Music in Fascist Italy

Harvey Sachs, Author W. W. Norton & Company $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02563-7
Under Mussolini, unions were suppressed, trains ran on time, Italy attacked Ethiopia and most Italian artists kowtowed to the dictatornot least of all, composers, conductors, singers and writers on music. In this useful and interesting survey, Sachs (Toscanini) looks at Italian operas, concerts, conservatories, composers and performers under fascism and shows how they gave in to Mussolini's subtle pressures of patronage and official praiseamong them, composers Casella, Malipiero, Mascagni, Pizzetti and Respighi; singers Gigli, Lauri Volpi and dal Monte; conductors Gui and Molinari and cellist Mainardi. Here too are stories of apolitical musicians like de Sabata and Klemperer, who went on working without questioning events; the few like Toscanini, Dallapiccola and Tita Ruffo who fought fascism or were contemptuous of it; foreign musicians like Paderewski and Stravinsky who acclaimed Mussolini; Bartok, who was probably the most anti-fascist of the major non-Italian composers; and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who had to leave Italy when anti-Semitic edicts were instituted in 1939. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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