TOSCANINI, ARTURO. (1867-1957). Italian symphonic and operatic conductor. ALS. (“Arturo Toscanini”). 2pp. 8vo. N.p., N.d. [December 1897]. In Italian with translation.
“Illustrious Prof. Antonio Orfi [?]
In my letter from the other day I asked you if you could provide me with the parts of the Scandinavian symphony by Cowen, of which I would like to execute two parts in Sunday’s concert, in Turin. I would need a note from you for the archivist who has this music – Would you be so kind to do this for me? Tomorrow morning I am leaving for Turin and I would like to bring with me the parts. I beg you to forgive me for this inconvenience and to accept my deepest thanks and my warmest regards… I thank you for the invitation that you kindly sent to me with your courteous letter but unfortunately I could not take advantage of it – this Saturday I will remain in Turin to start the rehearsal of the concerts.”
Trained as a cellist, Toscanini first took up the conductor’s baton in 1886, at the age of nineteen, during a performance of Aida in Rio de Janeiro when a conflict between the conductor and the orchestra had reached an impasse. Lacking any previous conducting experience, Toscanini astounded the musicians and audience by conducting the entire work from memory. Upon his return to Italy, Toscanini began his conducting career in earnest, soon becoming Italy’s, and one of the world’s, most famous conductors.