WRCJ Music Director Jim Dantzer offers this review of Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting by John Mauceri (Alfred A. Knopf, 272 pages): Conductor John Mauceri has been waving his baton for some 50 odd years now. Noted for his work in musical theater, opera and recordings of film music, Mauceri has had an eclectic career. With this book, he’s given us a look at how classical conductors work: working with musicians, composers, artists and administrations. The book is filled with anecdotes about conductors, including three of his mentors: Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein and Carlo Maria Giulini. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Leonard Slatkin even pops up a few times. Mauceri lets us look behind the scenes at the varied activities of the classical conductor and see there’s a lot more to conducting and orchestra than waving your arms around. Years ago, author Norman Lebrecht did a good job of deflating the oversized aura surrounding powerful conductors in his book, The Maestro Myth. John Mauceri does a good job of putting the conductor back on the pedestal. Entertaining and insightful.
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