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Classical 101

Alessandro Siciliani Talks About Arturo Toscanini

Alessandro Siciliani, Conductor Laureate of the Columbus Symphony, grew up amongst Italy's great concert halls and opera houses. He shares his impressions of conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957). Over a long career, Toscanini was Music Director of La Scala, Milan, the New York Philharmonic, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Toscanini's many recordings are well over sixty-years-old. Maestro Siciliani discusses his favorites among the vast Toscanini archive, and how the great conductor demanded perfection from everyone, especially during rehearsals. [audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2007/alessandro-siciliani-interview-032907.mp3"]

Highlights From This Interview:

"What I'm thinking, my portrait of Toscanini: a dreaming warrior with a Napoleonic gaze for the perfection. A despot. A magician of warrior magicians. And a prisoner of the perfection." "I love a recording I have of RCA with (Toscanini conducting) a Brahms symphony. What I like to hear more are the rehearsals. Because there you understand what happens in performances, and, also, what didn't happen in the end in performances." (I have this recording) "of the rehearsal of La Traviata. It's incredible what he tried to ask, what he tried to express. You can see he was moving his hands, and yelling and waving the stick and the page and the score. And he was singing it, singing it all the time. When you listen to what he did in performance, it's not as exciting as what he did in rehearsal."