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May 07 , 2008

Bruno Walter

A World Elsewhere


Bruno Walter, one of the greatest conductors in the twentieth century, lived a fascinating life in difficult times. This engrossing book is the first full-length biography of Walter to appear in English.
Erik Ryding and Rebecca Pechefsky describe Walter’s early years in Germany, where his successes in provincial theaters led to positions at the Berlin State Opera and the Vienna State Opera. They then tell of his decade-long term as Bavarian music director and his romantic involvement with the soprano Delia Reinhardt; his other positions in the musical community until he was ousted from Germany when the Nazi Party came to power in 1933; and his return to Vienna, where he was artistic director of the Opera House until he was again forced out by the Nazis. Finally they trace his career in the United States, where he led the New York Philharmonic and other orchestras and in his last years made numerous recordings with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble created especially for him. Ryding and Pechefsky are the first biographers to make extensive use of the thousands of unpublished letters in the Bruno Walter Papers, now in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. In addition to interviewing more than sixty people who knew Walter, they examined countless reviews to assess the popular and critical impact he had on his times. Authoritative and even-handed, this biography sheds new light on Walter, one of the great formative influences in musical interpretation.

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