Posts Tagged ‘robert gottlieb’

Quote of the day: TOSCANINI

July 4, 2017

TOSCANINI

On the night of June 30, 1886, Arturo Toscanini — recently turned 19 — arrived, barely on time, at the imperial opera house in Rio de Janeiro, where the touring company for which he was the principal cellist was about to perform “Aida.” Pandemonium. The unpopular lead conductor had resigned in a huff. His unpopular replacement had been shouted off the podium by the audience. There was no one else. Toscanini, who was also assistant choral master, was thrust forward by his colleagues. “Everyone knew about my memory,” he would recall, “because the singers had all had lessons with me, and I had played the piano without ever looking at the music.” He was handed a baton and just started to conduct. A triumph! Typical of the glowing reviews: “This beardless maestro is a prodigy who communicated the sacred artistic fire to his baton and the energy and passion of a genuine artist to the orchestra.” For the remaining six weeks of the tour, Harvey Sachs tells us in his biography “Toscanini: Musician of Conscience,” the maestro led the orchestra in 26 performances of 12 operas, all from memory. No one offered him a raise, and it didn’t occur to him to ask for one.

–Robert Gottlieb, reviewing Harvey Sachs biography of Toscanini in the New York Times

In this week’s New Yorker

August 18, 2013

The one must-read article is “Taken,” Sarah Stillman’s shocking article on the outrageous misuse of civil forfeiture laws to strip American citizens of their belongings without charging them with any crime. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, along comes another insane way for police departments to harass poor and non-white Americans.

I haven’t gotten around to reading Zadie Smith’s story, “Meet the President!” But I will.

meet the president

Former editor-in-chief Robert Gottlieb, as plugged-in a publishing insider as there is, in his review gently spanks Boris Kachka for “Hothouse,” his somewhat credulous, gossipy history of the famed Farrar Straus & Giroux. And in “Compositions in Black and White,” Paige Williams profiles Bill Arnett, a collector of outsider art by black Southerners, in such a way as to manifest both his good-hearted championing of artists who would otherwise never be seen AND his obnoxious grandstanding.

My favorite cartoon:

picture of my crotch cartoon

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