This Was Toscanini: The Maestro, My Father, and Me


Author:Lucy Antek Johnson & Samuel Antek

  • Publisher: Brown Books Pub Group
  • Publication Date: August 16, 2021
  • Number of Pages: 184
  • ISBN-10: 1612545203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612545202

This Was TOSCANINI: The Maestro, My Father, and Me by  Samuel Antek and Lucy Antek Johnson is a spellbinding account of the work of the legendary Maestro, Arturo Toscanini, considered the greatest conductor of the mid-twentieth Century. Before his death, Samuel Antek, the first violinist of the popular NBC Orchestra for seventeen years wrote his musical memoir, capturing the unique skill, charisma, and philosophy of the Maestro under whose baton he performed. In this new edition, Samuel's daughter offers her own contribution, reflecting on his life and building a dazzling portrait of both the Maestro's work and his influence on Samuel.

This book lifts the veil to show readers what goes on behind the scenes and what it was like to create wonderful music. Samuel Antek makes readers feel what it was like to work with Toscanini, allowing some of the qualities that fueled his performance to shine through the narrative, writing effortlessly about his innate ability to be creative, his relentless passion, and his intelligence when it came to interpretation, and a lot more. Music lovers will find this book irresistible. The writing is punctuated by captivating and inspiring photography, skillfully accomplished in black and white, with images that are in themselves symbolic and nuanced. This book is about passion for music, an experience that is captured in The Maestro's own words as he speaks to the players: ''I don’t want to hear notes anymore, there shouldn’t be any more notes . . . Abandon yourself to your heart.” The writing is gorgeous, the characters are well-sculpted, the scenes are focused, and the author brings to life moments that music aficionados will savor for a long time. The book itself is a symphony that arrests the edges of the hearts of readers. 

Reviewed By: Romuald Dzemo

Reviewed Date: March 15, 2023

Category: Memoir

Biography & Memoir