience, by Harvey Sachs (Liveright, 944 pp., $39.95)

Arturo Toscanini is the most famous conductor who ever lived. He was helped by his dates: 1867 to 1957. He lived into the age of recordings, and radio broadcasts, and television broadcasts. Arthur Nikisch, by contrast, died in 1922. He made a few recordings, and there is even a film of him, shot in 1913 (silent, of course). We have a sense of who he was — but only a dim one.

Today, we would call Toscanini a “rock star.” He attained a fame that is unimaginable for a classical musician in our own age. The founder of this magazine, William

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