Toscanini, from T.K Marks

March 18, 2011 |

 Here's a portrait of a person in complete charge of a situation. Right from the magisterial entrance.

He was 85 at the time of this performance. Amazing. Seems to have had an air of kinetic aplomb about him. At once exuberant and restrained.

Given my heritage, it might seem unduly contrarian of me to be sitting here on St. Patrick's Day raptly thinking about an Italian conductor, but this is an interesting guy. From the palace intrigue of how he got his start as a conductor while down in Rio, to his political epiphany that maybe that flirtation of his with fascism might not be such a good idea, to a legendary quote of his that might be the absolute apotheosis of the backhanded compliment:

"To Strauss the composer I take off my hat; to Strauss the man I put it back on again."


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